Asheville, NC – Biltmore Estate

We went back to Biltmore today. We went towards the end of December, but I didn’t post anything from that visit. For the prior visit, we went to do the house tour. Had no idea that you could take cameras in the house. All I had was my cell phone. I don’t normally post photos on here from my cell phone. It was on a weekend day too, and you had to reserve a time to start your tour. So, you can imagine that there were ALOT of people going through the house.

Today we went back to go through the house. It was on a Monday, so we thought that maybe there wouldn’t be as many people. We were right. Alot of the Christmas decorations were taken down by now. We ended up only doing the main floor and upper floors. We bypassed the lower floor where the kitchen, pool, etc. are at.

Before going through the house though, we decided to take a little walk on a trail that we’ve never walked on before. We headed across the road beside of the conservatory. We walked down into the azalea garden. When we came to the first intersection, we took a hard left and headed for the Spring Garden. We knew nothing would be blooming. Just wanted to check it out and get in a few steps. We walked around the Spring Garden which is just a 1/4 mile loop.

After we enjoyed the house, we walked out onto South Terrace and then headed to the conservatory to check out what was blooming in there. It seems that if you go to the conservatory 2 weeks in a row, that there are slight changes from one visit to the next.

Here are several photos from today.

Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC

1

Even though it’s winter, this green section of the Spring Garden is nice

2.5

This would be the short way to the house. To get more steps in, we back-tracked to the azalea garden.

3

Heading back up the stairs at the azalea garden entrance. Just imagine how pretty this section will be in the Spring.

4

As you walk into the house, the first thing that you notice is the winter garden

5

They have some amazing ceilings in the house

6

Pipe organ in the banquet hall

7

Breakfast room

8

View from the Loggia

9

Partial shot from their very impressive library

10.5

I call this a teaser, in preparation for their “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics”. This runs until 7/4/17.

10

Partial shot of Louis 15th Room

11

South Terrace and it’s view

12

Heading through the walled garden to the conservatory. Doing some prep work in preparation for the Spring blooms. 

13.5

Enjoy the rest of these photos from the conservatory

1314151617182017-01-16-Biltmore Estate-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-402017-01-16-Biltmore Estate-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-552017-01-16-Biltmore Estate-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-612017-01-16-Biltmore Estate-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-842017-01-16-Biltmore Estate-SONY-DSC-HX200V-262

 

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

This was our monthly visit to the arboretum. For many other months / to see what’s blooming each month, search internet by “ranger annette north carolina arboretum”.

Didn’t really see much of anything blooming today. Well no wonder, it’s January. An unusually warm January though. We were out walking around in t-shirts and no jackets today.

We walked 3 different trails today. We started out behind the education center on Running Cedar Road. It’s 1/2 mile long. It was an easy walk down to Bent Creek Road. Bent Creek Road is the main trail that runs through the arboretum trail system. We turned left and took an easy walk about 1/2 mile to where you split off either to the right onto Old Mill Trail, or off to the left onto Wesley Branch Trail. We took a left onto Wesley Branch. It’s only 4/10 of a mile, and moderate. It brings you to Natural Garden Trail. We took a right and walked about 1/10 of a mile back up to the exhibit center.

Here is an arboretum trail map. http://www.ncarboretum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Map_Guide_2014.pdf

This was really our first walk since around Christmas, so along with our trail photos from today, also posting a few pictures of the holiday festivities.

Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

1

Was walking through the gardens beside of the education center and ran across this concrete cat. As many times as we’ve been through these gardens, have never seen this before. 

2

Nice slight view of some hills in the background as we are getting ready to step out of the gardens and head out on Running Cedar Road

3

After we turned left out of gardens, took off on Running Cedar Road. The trails at the arboretum are very well signed. 

4

The long final stretch on Running Cedar Road that takes you down to Bent Creek Road

5

We have arrived at Bent Creek Road. As usual, well signed. You can turn right and head towards Lake Powhatan, take the little trail straight ahead and walk along the creek. We took a left. 

