Molly checks in from a summer vacation in her home away from home, North Carolina. Spoiler alert, it'll make you want to go run away to a forest and jump in a river.
Deep in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina is a place I have called my second-home my whole life. The Pisgah National Forest runs far and wide, thick with rivers, waterfalls, and over half-a-million acres of lush forest. I grew up spending my summers on Lake Toxaway in Transylvania County in which every day there was a different hike to a different body of water. From heavy waterfalls the likes of which no water parks have ever seen, to waters rushing over slick rocks that you can slide down into a refreshing pool awaiting at the bottom. Flying into the Asheville Airport puts you smack dab in the right location for a rich Pisgah National Forest visit and here are of some of my favorite places in the area:
Lake Toxaway Community Center- every Friday night is a good old time mountain music jam up at the community center. For a few bucks you get a plate of southern food piled up 3 stories high and after dinner all the local musicians play music. If you're lucky, people will be there dancing, clogging, and of course shredding.
Blue Ridge Parkway- the famous scenic route of over 400 miles almost entirely made up of beautiful views and forest. Hop on anywhere and take a drive for some picturesque scenery.
Linville- Linville is a cute mountain town near Grandfather Mountain. They have the Linville Caverns where you can see epic caves of stalactites and stalagmites. Also near Linville are tons of hikes and waterfalls, most notably the Linville Falls and Grandfather Mountain.
Black Mountain- cute little mountain town...I meant to stop just to go to Song of the Wood, a dulcimer store, but I ended up walking around looking at vintage and antiques for hours!! It's a cuteness trap.
Queens Berry Farm- While I was in NC, I went berry picking at this farm. The owner and farmer Mr. Queen loved me so much so I came back a few days later to help him weed the raspberry crops. Putting in work and sweating in the fields is so much more rewarding than spending money or going out to eat.
French Broad- if you're missing the water when you're in the mountains, the French Broad River is a fun one to canoe, kayak, or tube down. Start up near Lake Toxaway and you'll get a taste of what I grew up doing <3
Follow Molly on Instagram at @mollysteele
Follow Molly on Twitter @mollysteele
Follow Molly on Tumblr at mollysteele.tumblr.com