Kingsport, TN – Exchange Place Fall Folks Arts Festival

We didn’t do a walk / hike today. Instead we took the twins to the Fall Folks Arts Festival at Exchange Place.

It was pretty cool. The historic farmstead had vendors, demonstrators and musicians. People were baking and making kettle corn. There were even people making brunswick stew and apple butter in big kettles over open fires. There were also people doing many things such as quilting, basketmaking, ropemaking, chairmaking, caning, whittling, blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, pottery, hearth side cooking, soap making, apple cider squeezing, and hand made toys.

There were farm animals too that you could pet. Horses, donkey, and sheep. There were also cows and chickens.

Was a pretty cool day. Here are a few photos from today. Quite a few of the twins, of course. Jason just put them in their little red wagon and they enjoyed the day.

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We have arrived

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What do the boys seem happy about?

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They’re loving the horses

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The old blue schoolhouse

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Activity in the vegetable garden

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They had a horse and donkey set for petting

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The boys posing in front of old farm equipment

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This boy here sure talked alot and knew his fur pelts

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The boys enjoying the sheep

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Twin girls also traveling in their little red wagon

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Eli enjoying homemade apple pie

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Sawyer gets some too

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Eli says it’s time to go home

 

Kingsport, TN – Kingsport Greenbelt (Exchange Place to East Stone Commons)

We frequent this section of the trail pretty often. To get additional information and photos of this section, search the internet by “ranger annette kingsport tn kingsport greenbelt exchange place”.

The weather was pretty iffy today so thought we’d take a walk close to home. This is a pretty easy 4 mile round trip walk.

You start out on wide gravel walkway that eventually becomes paved. It’s a little hilly for a ways, but not bad. Once you get to the paved area, for about 2/10 of a mile or so, seems to be a very popular chipmunk area. Once you reach the creek, paved trail then becomes flat the rest of the way. After we came out of the trees and were walking by a meadow (before going under the John B Dennis), a big branch off of a tree fell onto the trail almost right in front of  us. Scary. Before arriving at East Stone Commons, you go through a wetlands area. When arriving at East Stone Commons, you are going to see lots of ducks. This is a popular duck feeding area. When walking back to Exchange Place and the trail becomes gravel again, it’s pretty much uphill the rest of the way.

Address for GPS: 4812 Orebank Road, Kingsport, TN. You’ll see the small gravel parking area across the road from Exchange Place.

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Cow chilling in the field at Exchange Place

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Starting out on the gravel trail through the woods

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Trail becomes paved at the bottom of the hill

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Can’t believe this chipmunk stayed still long enough to capture a photo

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Curve in the creek

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Limb that fell out of a tree right in front of us. Doesn’t look too big, but it was big enough to where if we were hit with it, who knows what would have happened.

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Taking photo downstream with reflection of bridge in creek

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Haven’t seen one of these on the trail before

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Heading back to the car. This is where the creek veers away from the trail and you get back into the hilly area.

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One more shot of the trail. Even though there wasn’t much color up in the trees yet, lots of leaves were already falling on the trail. I really like that look.

 

 

Blowing Rock, NC – Moses Cone Memorial Park (Moses Cone Manor to Horse Stables)

Since we’ve done just about all the trails at the Moses Cone park, decided to check out the trail from the manor house to the horse stables. This is an easy 2.6 mile round trip walk.

We took off on the south side of the manor house. There is the lower gravel trail, and an upper paved trail. We took the upper paved trail. It isn’t far and you will see a sign that points you to the left towards the stables. The trail then turns into a wide gravel road. It won’t be too far and you’ll take a right onto Duncan Road (which was the lower gravel trail from the manor house). Then you walk just a little ways and you’ll see a sign and you’ll take a hard right towards the stables. At this point it’s 7/10 of a mile to the stables. You’ll come to a point in the trail where a meadow will appear on your left. You’ll go down the hill and then cross under Hwy 221 through a tunnel. It’s not much further then to the end of the trail. You will know when you’re to the end because you’ll run into a paved road. The entrance to the stables is just across the road. We didn’t go to the stables. Wasn’t sure we had any business going to the stables. So, we turned around here and headed back to the manor house. On our way back, there was a sign that there was a 1/2 mile loop off to our left. We’ll go back again and check out that loop. Wondering if there are some good views on that loop because as you are going to the stables, after you go under Hwy 221, you can tell that there are probably some nice views of the mountains through the trees, especially when the leaves are no longer on the trees.

Here are a few photos from today.

Getting to Moses Cone Manor: Entrance is at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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When we left the manor house on the south side, we took the upper paved trail

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Of course on our way out, we have to take a photo of Bass Lake from above

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Your left turn from the paved road to the gravel road

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Me, mom and Teresa

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Your hard right towards the stables. Only 7/10 of a mile to go.