6.5

Bent Creek Road is so easy and level. Great trail for bicycles too. 

6

Taking a little detour off to the right to spend some time along the creek

7

That little detour takes you to where you are across the creek from the azalea gardens

8

Time to turn left and head up Wesley Branch and back to the education center

9

Walking through rhododendron thicket

10

As we were walking Wesley Branch, out in the woods saw a tree with something colorful. Zoomed in and discovered this. Not sure what that is all about.

11

Ending our approximate 1.5 mile walk at the education center

12

We took a walk through the tiny greenhouse at the education center. Bonsai safe in the greenhouse for the winter season.

13

Now to our Christmas photos. Eli beside of our tree right before Christmas.

14

Sawyer getting ready to climb up on the bed for a little rough housing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mom, Steve, and myself on Christmas Eve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mom, Andy, and Teresa on Christmas Eve

17

The twins, daddy and mommy at my mom’s on Christmas evening

18

There must be something really interesting on TV for them to stop opening their presents

Asheville, NC – Biltmore Estate

Yes, I know. We were just at Biltmore Estate yesterday. But, we were so excited over our annual passes and it was just so beautiful there, we decided to driver over again today.

Today we didn’t do any trails. We walked around in the walled garden area. Of course this time of year, not much blooming. We then headed up to the house. We still didn’t go in the house today. We enjoyed the views from South Terrace. We then walked around the house and just took photos. We then went and checked out the shops in the courtyard. After checking out the shops there, then headed over to Antler Hill Village. We checked out the shops there and then went into the winery.

Here are a few photos from our little stroll today.

Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Me posing underneath the famous posing tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After you walk around the tree in previous photo, and walk through the gate, this is the view of rose garden and house through the trees in background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Still a little blooming going on in the garden

4

6

Captured this bird through the limbs

7

View of house from shrub garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View of the house from below South Terrace

9

These next 5 photos are different views from South Terrace

10

I used this photo because I captured a piece of the sun on the right side

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View of the side of the house from South Terrace

15

Inside these windows is the circular staircase

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Garden side entrance to conservatory

Asheville, NC – Biltmore Estate

We had talked on and off about getting annual passes to Biltmore Estate but we felt that it was still pretty pricey at over $300 for the both of us. When we found out that they were running a holiday special around Thanksgiving, we went to the visitors center, purchased our passes, and on into the estate we went. It was kind of late in the day so really all we got done today was exploring the conservatory, and going to the waterfall at Bass Pond.

So, we headed off to park near the conservatory. The first thing that we learned is if you are not going to park at one of the parking areas to go to the house, and want to head on to the conservatory, when you come to a couple of spots where people are directing traffic, you just turn on your blinkers and they wave you on through.

We found parking in the small parking area down below the conservatory. Below the conservatory there’s a very nice gift shop. After checking out the gift shop, we headed up into the conservatory. There are several sections to the conservatory. You have Palm House that houses palms, ferns, and other plants. You then have the hot house, the cool house, and the orchid house. 7,000 square feet of beauty. Here is some more information about the conservatory. http://www.biltmore.com/media/newsarticle/gardens-under-glass-biltmores-conservatory

I was amazed out how many different colors of poinsettias that they had. They also had a great orchid room. And of course spread out throughout the conservatory there were other tropical plants, blooms, cactus, etc.

We then headed out of the conservatory (on the parking lot side) and went around the corner to the left and you could see where there is a crosswalk. Head down the steps and you are in the 15 acre azalea garden. You just keep on going straight and you eventually end up at bass pond. You can cross the little bridge and enjoy the gazebo around the corner. You then go just past the bridge and there will be a sign that directs you to Bass Pond Waterfall. It’s on the other side of the pond. On your way, you will have a great view of a beautiful brick bridge across the pond which is the main road. On your right, up on the hill, there is a huge meadow (I’ll post that walk in the future). When you get to the other side of the pond, there is a nice bridge where you can walk over the waterfall, which is water falling over a dam. We then headed down the hill to the waterfall. Not alot of water today. We then walked through some bamboo that was behind us, around a bend in the river, and back up the hill to hit the trail to take us back to the parking area. The walk ends up being easy and about a mile.

