After leaving Ruth & Ernie we drove to a town in Virginia just a few miles from the start of the Blue Ridge. A week in & this was the first night of our trip we had to stay in a hotel! We found good rates online & stayed in a Hampton in the first night - we hadn't stayed in one since we worked for the company & received employee rates - even booking at a discount site we paid 3x's as much as we paid as employees!
The Fall foliage wasn't as vibrant as we'd like but it was still beautiful.
Since Ray & I were newlyweds & first made this drive together we always stop at Humpback Rocks. There's a cute little farm still standing from over a century ago. The last time we went Clay was only 9 weeks old!
There was a stage set up where the girls did Addisons' dance routine.
We recreated the picture we took here three years ago. (might I mention that this time around it was 39 degrees!)
Jackson was snuggly & warm.
Beautiful views along the parkway. Such a relaxing drive!
Our second night in a hotel (Super 8 - it had great ratings but I still couldn't believe how clean it was!) was also in Virginia & very close to the Appalachian Trail (AT). We ate a cheap dinner at Wendy's & this was the candid picture I captured as everyone waited for their Frosty. I didn't tell anyone to pose & I think this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip!
Check out the guys in the background. The AT crossed the road right outside this Wendy's & these guys had been hiking south since the beginning of July!
Our room had two queen beds so we had the three oldest kids sleep across the bed together. Before Ray & I went to sleep Clay had cuddled on top of his sister. I love it.
Our second day driving the parkway we went to a little place called Mabry Mills. It's a cute old little farm with a mill. There's also a country restaurant on-site. Jackson was so tired he slept sitting up while we ate.
That night we found a fabulous cabin in Laurel Springs to stay at. We LOVED this place & wish we could have stayed there longer! It was about the same rate as our discount hotels but it had a living room with futon, equipped kitchen, bathroom, bedroom & a loft! It also came complete with a fireplace & satellite tv. The location was just secluded enough & I think this will be added to our list of favorites to visit again in the future.
Our third day, Friday, we went Gem Mining again in Little Switzerland. It was so cold this time that they had moved the gem mining inside!
Clay was less interested in the gems & much preferred the big rocks!
Next (last) stop: Asheville!