Mountains of North Carolina 2007 – Water Falls trip
We headed to the Mountains on Thursday morning April 19th for my 49th birthday. The trip was to stay two nights in Highlands at the Main Street Inn and one night in Glenville at the Innisfree Victorian Inn. The trip into Highlands took us down hi-way 64 where several of the water falls we had on the agenda are located. We brought the camera and tripod with us. As we were early we stopped along the side of the road and took pictures of Bridal Veil Falls. This fall in right on the road and you can actually drive your car behind it. We arrived at the Main Street Inn right at afternoon tea. The Bed and breakfast was built in 1885 and has been restored to its original farm house style. We stayed in the "The Owners Quarters" – the room had a king bed, a balcony where Dave smoked and we sat for afternoon tea, an antique tub big enough for two and a walk-in shower. The room was gorgeous. The Inn itself was cozy and quaint and being located on Main street made walking to dinner or shopping really nice. The town of Highlands is adorable. Little antique shops an ice cream polar with home made chocolates and art galleries all in a mountain setting.
After check-in we headed to Glen Falls. Glen falls is composed of 3 falls dropping 640 feet. Each fall is about 60 feet high. The trail to the end of the last fall is only a mile but it is down hill all the way and up hill all the way back. This trail is classified strenuous but as there are the rewards of water falls along the way it was worth it. We spend two hours walking the trails and taking pictures of the falls. They were very nice. I loved being in the woods. We only saw one other couple while we were there.
For dinner that night we walked to a pizza place in town. I was OK, the service was very slow. We then headed back to the room to enjoy the room and the tub with a few beers.
Breakfast the first morning was scrambled eggs with broccoli and cheese or plain served with grits, bacon, fruit and home made banana nut bread. Breakfast was excellent; everything was fresh. After breakfast we headed to the White Side Mountain trail. This is a two mile hike that walks the edge of the mountain and has outstanding views. The walk was not very difficult; it was classified Moderate and we enjoyed it very much. After that we headed back to hi-way 64 and took pictures of Callasaja Falls and Bust your Butt Falls. Cullasaja Falls is a cascade of water which flows about 250 feet down. Both of these falls are located right on the hi-way so we could only take pictures from the road or the rocks. Next stop was Dry Falls. These falls are called Dry Falls because you are supposed to be able to walk behind them without getting wet; I think they should be called misty falls as you can not stand behind them without the mist getting you wet. Dry falls is about 75 feet high. It is easy to get to. We then headed back to the Inn for afternoon tea. Dave took a nap and I walked around the town after tea. We then headed out to find sliding rock falls on a gravel road but were unsuccessful. We then drove to Silver Run Falls. This fall is an easy walk from the road and spills 30 feet into a pool of water. It was very pretty and we had the falls to ourselves.
That evening we went to “On the Veranda” for dinner. The restaurant has a porch that overlooks Lake Sequoyah. The location was beautiful and the food was good, but I was very disappointed. We had very bad service and left not satisfied. I had the rainbow trout which was excellent and Dave has a New York strip that was excellent. We were not offered additional bread, our water glasses were never refilled (no beer served), no salad was served as part of the meal. The part which ruined my whole experience was that I wanted to substitute my roasted potatoes for asparagus risotto. The waitress told me this was a $6 up charge; I was ok with that except when I actually got the risotto there was NO asparagus. I complained and she told me it was chopped very fine. I am not an idiot and did not appreciate being lied to. No manager came around to ask how we were doing. This was not a cheap meal, for the money charged and what I experienced, I will never return. As I was still hungry after dinner we went to the local ice cream shop and then back to the room where we watched a DVD on Dave’s computer. That is my only complaint with the Inn. The TV was not able to support a portable DVD player. It had wireless internet and a very basic TV.