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Passing by the meadow. Looking back at a huge apple tree.

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Looking downhill at a bunch of white blooms. Hwy 221 is just behind the trees.

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This is where we stopped, at the edge of the park. The stables are straight ahead.

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Entering Moses Cone Park again to head back to the manor

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Cutoff to the 1/2 mile loop that we will check out in the future

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Getting read to walk under Hwy 221

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Ran across this sweetie grazing in the woods. She didn’t seem to be scared of us.

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Arriving back at the manor house

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Some strange loud aircraft that came passing by

Erwin, TN – Erwin Linear Trail with the Twins

We didn’t walk the whole trail today. Actually, we’ve never walked the entire trail in one day. We usually just go over and do bits and pieces of it. Today we parked at the bass pond on the south side of the trail (South Industrial Drive), and walked to the 2nd Street bridge where you have McDonalds on your right. Well, not everyone walked to that point. Just Steve and Andy. The gals stopped at the park with the twins and we let them play until the guys got back.

For more of a non-family view of the section of the trail, here is one of my previous posts. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/erwin-tn-erwin-linear-trail/

As I said, today we parked on the south side at the bass pond. It’s always interesting what type of waterfowl, etc. that you’re going to see at the pond. You continue on and you are running parallel to I-26. Well, the entire trails runs parallel to the interstate. It’s a really nice walk through the trees. You’ll notice all of the lamps on the trail. Many people probably use this trail after dark. When we got to where you could walk down to the river to get shots, due to the lack of rain, there wasn’t a whole lot of water. This is the driest I’ve ever seen the river on this trail. We then arrived at the little Kiwanis Park on the right. Of course me, mom, and Teresa played with the boys while the guys went on.

It was pretty hot today so some of the play equipment was pretty hot so I didn’t put them on everything. They had fun sliding (well, Sawyer a little more than Eli), playing on the see saw, and rocking on the rocking horses. I thought little Sawyer was going to end up bloodying his nose or something. He rocked so hard that as he was going forward, the horsey was going backwards. No accidents though. Something that was funny while we were there. Jason and Kim take the boys to alot of little birthday parties because of course alot of their friends their age have little kids. The boys are so used to taking part in birthday parties. There was a birthday party going on in the little shelter at the park. Had a hard time keeping Eli from joining in the festivities. It was kind of cute.

Here are a few photos from today.

Address for GPS: 1070 S Industrial Drive, Erwin, TN. This address is for one of the businesses in the industrial park. Once you get to this address, just drive a little further and you’ll see the parking area on your left.

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View of the bass pond

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Paved trail through the trees

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River is really down

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Nana tossing Sawyer down the slide. Andy will catch him. Eli is up behind me with Teresa. He’s next.

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Teresa and Andy see sawing with Eli

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Oh, I guess that’s not a rocking “horse”, but a rocking “squirrel”. He was a little nutcase on that thing.

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Heading back to the car now. They really enjoyed playing with dried leaves on the way back.

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Heron on the river

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Getting ready to cross the bridge at bass pond

Damascus, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail (Green Cove Station Parking)

The address is “Damascus”, but Green Cove Station is located about 15 miles outside of the town of Damascus.

At the good sized gravel parking area, you have a restored 19th century railroad depot that serves as a little visitors center that is open from April to October. I read that it includes original contents from the general store and post office. Steve and I went in, but I was more focused on t-shirts, hats, etc. They also have drinks and snacks. There are pit toilets back behind the depot.

We started out on the trail and headed towards Damascus. It was a very easy 4 mile round trip walk from Green Cove Station to where the Creeper trail crosses gravel Grassy Ridge Road. The trestles for this section of the trail are trestles 41 through 45. This is a pretty cool section of the trail too because I like barns, and there are several barns. Not long after we started out on the trail, we were approaching trestle 45 and saw what we thought were huge pigs in a field. We walked over to snap some photos when a couple of them were not very happy with our approach. Those suckers were huge so we didn’t get too close. Continuing on, after you cross trestle 42, you are then going to find several spots where you can get out and enjoy the creek. There are some nice rapids along this section. You eventually then reach trestle 41 which is at Grassy Ridge Road, which is where we turned around.

So, I always carry bear spray with me no matter where we walk / hike. Even if I would see a bear, my intention would not be to use the bear spray. I just keep it handy, just in case. Today was the first time that I’ve ever taken it out of my backpack in preparation for possible use. We were heading towards Grassy Ridge Road. We came to a section of the trail where someone drives their vehicle across the trail to get to their barn. There were 2 dogs. One seemed friendly and had a collar. The other one didn’t have a collar and did not seem friendly at all. It was just that dog’s stance. So still and just staring. I figured that the dog wouldn’t cause a problem because we’d had bicyclists that had already passed us and gone through this section. But, I wasn’t taking any chances. No problems. I was hoping when we walked back to Green Cove Station that the dog would be gone, and it was.