Here is a map of the gardens trails. http://biltmore.s3.amazonaws.com/975-gardens-trailsmap.pdf

Also, here is a link to Biltmore’s website. http://www.biltmore.com/

Here are some photos from today. Also, the twins were up this past week, so included a few photos of them.

Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC

.1

The bottom story is the gift shop. The upper part is the conservatory.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enjoy these next 14 photos from inside of the conservatory

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA.834OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA67OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10.5OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

11.5

You cross the road near this tree to go down into the azalea gardens. This tree was beautiful today and is huge. Lots of people do photos at this tree. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s still a little fall color in the garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Keep straight on the paved trail to go to the pond. Or, take the trail on the right. It’s a gravel trail that takes you across the creek a few times on wooden bridges and interesting rock bridges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red blooms falling off of a tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The bridge as you arrive at Bass Pond. Go across the bridge to the gazebo.

14

Turn left right after the bridge to walk around the pond

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The red brick bridge across the pond

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking across the lake at the gazebo

16

The bridge above the dam and waterfall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was late in the day, so was hard to get a good photo without the shadows from the trees and sun

18

The twins were up this past week. As you see, Eli has “mowed” the leaves nicely. Sawyer is loading them back into the truck and is going to make a mess. 

19

Sawyer getting ready for another load

20

Eli doing a great job mowing

 

Elizabethton, TN – Sycamore Shoals State Park

The twins were coming over later today, so needed to find a quick walk nearby. Headed over to Elizabethton to do this walk that we’ve done many times.

If you’re into history, here is some information about Sycamore Shoals. http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/sycamore-shoals

The Mountain River Trail at Sycamore Shoals is short, easy, and 1 mile round trip. I have read a couple of places that it’s 2 miles round trip. But the sign at the trailhead says 1 mile round trip, and when you arrive back at the trailhead, there is a small sign that reads “1 Mile”.

Part of your walk is taken along the river. As you start out (facing the visitors center) head to the right of the visitors center and you will see up ahead a white crushed gravel trailhead. It’s a short walk to the river. The water in the river today was very low. We were able to walk further out into the river bed to take photos than we have ever been able to do. When you get to the far end of the park, you turn around and take the right fork as you are heading back. It takes you on a short walk through the woods / beside of a little creek. You eventually meet up with the main trail again. Got a couple of bird shots that I have included in my photos below. They aren’t all that great, but it was cool to get those shots since it’s so hard to get the birds to stay still long enough to get a shot.

Here is a map that shows trails. http://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/park-maps/sycamore-shoals_area-map-2015.pdf

Here are the photos from today. Of course since the twins were up today, we included a couple of them.

Address: 1651 W Elk Ave, Elizabethton, TN

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As soon as you hit the trail, you have the fort area on your left

2

A bird that actually sat still long enough for us to get a shot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There was no generating today, so we were able to walk out onto the river

2016-11-13-Sycamore Shoals and Home-SONY-DSC-HX200V-30

Up-river view

2016-11-13-Sycamore Shoals and Home-SONY-DSC-HX200V-45

It’s been very dry lately, so we were able to stand in the middle of the creek that runs into the river

2016-11-13-Sycamore Shoals and Home-SONY-DSC-HX200V-49

I like this photo of a leaf in the still waters

2016-11-13-Sycamore Shoals and Home-SONY-DSC-HX200V-67

Halfway decent photo of a woodpecker

2016-11-13-Sycamore Shoals and Home-SONY-DSC-HX200V-69

The park has a sign that says you have now walked 1 mile

DSC06690

We’re at home now with the twins. Sawyer has been watching a little TV.

DSC06698

Eli on the little 4-wheeler that used to belong to my boys when they were young. As you can see, there’s a rope on the front. Daddy is pulling him with his big 4-wheeler. 

 

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

For what is blooming just about any month at the arboretum, search internet by “ranger annette north carolina arboretum”. Since we are members, we definitely try to visit monthly.