The second morning was Saturday, so the breakfast was buffet style and it was scrumptious. Scrambled eggs, western omelets, fresh fruit, banana nut bread, sticky buns, pancakes with strawberries, bacon, and varieties of juices and tea. After breakfast we headed out to see Iron Bridge falls. They are located on a gravel road south of highlands and on the way to White Water falls. White Water Falls are the highest water falls east of the Mississippi. They are 411 feet high; however you can only view them from two look out areas. The upper falls are in NC and the lower falls are in SC. The lower falls are 400 feet tall, so I foolishly wanted to see them also. We got directions from a hiker while at the upper falls. He said to go back to the hi-way and enter though automatic gate in Duke Powers land and go to the parking lot for the foot hills trails. The sign at the start of the trail says 1.7 miles to the falls and the sign at the end says 1.9 miles to the parking lot. Well it seems much further then either. It took us an hour to get back after we saw the falls from a look out and an hour and forty minutes to get there because some fishermen led us down the wrong trail at a fork in the path. After we went 20 minutes, the trail dead ended so we had to retrace steps. Needles to say we will never walk that trail again; it was a very strenuous 3 hour hike. Tip for those who attempt it. Cross OVER the iron bridge.
We then drove our weary bodies to the Innisfree Inn bed and breakfast. The Inn was gorgeous. We were offered juice and cookies and then went to our room the Emily Bronte in the garden house. Gas logs were burning in the fireplace. The fireplace could be seen from the bedroom and the bathroom. The room had a canopy king sized bed. There was sherry to drink by the fireplace and soft violin music was playing. The best part was a tub big enough for two +. We climbed in the tub with our sherry and washed the weariness away. There was also a balcony that over looked the beautiful property. There was only one chair on the balcony though. There was also a large walk-in shower with a glass wall so that you could look out the window and see the lawn while you showered. We then headed back to the Inn for complimentary wine and cheese. The cheese was very fine and the two large glasses of wine after the sherry gave us a nice buzz.
We then headed to my favorite dinner at the Orchard. The view was wonderful and the food was very excellent. I had salmon topped with avocados, mashed potatoes and asparagus. The salad that came with the meal was large and very good. We were also given a large basket of bread. This was a fantastic meal for the money. Dave had a rib eye that was also excellent and of course I got his asparagus. We then headed back to the Inn to enjoy the room and watch a DVD.
The next morning breakfast was served in our room at the table by the bay window. It was a huge disappointment. After being pampered the day before I expected great things from breakfast. We were given a quiche loaded with mushrooms and onions and it tasted reheated. It was not edible. We were given a fruit cup, but the fruit was not very fresh. There were two pieces of bacon and no muffins or Danish as expected by a bed and breakfast. If I stayed there again I would differently ask what was for breakfast.
After breakfast on our last day, we headed to The Horse pasture falls. They consist of Turtleback Falls, Rainbow Falls and Drift Falls. Our favorite falls of the whole trip was Rainbow Falls, it is 150 feet high and you can descend to the base and climb to the top and sit on the rocks as the water surges by. We had these falls all to ourselves and loved it. The hike is about a mile and easy to get there. The trail is moderate coming back, a lot of uphill. We spend two hours viewing these three falls and hiking. The Gorges State Park is off of Hi-way 281. We parked in the parking area and then walked back to the hi-way. To the left is a gated road, this is the start of the trails for the falls. It is not marked. Turtleback Falls, Rainbow Falls are to the left of the fork and Drift Falls is to the right. Drift falls are on private property and are not overly attractive.
We then headed to Brevard and the Pisgah National Forest to see Toxaway Falls and Looking Glass Falls. We ate lunch at October's End. The Restaurant over looks Toxaway falls. The food was great. I had a shrimp and lobster salad and Dave had fried chicken. He was given four pieces. Everything was very fresh and lunch was served on an open air porch that views the falls. The falls themselves are not very pretty, because they are right on the hi-way so they flow down what looks like a cement embankment.
Looking Glass falls are located in the Pisgah National Forest and we had been there before with Kristie. They are pretty and right off the road so they are very popular. We spent only a little time there and then went to sliding rock falls where we watched several teenagers slide down the rocks into the very very cold water. We then head home on the Blue Ridge Parkway. All in all it was an awesome trip and we both would love to do it again when the mountain laurels are in full blown or when the leaves are changing. It was early in the season so the trees were still brown but the falls that we hiked to we had all to ourselves and that was wonderful. We felt so removed from the world.