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WNC Activities & Attractions Guide for the Mountains of Western North CarolinaWNC Restaurant and Dining Guide for Asheville and the Mountains of Western North CarolinWNC Lodging Guide to Bed and Breakfasts, Cabins, Hotels, Inns, Motels, and Resorts in Asheville and the Mountains of WNCFree NC Travel Guides, Trip Planners and Visitor Guides for Travelers and VacationersWNC Art and Craft Galleries in Asheville and the Mountains of Western North CarolinaWNC Fine Art Photography by the Best Professional PhotographersWNC Shopping Guide for Asheville and the Mountains of Western North CarolinaWNC Real Estate, Realtors, New Homes, Communities, and Relocation InformationBest WNC Salons, Day Spas and Massage-TherapistsWNC Arts and Entertainment GuideWNC Calendar of Events and Festivals in Western North CarolinaWNC Maps of Scenic Byways and the Best Mountain Roads

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Winter Has Arrived on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Snow on the Craggy Gardens Hiking Trail

It’s winter time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, especially at altitudes above 4,000 ft., like the Craggy Gardens hiking trail pictured above, where snow doesn’t melt very fast. Fall weather hung around for one more day yesterday, so I took a nice ride up to Craggy Gardens…

Late Fall 2015 Visit at Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The views from Craggy Gardens are spectacular, even in the winter time…

View from Craggy Gardens Visitors Center, Fall 2015

The reservoir on the North Fork of the Swannanoa River is a pretty sight, too…

View of the North Fork Reservoir from Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed just north of the Craggy Gardens Visitors Center, so you can’t go through this tunnel…

Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Craggy Gardens

If the Parkway is open (and the snow isn’t too deep) it’s worth the trip (and short hike) to see the amazing views from Craggy Gardens…

Craggy Gardens Winter Views

But before you head out to the Blue Ridge Parkway, be sure to visit the National Park Service’s interactive map of road closures here. I think it’s time to park my ride for the winter…

Cool November Ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Sumptuous Dinner at Newman’s in Saluda, NC

Newman's Restaurant at the Orchard Inn, Saluda, NC
We were delighted with our dinner at Newman’s Restaurant in the gracious Orchard Inn, outside the quaint town of Saluda, NC. This was our second visit in the last few weeks…

Orchard Inn Has Several Gathering Area and a Large Cozy Fireplace

We enjoyed hors d’oeuvres with a glass of wine by the warm and cozy fireplace…

Glasses of wine near the cozy fireplace at Newman's Restaurant in Saluda, NC.

Here’s another photo of the massive stone fireplace at Newman’s Restaurant…

Big stone fireplace at Newmans' Restaurant in Saluda, NC.

After hors d’oeuvres we were escorted to our table with a great view of the mountains…

Table for two with a view, at Newman's Restaurant in Saluda, NC.

The table setting was elegant and romantic…

Everything in its place at Newman's Restaurant in Saluda, NC.

The atmosphere and service at Newman’s are spectacular. But the highlight of our visits were the meals. The innkeepers are also chefs and they have extensive backgrounds in preparing gourmet meals for guests. (Read their story here.) As a result, their guests come back to Newman’s (and the Orchard Inn) repeatedly to enjoy some of the best food in all of Western North Carolina. Both of our meals started with butternut squash soup with roasted pumpkin seeds and Austrian pumpkin seed oil, and a fresh salad of organic greens, cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, roasted sunflower seeds, and home made house dressing. Excellent…

Soup and Salad at Newman's Restaurant in Saluda, NC.

For entrées one of us had crispy duck that was moist and savory…

Crispy Duck at Newman's in Saluda, NC.

…and Angus beef tenderloin with caramelized onions, vegetables and roasted potatoes…

Angus Beef Tenderloin at Newman's Restaurant in Saluda, NC.

We tasted each others entrées, and we couldn’t decide who had the best one. They were both spectacular. For dessert, one of us had forest berry pie with vanilla ice cream, and the other had chocolate decadence pie (with Grand Marnier). They were both indescribably delicious…

Dessert at Newman's Restaurant at the Orchard Inn in Saluda, NC.

A couple of weeks ago at Newman’s we celebrated our anniversary (for the second time) with another couple. The chef got wind of it and ta-DA… our apple cobbler dessert arrived as a sweet greeting card!

Anniversary Apple Cobbler at Newman's in Saluda, NC.

Now we have to go back for brunch. It’s served to both guests and anyone who makes a reservation. I understand it’s the one of the best in Western North Carolina. (Can’t wait!)

If you’re looking for a perfect dining experience for most any occasion, make a reservation at Newman’s. You’ll love the view, the hospitality, and the food. Take a look at the dinner menu here. For reservations and other information visit the Orchard Inn website here.

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