With some extra time off over the holiday season, we opted to take a road trip across North Carolina, to visit the NC mountains, more specifically, Grandfather Mountain.
The first leg of our trip started in the Linville/Grandfather Mountain area. I (Shannon) hadn’t been to this area since I was a kid, and Ger had never been, so going together at this point in our lives seemed like a brand new, virgin-travel trip!
We are fortunate in NC, to have beaches and mountains. Like our beaches, you can visit one beach, and think you’ve been to them all but that is totally untrue. Similarly, the mountains are widespread and diverse. Because we’ve been to Asheville, doesn’t mean we’ve seen Grandfather mountain. There is a very big difference.
Where to Stay at Grandfather Mountain
Our trip started with a state-wide drive from Eastern NC to Western NC (about 5 hours). We chose a quaint little place in Newland to stay, called The Shady Lawn Lodge. It was adorable! Walking distance to a few shops and restaurants was a plus, but a quick drive to Grandfather Mountain and Linville Caverns was a huge bonus.
The Shady Lawn Lodge, also known as The Inn at Shady Lawn, offered a cute little room, queen size bed, and a huge, upgraded bathroom. The shower was delicious, and much needed after our road trip.
The town of Newland has cutesy little restaurants, though because of the time of year, apparently, a lot of places shut down, so we highly recommend Kaye’s Kitchen for breakfast and Puerto Nuevo for dinner. These places would be amazing either way, but they hit the spot while we were here.
Know Before You Go to Grandfather Mountain
The main part of our visit was Grandfather Mountain. Note – arrive early in the day. When we left, the line of cars to enter was 50-60 cars deep. We moved right through when we arrived.
The Grandfather Mountain state park is full of adventure! We knew we wanted to climb to the Mile High Bridge so we went in that direction first since there were warnings about it possibly being closed early due to high wind. We don’t want anyone falling off!
After parking, we hiked about half a mile, a bit of rocky terrain, to the bridge. Wow! The views were amazing! This bridge moves, too, which is a little nerve-racking!
After that trek, we went to the animal habitat and saw Mildred the Bear, an eagle, and elk. We spent more time hiking around the mountain region in the park. It was a gorgeous day; we couldn’t have asked for better weather.
Another note- we discovered while we were here that Linville Caverns are only open Saturday and Sunday in the month of December. They have since updated that on their website, though when we visited, they had not. Be sure to check before you make the drive to Linville.
Another tip is to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can use this Self-Guided Audio Tour while driving and learn everything about the scenic parkway.
What’s next? On to Asheville, we go! Stay tuned!