Since I was so miserable stuck in the house, we drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the mountains and the endless variety of plants that grow there. Our lunch destination was Julian Price Park where we wanted to check out the campground, since we're thinking of spending at least part of our vacation there.
I was pleased to find the catawba rhododendron in full bloom along the Parkway. At lower elevations the blossoms had peaked and fallen, but at around 3400 to 4400 feet they were spectacular.
Ferns. You know you're in the southern Appalachians when you see vast carpets of these.
This is the spot where we had our picnic. The table and grill sat right on the creek in Julian Price Park.
We stopped on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain along the Linn Cove Viaduct.
I realized that I almost never take a photo OF the Parkway. Just lots of shots FROM the Parkway.
We detoured and caught the Kistler Highway which offers fantastic views of Linville Gorge.
Table Rock Mountain on the right, Hawksbill Mountain on the left.
On the way home we stopped at Judge's Riverside Restaurant in Morganton. I love this place! The food is great and the setting is priceless. It sits on the banks of the Catawba River. They have a deck out back where you can sit and watch the water. Their barbecue is flawless. You have to go if you're anywhere near it. Access is easy from I-40. (Thanks to Andy Kunkle for showing this place to us!)
The light was fading, actually. Had to open up the aperture to get this poor panoramic stitch. But you get the idea. Outside on the deck above the river.