We visited my husband's uncle. He's 75 and a widower, and lives in a great house on one of the mountains. He has a great deck on the front part of the house with lots of birdfeeders. We saw a whole bunch of hummingbirds, woodpeckers and other birds while we were there. He has seen wild turkeys, raccoons and even the occasional bear but none while we were there. We arrived fairly late on Friday night, but Saturday set off to explore the mountains. We stopped for waterfalls and other scenic spots, and stopped at the highest point of the Blue Ridge as well. It was a little cloudy most of the day but we only got rained on for a little bit, and another highlight quote was at one point when we were driving through the clouds at the top of the mountain, my daughter said, "I totally have to tell my friends at school about this."
In the afternoon after a good barbecue lunch, we went over to Cherokee which is a pretty touristy section with Indian souvenirs. My daughter is in Indian Princess so she was interested to see what they had of real Indian stuff. A lot of it was kind of cheesy honestly, but the kids each bought something. My oldest bought an arrowhead, and her sister bought a worry stone. She loves rocks especially ones that are smooth or sparkly. This one was both. They also each bought a thermometer/compass on a keychain to put on their backpacks.
Outside one of the stores we saw a guy do a hoop performance where using hoops about the size of small hula hoops he dances to a drum beat and intermingling the hoops in certain ways forms outlines of various animals that were important to the Indians. Hard to explain but pretty neat. Our son thought it was really cool and was giggling and clapping through most of it.
After a stop for ice cream we headed home to relax for a while. The kids explored the forest behind their great uncle's house and marveled at the trees.
This is a view from the deck where I sat for a while and read, disturbed only by the occasional hummingbird. If I ever get a vacation home, it will definitely be in the mountains. It's so peaceful.
We had dinner in Waynesville, which was quite a cute little town and I have to admit much nicer than I had expected. I was expecting something similar to Cherokee, but it was really quaint and had lots of cute shops and galleries that unfortunately were all closed. Had I known I would have asked to go there after lunch to explore. As much as I would have liked to see it, I knew the Biltmore was a no-go. My 2 year old would definitely not have tolerated being in a place like that, and even his sisters probably would have gotten bored easily. Oh well, maybe on a different trip or when they are older.