Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last Day in Linville

We knew we would be a little tired out this morning, so we planned on taking it easy and staying around the cabin.
It's only a short 15 minute drive this Sunday morning to eat breakfast at the River Dog Cafe. Some yummy light fare and good coffee, but also a little touristy. Looks like they have some decent lunch options as well.

Since we'd already driven all the way in to town, we figured we'd grab another quick geocache or two.
Back to the same Riverwalk, we explored just a bit farther.
One last find on the short drive back to the cabin. A nice roadside waterfall park. More than meets the eye from the road.

<sigh> Our vacation is over.
On the drive back, we passed through Greensboro around noon, so we just had to go to The Boba House. Sadly, they're closed on Labor Day.
So then we decided to check teh inernets and found a nearby burger joint that claimed to have 3 kinds of veggie burgers.
Hops Burger Bar actually now only has two different veggie patties: mushroom cauliflower & nutty patty. Both of which are surprisingly great! Even more surprising is that their "side salads" are rather large and awesomely fresh. We would've ordered a second salad instead of fries if we'd known.

These burgers make Red Robin look like fast food. :D
And the beer selection here is quite impressive too.
Our only complaint: the Hawaiian pineapple burger with "sweet" chili sauce was a bit too hot for our taste.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Carvers Gap

Another day of perfect weather. So we drove back to Roan Mtn SP, and kept driving all the way through it. 15 mins south of it we hit Carvers Gap.

First thing, one must drive to the top and see where the old Cloudland Hotel is (meh), and then do the 0.5 mile hike through a beautiful old-growth forest to get to the Roan High Bluff overlook.

Then drive back 2 mins to the Carvers Gap parking lot. From here it's a short half-mile hike to Round Bald.

All of the balds are fairly popular, so it's worth hiking another mile to Jane's Bald (the best) to get a little more privacy.

These Tennessee balds are starting to become not-bald. Climate change is affecting the otherwise naturally low growth on these mountaintops. In order to keep these balds in their previous state, and preserve their ecosystem of flora and fauna, numerous methods are being tried; including goat herding.

The weather was perfect, so we hiked on to the next Grassy Ridge overlook too.
Don't worry, the hike back down is always easier and faster.

Oh, and don't forget to practice: Leave No Trace (of blueberries... ;)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Free Supper!

One of the many benefits of renting a cabin is that you can bring and prepare your own yummy vegan food. Cornish pasties with a side of succotash. Mmmmmm...

Roan Mtn State Park

A short 25 minute drive to Roan Mtn SP. Perfect weather today.

Roan Mtn has very nice staff, and well-kept grounds.

We opted for a number of shorter trails, rather than tackle any of the longer ones.

The Miller Homestead was neat to walk through.

Raven Rock trail had some strenuous inclines, but a decent view at the summit. Maybe not as breathtaking as some of the relatively nearby Linville Gorge vistas, but still nice. And we had the entire trail system to ourselves today (Friday).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Mason Jar Cafe

Downtown Newland is 5 minutes away.
I believe the best restaurant in town is The Mason Jar.

The baked brie may be expensive, but it's pastry-coated caramel-drizzled awesomeness. We had it as an app, but it would make a great dessert too.

The veggie plate options are very fresh and yummy, although the usual "country style" (fried and slightly greasy). The black bean burger is quite tasty (also country style). ;)

The pie desserts sound delicious, but we were too stuffed to partake.

It has been quite a while since we geocached, so we thought we'd give it a go.

There's a very good one off of a surprisingly nice Riverwalk, next to a relatively amazing public urban garden. Well worth checking out.

The Cabin

Cabin / chalet / cottage / whatever is a smidge up the mountainside, but only a limited view.

Inside it's a rather nice and tidy place.
A decent-sized deck out back also.

Our only significant complaint was that the cabin was a bit musty smelling. It'd been a few weeks since anyone had used the cabin, and there was likely a slight water / mold problem.
So, sometimes VRBO saves you money, and sometimes there are a few oddities to deal with.

To Newland!

Three and one half hours to get to our Mountain Laurel Hideaway rental cabin. Halfway there we stopped for lunch at Century Chinese buffet. The buffet had nothing of interest on it, but luckily the menu had a number of tofu options. Surprisingly good, and a great price. Two thumbs up.

You know you're getting very close when you can see Grandfather Mountain: