Every autumn our family takes a couple of days for a mountain getaway in beautiful North Carolina. If we time it right, we can manage to go when the leaves are changing colors. This is one of the most beautiful times of the year there. For each mountain trip, we try to include a visit to an apple orchard, some toddler-friendly hiking trails, and at least one fun restaurant. We also really love taking a day trip along the Blue Ridge mountain scenic highway to enjoy the winding stretches of gorgeous fall foliage and beautiful overlooks. And we always find a remote cabin to stay in waaaay up on a mountain so we can really immerse ourselves in the experience and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
This year we found a great spot just outside of Boone, NC. The cabin had a huge front porch overlooking the mountain scapes. There was a hot tub, a great fire pit, and a long winding driveway that curved and twisted with switchbacks (and made for its own adventure for us!). We spent quite a bit of time lounging on the porch savoring the fresh air, sunshine, and trees that were changing colors right before our eyes. The boys did a lot of playing with playdoh and wrestling. Paul and I enjoyed reading books and drinking a lot of coffee.
At night, the woods around our house were teeming with wildlife. We could hear coyotes and owls and the boys were convinced “big foot” was on the prowl despite my best efforts to convince them that he “actually” lives in Pennsylvania. Every evening we watched the sunset over the mountain from the hot tub. Then we slept with the windows open despite the crisper temperatures. It was delightful.
This year we chose an apple orchard that was a little further away from our cozy AirB&B cabin. We were able to combine our scenic drive with our apple picking adventures. We woke early and headed off!
The Altapass Orchard was awesome! We walked along the trails of the orchard, plucking apples straight off of the trees along our way. The boys kept finding “the best ones!” way up high in the branches so we would try to lift them up to reach them. These kids aren’t getting any lighter as they get older! Ha! There was a lot of fallen fruit which meant swarms of bees everywhere. Noah (who is pretty spooked by bees) was not a fan of that part. He spent quite a bit of the trip riding on Papa’s shoulders. Ironically though, afterward he informed us that “the bees” were his favorite part because he’d never seen bees like that before. And that he’s grateful for bees, even though they scare him, because without them we wouldn’t even have apples.
With covid safety still a high priority in our minds we stuck to places we could be outdoors and enjoy. One afternoon we visited a local hot spot – Booneshine Brewery for lunch. We sat out on their sprawling balcony with a backdrop of mountain ridges, and enjoyed some delicious brews and food. Since we almost always travel with crayons and paper, the boys entertained us with their drawings and by suckering us into repeated games of tic-tac-toe. Our lunch was delicious and we even took a few packs of beer home to share with our neighbors!
We went out in search of a toddler-friendly hiking trail one day and discovered a beautiful park that ran along the river. There were people fly fishing in the water and the trail wound through the woods along the water’s edge. The boys loved stopping to skip rocks and watch the people fish. One guy even waded over to the shore to show them his fresh catch (he ended up releasing it which was fun to witness too!). There was a park with a big playground and little wooden houses and all kinds of cool statues carved out. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I LOVE spending time on a trail with my family! Being outdoors has always had a sort of magic over me and every year our mountain getaway is like balm for my soul.
This mountain getaway was a perfect reset after a long and stressful few months. It really helped us enjoy some of our favorite parts of this season. It was a trip full of amazing adventures! Can’t wait to see what next year will be like!