This was our monthly visit to the arboretum. Wanted to see if there was still any Fall color or if anything was still blooming. There was a little Fall color still left, and a few blooms.

We also got in a walk today, but it was a pretty short one. Facing the exhibit center, we went down the steps to the left and took the left fork behind the exhibit center. We took Natural Garden Trail until we reached Running Cedar Road. Took this road to the right and ended up by the education center. Probably about a mile. The walk was easy, but if you’re not in shape, that hill up to the education center can be a little tough. After we got back up to the education center, we walked through the gardens and ended back at the exhibit center.

The exhibit center’s exhibit at this time was called “The World of Giant Insects”. Included a couple of insects in my photos below.

Here is a link to the arboretum map. http://www.ncarboretum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Map_Guide_2014.pdf

And here are a few photos from today.

Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some remaining Fall color and blooms outside of the exhibit center

2

Red blooming tree at exhibit center entrance

3

4

Natural Garden Trail trailhead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walking through the woods today. Seems a little hazy in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fence and color shot along the trail

7.5

Old fallen tree. Probably home to some little critters.

7

View of the trail up ahead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Back in the gardens and heading towards exhibit center. They have their Christmas tree up in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Butterfly Garden no longer has blooms, but now has Christmas lights

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Blooms in a little pond

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The last 2 photos are from the insect exhibit in the exhibit center

12

 

 

Clinton, SC – Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

On our way home from our Charleston trip, we wanted to stop somewhere and do a walk. This was our choice today. We picked up lunch and had a picnic before we started out on the trail. There is no admission fee for this park.

Musgrove Mill stands tribute to the bloody Battle of Musgrove Mill that took place here on August 19th, 1780. The battle is detailed through interpretive signage in the visitor center and along nature trails.

Our first trail was British Camp Trail. It’s a 1 mile loop. You are never very far from the visitors center. The trail starts below the visitors center and the 1 mile loop takes you around below the visitors center. It’s a pretty easy trail. The property that you are waking on was the property of the Musgrove family. There are signs that point out ruins of Musgrove House, and where the grist mill stood on the Enoree River. The river was so low that we could walk out onto the rocks on the river. We then headed back up into the woods to the parking area.

We then jumped into the car and headed to Horseshoe Falls. This is still part of Musgrove Mill, but you have to take a drive to the falls parking area.

This is a small waterfall. It’s handicap accessible. There is a paved walkway to an overlook. It’s only 1/10 of a mile to the waterfall.

As we were checking out the waterfall we saw a sign for Battlefield Trail. Decided to walk this trail too. It’s a 1.3 mile loop. It’s pretty easy too. This trails winds through the rolling hills of the northern wooded area of the park and site of the 1780 battlefield. There are lots of interpretive signs. They did a great job telling the story of the battle. I myself am not really into history, but I really got into reading the story on the signs as we went.

Here are some photos from today. Also included a few photos of our sunrise at Folly Beach.

Address: 398 State Park Rd, Clinton, SC

1

Visitors Center

2

British Camp Trail trailhead

3

Heading down out of the woods. Below you kind of see Mary Musgrove monument

4

We’ve walked down through a meadow (which you can barely see on the left) and are now on a trail between the meadow and the river

5

Couple of turtles sunning on the river

6

7

I like this shot of where the river flows around an island

8

I’m kind of assuming that these are concrete blocks that the grist mill used to sit on????

9

View up-river

10

Heading back into the woods

11

Right before you come out on the other side of the parking lot, you come across this little lake

12

We have driven over to Horseshoe Falls parking area and are heading out on the handicap accessible walkway to the falls

13

The small waterfall down through the trees

14

Down at the small waterfall on the very low river

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-179

We saw this trailhead sign and decided to take this trail too

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-181

The first interpretive sign. There are many on this trail and actually make for a very interesting story

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-192

A shot of the trail through the woods. We haven’t yet made it to the fork where this becomes a loop

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-194

Finally, the fork. Heading to the right.

