we found a small orchard that still had some apples left for picking. this was harder than i had anticipated. i contacted several before we left (through this link) and found that just a few were still producing. fortunately, this one was pretty close to us- and the drive was beautiful!
there were several road side stands on the way to the orchard selling apples, honey and mountain cabbage. mountain cabbage? can anyone let me in on this mysterious variety? we saw it every where- and it was huge. i wanted to buy some so bad- but i didn't have a kitchen (this however didn't stop us from picking a bushel of apples!).
the apples we picked were rome beauties. i had never had this variety before- oh my! they are delicious! our favorite part was that when we picked one to eat, it was as though they had just come out of the refrigerator. they were so nice and cold. very crisp and sweet. i say that was my favorite part, but actually, i more enjoyed the sheer delight of my children. moonpie's pockets were full. she looked like a little chipmunk as she flit from one tree to the next singing the johnny appleseed blessing. and buddy couldn't really be bothered with picking. he was too busy eating. these are the small moments that i treasure- all stored up in my heart for later.
all in all we picked a bushel of apples (that's about 60 pounds). that seems like a lot, but i actually wish we would have picked more. we ate half a bushel just on the road!
as you can see, the kids came up with some really awesome poses. you will see this trend continue...
after picking, the kids wanted to go hiking again. i asked one of the workers if there was any good hiking around. after a strange look she told me that we were just 10 miles away from chimney rock. you know- where 'last of the mohicans' was filmed. umm, yeah, we had to check it out.
i had seen chimney rock mentioned in my research, but for some reason, i hadn't planned on us going. but i'm glad we ended up in the area, because it was really beautiful.
after hiking up to the rock, we hiked way down to the waterfall. they say the hike is about 20 minutes to the falls. that must be for people who are more destination focused. we, being more about the journey, took about 45 minutes to get there. we had fun identifying trees, finding lichen and moss, and checking out the enormous root 'caves'.
and then just when you start wondering 'where is that waterfall, anyway?', you are greeted with the sound of falling water.
obviously, a picture from the i-phone can't even begin to capture how beautiful it was. but trust me here, it really was beautiful.
on our hike back up we met up with a couple that was riding their motorcycles through the mountains. they were lots of fun and had really great stories to share.
after our hike, we ate some apples and called it a day. on the way back to our hotel we stopped in black mountain again for dinner. black mountain is a neat little town. it is a nice mix of small town charm and culture- all in the middle of the mountains.
by the time we got back to our hotel that night, we were beat. we had to rest up for our next day- the blue ridge parkway!