Here are a few photos from today.

Address for GPS: 41259 Green Cove Road, Damascus, VA

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Green Cove Station

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Mileage sign when you first start out on the trail

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Not long after you start out, little barn on the left

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Then you’ll come across this little Christmas Tree Farm on the right

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Then you have the field with the pigs. One of the pigs.

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Trestle 45

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Trestle 44

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It amused me to take a picture of this sign and the dilapidated old house back behind it

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Another barn

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Another barn and some little building that’s about to fall to the ground

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This barn is way in the background, but I thought the picture was pretty cool with just a little piece of the hill back behind it with sun shining on it.

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Trestle 43

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Trestle 42

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Down on the creek

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Another area of the creek where the rocks are bigger and it’s harder to see the rapids

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Down on the creek below trestle 41. This trestle is at Grassy Ridge Road where we turned around.

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One last shot of the trail going back into the trees

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

This is my 4th post of the arboretum. To see more photos, search internet by “ranger annette asheville nc north carolina arboretum”.

We went to the arboretum today because they were having their Carolinas Dahlia Society Annual Dahlia Show.

We walked around out in the gardens first. Then headed over to the Education Center to check out the exhibit. We took alot of photos of the dahlias. After checking out the show, we then headed out for our hike on the grounds. We start out on the Carolina Mountain Trail but soon turned around because noticed is was getting kind of late. Why was it kind of late already? Steve I believe took a photo of each and every dahlia in the show.

Today we became members of the arboretum. We paid the $12 to get in. When we went into the Baker Exhibit Center and filled out our paperwork and paid, they took the $12 that we paid to get in, off the price. They then provided us with a packet of information showing our benefits that includes special admission privileges and discounts at nearly 300 gardens throughout North America and the Cayman Islands, and the North Carolina Zoo. In 1 month, we’ve more than got our money back. We just flashed our card and got in free at the Bernheim Arboretum outside of Louisville KY, and then at the Chicago Botanic Garden outside of Chicago. And, we’ve made one visit back to North Carolina Arboretum. We plan on going to the arboretum once per month and checking out what blooms monthly, and getting out on their 10 miles of hiking trails.

Here are several photos from today.

Address for GPS: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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Swannanoa, NC – Warren Wilson College River Trail

The 25 miles of trails at Warren Wilson College are open to the public. This is our 2nd time checking out this trail. My first post from back in 2013 is actually the most visited post on my blog. Here is more detailed information about this trail and our previous photos. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/swannanoa-nc-warren-wilson-college-river-trail/

There are 2 named river trails that connect to each other. East and West trails. Today we took the River Trail West. Runs right along / above the Swannanoa River most of the way. Lots of places to walk out to or into the river bed. Due to the lack of rain, the river was really down today. Not long after starting on the trail, you have the river on your left, and Warren Wilson College Farm on your right.  Eventually the trail starts taking you above the river. The trails gets a little rocky. Not rocky for long though. Even being up above the river, some people have made some very steep little hills down to the river. We definitely didn’t tackle any of those. You then get to a part of the trail where there is a wooden gate. This is where you will turn left and walk down stone steps. You are now back beside of the river. After a bit you curve to the right. You’re no longer right beside of the river. There is a skinny trail where you have a huge meadow on your right where there is habitat restoration going on. It’s not long now and you’ll be arriving at the rocky area where the college students hang out and paint the rocks. This trip there was only one person hanging out so it was easier to get photos. We hung out at the river and then headed on. We didn’t go all the way to the end because I didn’t want to get anywhere near where we were attacked a few weeks prior by hornets.

I’ve included a map of the college trails. http://www.swangathering.com/downloads/WWCTrailMap.pdf

Here are a few photos from today.

Address for GPS: Use 701 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC. When you arrive at this destination, don’t turn left into the college. Pass the college and you will soon see the gravel parking area on your right.

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It’s kind of hard to find, but to get to the trailhead, look for the little path between the fence and the weeds

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Steve hanging out on the river

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And me hanging out on the river. Wow, the water sure was down.

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Hanging out on a rocky part of the river

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This is where the trail gets a little rocky and goes uphill. You are now walking above the river.

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This is where the trail veers away from the river. Skinny trail taking you beside of a meadow where there is habitat restoration going on.

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The painted rocks above the river

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Looking up river from the painted rock area

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We were being checked out as we were heading back to the car

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