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-198

Bridge in the woods

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-209

We’re getting ready to leave the woods and come into a meadow

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-216

Cutting across the meadow

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-222

Someone’s remains are apparently buried nearby

2016-11-06-Musgrove Mill State Historic Site-SONY-DSC-HX200V-231

The trail down through the woods

2017

People on the beach waiting on the sunrise. Kind of made me think of the movie “City of Angels”

2019

The sun barely peeping over the horizon

2020

Sun is just about to rise above the horizon

Charleston, SC – Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

Charles Towne Landing is a 664 acre park that sits on a marshy point off the Ashley River. English settlers landed here in 1670. This site has some of the earlier colonial history of Charleston. The grounds have 80 acres of gardens, and “oak alley” where the trees are just enormous and hundreds of years old. There is a $10 fee.

There are 7 miles of paved and unpaved trails used by walkers and bikers. The trails that we did today were all paved and easy to follow.  There are lots of information plaques to stop and read. There is also the  Legare-Waring House. There are only certain months where there are ranger guided tours. Looked like most of the time it’s used for weddings and other events.

The first trail that we took is called History Trail. It’s a 1.5 mile interpretive trail. I have a link to the trail map below and it also lists what all you will see along the trail.

One of the things that I thought I’d point out is on the  back end of the property, they actually have a replica of a 17th century sailing ship, called the Adventure. You can get on the ship. You will be told of the history of the ship. You can even go down below for a little look.

On the last part of this trail, before you get back to the visitors center, you can take off to the right on Animal Forest Trail and see animals in the natural habitat. It is a 22 acre area. They have shore birds, otters, bears, bison, among other animals.

Here is a map of the trails at the park. http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/files/State%20Parks%20Files/CTL/ctl-landing%20map-14scale.pdf

Here are some photos from today.

Address: 1500 Old Town Road, Charleston, SC

1

There are a few ponds. They all warn of alligators. The only alligator that we saw today was by the visitors center.

2

The Wedding Garden with big trees

3

4

Before arriving at Legare Waring House, you walk between a couple of ponds

5

Look at all the moss hanging

6

Legare-Waring House

7

Avenue of Oaks. You can barely tell, but they are setting up for a wedding among the oaks. And you can barely see Legare Waring House in the background.

8

A huge, loud plane from the air force base flying overhead

9

View from the boardwalk

10

A few white birds just hanging out

11

Replica of hull of a ship

12

The “Adventure”

13

Get on board and learn about history from someone dressed in period garb

14

Photo from underneath the deck

15

Come around the bend and you can see the top of Cooper River Bridge over the tree tops

16

The mounds that the cannons were hid behind. They actually had little cannons back there.

17

The “Common House”

18

This is where people were punished

19

Fountain in lake with Legare-Waring House in the background

20

Ruins of a tub

21

If you’d like, check out the animal forest and the cemetery area

2016-11-05-Charles Towne Landing-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-113

Shore bird in a tree. The shore birds were encased in netting. 

2016-11-05-Charles Towne Landing-SONY-DSC-HX200V-309

The otter playing with a stick

2016-11-05-Charles Towne Landing-SONY-DSC-HX200V-311

I think the bear was sick of people and was turning around to walk off

2016-11-05-Charles Towne Landing-SONY-DSC-HX200V-317

Wasn’t able to get a good shot of the bison. They had their backs to us as we passed them both times.

2016-11-05-Charles Towne Landing-SONY-DSC-HX200V-319

Looks like a daddy and a mama turkey

2016-11-05-Charles Towne Landing-SONY-DSC-HX200V-327

As we were arriving back at the visitors center, our first and only alligator view today

 

 

Charleston, SC – Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

After our Florida trip, we were home a week and took off for another week-long trip to South Carolina to spend a week with Steve’s family.

Today we went to the 600 acre Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, established in the 1670’s. It’s located along the Ashley River. It was $15 admission fee for adults. Great place to get out and walk the trails and tour the house. The gardens have some really nice bridges. You can have your wedding here if you’d like. We saw a couple of weddings going on today.

