Sunday, July 09, 2006

Banner Elk with Poppie & T'ai T'ai

The family and I took a trip to Banner Elk, NC to visit Poppie and T'ai T'ai who live part of every year on Sugar Mountain. Banner Elk is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and, yes, it was quite cool for July. Our adventure in the Mountains began early on the drive to Banner Elk. It took us a little under 6 hours to get to our destination, but the last 20 miles was nerve racking. It seems the map I had downloaded included a short cut. Papa Bear was in the middle of telling our cubs what mountain roads used to be like when he was little....when the small road we were on veered to the left and ceased being paved.

There were no signs confirming that we were on the right road and it narrowed to the point that we doubted two cars would want to pass as there were no guard rails next to the steep ledges. The road wound around its uneven path and we stared intensely as the route revealed itself to us. It was incredibly beautiful, but we were unable to enjoy a moment of it. Realizing we were low on fuel, we had no idea where we were and we had no way to turn around. After 15-20 minutes of panic, the road gradually became wider and...paved! We made it and were now only 10 miles from our destination without another unexpected event.

Poppie & T'ai T'ai invited us to stay with them on Sugar Mountain, but Sallydog was not allowed in their community. We settled for the Best Western Mountain Lodge because it is the ONLY place in the area that allowed pets. We arrived a day early so we could get settled in and explore our surroundings. Now for the photos:

My two hams got a little impatient with the parents while having dinner at The Lodge Cafe. They finished their dining waaayyyy before we did and began looking for ways to entertain themselves. So they began posing. I did not initially have my camera ready, but I was compelled to bring it out of hiding after seeing this. Papa Bear calls this pose "la piété".

Here's my family of ducks heading toward the Tartan Restauraunt near Grandfather Mountain. We were inspired by the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games taking place this weekend. Papa Bear almost changed his mind when he discovered there were no adult beverages included in the fare. He decided to stay once we told him he could have the afternoon off while we explored Grandfather Mountain.

This is Lizzy on the Mile High Swinging Bridge. It is Mile High only in that is how high it is from sea level.

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This is the view from the same Bridge.

Did I mention she is a drama queen?

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This isn't quite as precarious as it seems....

Poppie was right there to protect Baby Bear.

Baby Bear took this one. I was trying to leave it out...but he insisted I show his work too.

Here's Lizzy, T'ai T'ai, Baby Bear & Poppie. There is some evidence that it was chilly and windy on this fine July afternoon.

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Grandfather Mountain has an animal habitat. This bald eagle was wounded by a gunshot. We also got to see this lazy bear.

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Going home, we opted for a known paved route. Forty minutes after heading toward Blowing Rock and winding a short and dizzying way through the Blue Ridge Parkway, we passed that same mountain road we opted to forgo. We realized it really was a shortcut. Two thing that will be missed back home in Charleston is the relief from the heat and all of the beautiful mountain laurel growing along the side of the roads. Of course, Poppie and T'ai T'ai are always missed.


Editfish said...

Sounds like all of you had a great time. Glad you're back safe & sound.


Joan said...

Oh, it looks so deliciously cool! Great pictures.

Jane said...

Hi Lisa,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Banner Elk to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!