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


2014 Euro Auto Festival at the BMW Plant

BMW 8 Series Roadster at the BMW ZentrumMuseum

This past weekend I took a ride down the mountain and strolled through the annual Euro Auto Festival, which was held on the grounds of BMW’s Zentrum museum and event center at the BMW manufacturing plant near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Euro Fest Porsche Pictures 01

The 2014 Marque for the Euro Auto Festival was Porsche, and there were lots of them on display, arranged in rows by year of manufacture, from the 1950s to today…

EuroFest Porsche Pictures 02

This is an early Porsche 356 that has been brought back to life (and modified a bit) to better-than-new. The attention to detail inside and out is amazing…

EuroFest Porsche Pictures 05

This black bathtub Porsche 356 was beautiful… and very popular…

EuroFest Porsche Pictures 04

There’s a terrific display of historic BMW cars and motorcycles inside the Zentrum museum, and it was worth the trip all by itself…

Pictures of Cars Inside the BMW Zentrum Museum

The Euro Fest event was limited to 400 cars, and at least 400 registered, representing lots of manufacturers. Beautifully restored examples included Austin Healey, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, Maserati, Triumph and more…

Pictures of Cars at BMW 2014 EuroFest

The highlight of the event was watching my grandson stand next to and sit in a vintage Austin Healey Bug-eye Sprite. He couldn’t stop smiling, and neither could I…

Grandson Inside Bugeye Sprite at EuroFest

For additional information about the annual Euro Auto Festival event click here. For location and other information about the BMW Zentrum museum click here. For guided tour info at the BMW manufacturing plant click here.

Davidson River Outfitters Fly Fishing Guide

Davidson River Outfitters Fly Fishing Guide Jeff Furman

I spent the first day of Fall fishing with one of my sons and Jeff Furman, a certified casting instructor at Davidson River Outfitters near Brevard, NC…

Jeff Furman Our Guide Is An Expert

Jeff tied our flies and gave us lots of good advice and instruction…

Davidson River Outfitters Fly Fishing Guide

My son had been fly fishing out West, and his experience showed. He kept reeling them in all morning…

My Son the Fisherman

Fly Fishing Guide Was Busy

Davidson River Outfitters is located at the entrance to Pisgah Forest near the intersection of routes US 64 and US 276. For an interactive Google map click here.

Davidson River Outfitters Shop

Davidson River Outfitters has 10 professional guides, including owner Kevin Howell, who is a Fly Fishing Master’s Champion. Davidson guides operate in Pisgah, and Nantahala National Forest; Dupont and Gorges State Parks, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (They also have access to 6 miles of privately managed and limited access trout streams.) Davidson also offers float trips on the French Broad, Pigeon, Tuckaseegee, Watauga, and South Holston Rivers. If you don’t need professional instruction, but need fishing gear, Davidson sells some of the best, including rods from G.Loomis, Sage, and Winston, and reels from Lamson, Ross, Sage, and Nautilus, and wading gear and clothing from Simms, Patagonia, and Chota. So the weather’s perfect. Let’s all skip work and go fishing!

Let's skip work and go fishing.

Pick Your Own Apples at Sky Top Orchards

Sky Top Orchards Scarecrow

We rode up the mountain near Flat Rock to visit Sky Top Orchard, one of the most popular “pick your own” farms in Western North Carolina. There were lots of families having fun, playing, picking apples, and enjoying the scenery on hayrides…

Hayride at Sky Top Orchards, Zirconia, NC

Of course it wasn’t all fun and games for the Sky Top Orchard staff. They were hard at work making sure everything was working and humming right along…

Sky Top Orchards Farm Workers

If you’re like us and you don’t want to “pick your own” apples, there are a dozen tasty varieties in all sizes of bags, baskets, and containers…

Sky Top Orchards Apples Farm Stand

We’ve heard about the hot, fresh apple cider donuts that Sky Top Orchard makes, but it was Saturday and the line was long, so we’ll go back during the week and get some. We didn’t have to wait to buy some fresh apple cider. And when we got home we immediately poured some of the best cider we’ve ever tasted…

Sky Top Orchard Apple Cider

Sky Top Orchard is only a short drive south of Hendersonville. For an interactive Google map to Sky Top Orchard click here. If you’d like some fresh apple cakes, cider, donuts, jellies, preserves, apple butter, honey, pumpkins, gift baskets, and other other apple-related items, visit Sky Top Orchards or one of the many “pick your own” farms, orchards and fruit stands in Western North Carolina. Here’s a short list of some of the most popular ones…

Apple Hill Orchard, Morganton
Apple Mill, Saluda
Atkins Orchard, Saluda
Barber Orchard Fruit Stand, Waynesville
Coston Farm, Hendersonville
Creasman Farms, Hendersonville
Grandad’s Apples ‘N Such, Hendersonville
Justus Orchard, Hendersonville
Lyda Farms, Hendersonville
Mountain Fresh Orchards, Hendersonville
Old Cider Mill & Gift Shop, Bat Cave
Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland
Piney Mountain Orchards, Hendersonville
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard, Hendersonville

Be sure to check their websites or call for hours of operation and other information.

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