When we paid for our tickets, they said that they had a nature tram tour ride that would be starting soon. Decided to take that ride, so bought our tickets. They were only like $8. While waiting on the tram, decided to go in and visit the Conservatory where they have some more tropical plants and you can view a pond with a red bridge from the back, but they were having a wedding.

The tram tour probably lasted between 1/2 hour and 45 minutes. You get to see the wetlands, lakes, and forest. We also saw alligators, turtles, and different water fowl. There is also a section of the ride that takes you by old slave cabins. The tour ended in front of the house where we then took a tour of the inside of the house. There was an $8 charge for the tour of the house. No photos were allowed inside of the house.

After the tour of the house, we took off through the gardens. You walk by several ponds and unique bridges. On this walk you walk partially along the Ashley River. You will get a view of the back of the house as you are walking along the river. We then came to an observation tower that overlooks the marsh. Went back into the gardens and eventually came back out at the house.

There is also another walk that you can take that you pay for. We didn’t do this walk today. The walk is at the Audubon Garden Swamp. We took so much time in the other areas, just didn’t have time for this today. But, you get to enjoy this part of the gardens on boardwalks, bridges, and dikes.

Here is a link to their website. http://www.magnoliaplantation.com/. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on what the trail names were. Couldn’t find any information either on how long each of the trails were. This is the best map that I could find. https://www.sctrails.net/trails/trail/magnolia-plantation-and-gardens

Here are some photos from today. Included a few from our condo in Folly Beach and a photo from inside Charleston City Market.

Address: 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC

1

Blooms at Conservatory entrance which is near where you pay to enter park. Having a wedding in Conservatory today, so unable to walk through.

2

3

A view of a lake on the tram ride

4

Captured this alligator sunning on one of the platforms out in the lake

5

6

A few of the old slave quarters on the tram ride

7

Swamp view on the tram ride. To the right you can see the boardwalk through the Audubon Garden Swamp.

8

Now we’re off the tram. View of plantation house.

9

View at the front of the plantation house

10

View of one of the beautiful bridges. Later we’ll cross the bridge and interrupt a wedding party taking photos.

11

12

Peacock hanging around the plantation house

13

A little information about Reverend John Drayton

14

Now we are on the garden trail. The red bridge at the back end of the Conservatory.

15

One of the larger lakes along the garden trail

16

Coming upon Ashley River

17

As you are walking along the river, you will get this slight view of the back of the plantation house

18

As you are getting ready to head away from the river, back into the forest, there is a 1.2 mile River Trail that just takes you on a piece of land stretching out between the river and the marsh area

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-237

Obvious little pond with bridge. If you look over to the left, you’ll see a piece of a bridge in another little pond.

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-241

I believe these are a couple of eagles. A guy that walked by thought they were falcons.

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-268

A better view of the bridge that you could only see a piece of a couple of photos back

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-272

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-296

View of marsh from observation tower

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-300

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-303

Another bridge view of back in a cove

2016-11-04-Folly Beach, SC Condo and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens-NIKON CORPORATION-NIKON D600-306

2017

We rented a 3 bedroom condo right beside of the pier in Folly Beach. The pier this morning right after the sun rose.

2018

Steve on the back porch taking photos too

2019

One of the photos from inside Charleston City Market 

2020

Night view of Folly Beach Pier from our balcony

 

 

Norton, VA – Flag Rock Recreation Area

The leaves at the end of October are usually amazing up this way, so headed again this year to this recreation area to do some leaf peeping.

We first took the road that takes you to the main overlook, but turned left down into a little area where people camp / picnic. Amazing views from here. No one was camping today, so we had the place to ourselves. We stopped here first because we had lunch with us. We got out to eat at one of the picnic tables but ended up having to eat in the truck because there were what I believe to have been yellow jackets driving us crazy. We ate and took some photos and headed for our hike.

We drove back out to the main road that brings you up the mountain and took a left, heading for the Norton Reservoir. It’s less than 1/2 a mile to the reservoir turn-off. We drove down into the upper reservoir area, but there wasn’t much parking down there. Was a little challenging trying to get the truck turned around. We drove back up to where you turn into the reservoir area and there is a huge parking area.

We walked back down the steep paved hill and took some upper reservoir photos. It’s a small reservoir, at 9.8 acres. I read that the upper reservoir is stocked with trout and catfish. We then headed back up the hill and took off on Reservoir Trail to our left. This trail is used by hikers and bikers. It’s easy and about 1/2 mile. You walk through the woods by the reservoir. When you get almost to the other end of the reservoir, a trail will go off to your right up the hill, but you go left. After you come out of the woods, you will see lower reservoir down below. You continue on and cross the dam. After crossing the dam we took off to the right on Sugar Maple Trail.

Sugar Maple Trail is 1.2 miles. It’s pretty easy but does run along a ridge. The trail was hard to see at times because of all of the leaves. Got skinny in spots too up on that ridge. You will eventually see the lower reservoir through the trees on your right. We then arrived where we had planned on taking another trail to Flag Rock Overlook, but there were multiple signs / multiple trails, and even though I had a paper copy of a map with me, it felt a little confusing. We decided to backtrack and drive to the overlook.

Here is a map of the trails. http://www.nortonva.gov/DocumentCenter/View/863

And here are some photos from today.

Address: 1348 Flag Rock Road, Norton, VA

1

Watch for this overlook about 11 miles after you have left Big Stone Gap and are heading towards Norton 

2

View of highway from the overlook

3

View of Powell Valley from the overlook

5

Beautiful view from campground area at Flag Rock Recreation Area

6

Now we’re at the reservoir area. If you don’t have a map with you, as you head down to the reservoir, they have a map that you can check out.

7

Walking down the hill to the reservoir

8

Coming upon the reservoir

9.5

A spot to fish or to enjoy the view

9

Looking across the reservoir at the dam

10

Enjoyed the reservoir and headed back up the hill. Here is the trail off to the left.

11

View of the reservoir and dam from the trail

12

Just a view of the trail

13

View from the other side of the reservoir. We’re about 1/2 way around.

14

The trail splits here. If you want to continue around the reservoir, take a left

15

Getting ready to cross the dam

16.5

Look off to your right and you will see the lower reservoir

16

And then turn around and you have this view of the upper reservoir

17

After you cross the dam, you can go left or right. If you want to head towards Flag Rock, take off to the right

18

Steve captured me on the trail. You can hardly see the trail.

19

So I captured Steve on the trail too

20

This is about the best view that you have through the trees of the lower reservoir, down below

21

They have their trails well marked, but we turned around not far after this. It was getting hard to tell where the trail was actually at.

22

We’ve driven back to the Flag Rock area. Just a short walk to the overlook.

23.5

A few people down below enjoying the view

23

View from the north side of the overlook

24

View from the other side of the overlook

25

Flag Rock with the town of Norton below

 

 

Categories

Hiking the Carolinas

Tracking Our Adventures in the Woods

Shadow River

Adventure Photography

Ellie on the AT

A Baby's Trek on the Appalachian Trail

lifeat6mph

musings on life both at sea and ashore

Go West Young Man

The travels of an adventurous soul

Abingdon Outdoors

Articles, Essays & Photography

Carolina Trekker

A blog about hiking

Yaya Recommended

No croutons, please. 100% gluten-free recipes.

The Juice Planet

Health through juicy nutrition

Maple Avenue Juice

Optimal Health the Raw Juice Way!

Dining Destinations

A guide to dining destinations in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina

Blue Ridge NC Guide

Hiking Trails, History, Restaurants, Local Services, & More!

Virginia Hiking

Exploring some of Virginia's best hikes!

our gfree life

living gluten free without sacrifice

Epicurean Vegan

Healthy Eating for Discriminating Palates

Cooking in Sens

Living, Drinking and Eating in Burgundy

Skinny Fitalicious

Because skinny & fit always tastes delicious

Please Pass the Tofu

testing vegan recipes one pink plate at a time.