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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Craggy Gardens


In June of 2007, George and I went on our anniversary trip to Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown. As we do on most all of our trips, we stop along the way searching out new waterfalls and/or scenic areas. One of the first places we stopped on our way to Williamsburg was Craggy Gardens. This is one of the most scenic areas in Western North Carolina, just north of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


The Great Craggy Mountains are an area of exposed rock surfaces and high peaks that provide breathtaking views of distant southern Appalachian ridges. Large expanses of native rhododendron cover the slopes and summits of the Craggies. In mid-June, pink and purple blooms of Catawba rhododendron cover the Craggies. Throughout the summer, smaller native wildflowers cover the ground with vibrant splashes of color. These natural garden meadows are "balds."


They say that mid to late June is usually prime time for viewing the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron that blanket much of the Craggies. We were there on June 18---and missed the 'peak' by about a week. BUT--we still saw some gorgeous blooms. Elevation at Craggy Gardens is about 5900 feet---and it was cool, even on a Summer day. While there, we took a 1.5 mile easy hike, called the Craggy Pinnacle. This hike led us through a 'tunnel' of rhododendrons to the summit. Here are some of our pictures taken that day at Craggy Gardens. Above is a photo of some of the rhododendron blooms. Below are other pictures. Be sure to click on the pictures for a better look.







Above is one of the views of the mountains from Craggy Gardens.







George --standing in front of one of the large Rhododendrons







A close-up of the gorgeous Rhododendron blossoms







A picture of me --in front of more of the Rhododendrons







And finally, here's one more photo of the gorgeous view from Craggy Gardens. We highly recommend this beautiful place at Milepost 364.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hugs,

45 comments:

Cedar ... said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary! That closeup shot of the Rhody is worth of being on a greeting card or in a magazine ... lovely!

Kallen305 said...

Sounds like my kind of trip. The flowers are just lovely. How I miss all of that green!

Jayne said...

What a beautiful spot Betsy! Thanks for sharing it on this cold dreary day. :c)

CountryDreaming said...

From your description, it sounds like I've driven by this place, but its taking me some effort to recognize. The Blue Ridge Parkway seems to change its looks greatly according to season, weather conditions, time of day, or even luck based on when you happen to show up. You certainly visited on a gorgeous day with all the rhododendron and came away with excellent shots.

jlshall said...

What amazing flowers! I can't believe the "peak" could have been much more gorgeous. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

Shellmo said...

Gorgeous photos - especially that last one! It should be framed! Craggy gardens looks beautiful. You and George have traveled so many places! Do you have a map with pushpins showing all the places you've been??? :)

The Incredible Woody said...

Absolutely beautiful!!

Darla said...

Ya'll are cute, cute, cute. Beautiful photos.

Mary said...

It looks like a beautiful place! I love rhododendrons.Always so pretty.

Judy said...

This must be a beautiful place because you are not the first blogger I have read that wrote about it. My friend Beth at http://blueridgebluecollargirl.wordpress.com/ loves it. If you go to her blog and click on roadtrips under the categories, you will see several posts about how she loves it and so did her mother. Your pictures are wonderful.

Susie said...

These are such beautiful pictures Betsy. How I wish I was there right now. Of course, it probably wouldn't be that pretty!

Diane C. said...

Splendid pictures of your anniversary trip! Those rhododendrons are beautiful blanketing the Craggies like that.

amelia said...

What a beautiful place!!

Thats's one thing I miss about living in England, are the lovely public gardens. Even in the woods the rhododendrons are huge over there.

karin said...

Oh what a lovely, lovely area! Your photos again reveal the beauty. I enjoy the rhododendrons. Seems to me I have some pics of some really deep colored ones from the time we lived in MA. Maybe on the week-end I'll go through some memory boxes. Thanks for sharing your trips!

Busy Bee Suz said...

How pretty....not sure how one week prior could have been ANY more gorgeous!!! :)

Peggy said...

Now you are visiting my old stomping grounds! LOL I was born and raised in Brevard. We would go to Craggy Gardens alot for hikes and picnics. Such beautiful colors and scents. I like taking the grands there when I can.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

What a beautiful place! Your photos are excellent, Betsy. I love those mountain views.

Daisy said...

Such gorgeous photos, Betsy! I love the rhododendrons! :D

Deborah Godin said...

Such beauty! I don't remember if I mentioned this to you before, but my parents had thought of retiring down around there (Ishould get out my Atlas) in Gatlinburg (berg?). They went there once, fell in love with the country, climate, and people. Unfortunately, they didn't make it there, but I always have nice thoughts about it from what they told me.

Patty said...

Oh Besty what wonderful photos. That really looks like a beautiful area. My ex and I went to TN via NC just once in all the years we traveled from there to VA..I really need to put this on my list of places to visit someday.
Thanks for sharing

Mildred said...

Such pretty pictures. The views are spectacular.

Dianne said...

What beautiful scenery! We have rohdodendrums in AZ as well...did I spell that right? I'm in a fog today (what's new?).

Smilingsal said...

That's another gorgeous place you've visited.

Rosa said...

So pretty!!!!

Clara....in TN said...

I first read about Craggy Gardens over at Beth's blue Ridge Blue Collar girl. I want to go there. it really isn't that far away from where I live....

mountain.mama said...

Oh I love rhododendrons and the Blue Ridge Parkway, thanks for posting!

Tootie said...

The parts of NC that I have seen are beautiful, but I hadn't heard of that place. Thanks for sharing! :-)

Rose said...

Beautiful, Betsy...makes me long for home.

Beth said...

Hi, Betsy---thanks so much for your visit to my blog! This is a wonderful post about Craggy Gardens...and your photographs are so lovely. It is a place that is very special to me---I feel the spirit and presence of my Mama almost every time I go. I also enjoyed so much your posts about New Orleans. You are fortunate to have visited and lived in so many places! I love your bird shots, too! Beautiful!

Wren said...

The Blue Ridge mountains are lovely. I spent some time in Williamsburg, but always traveled there from the north, so never saw this.

beautiful said...

Beautiful blooms. Love the mountains, too

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I can almost hear the waterfalls in the background!

Bird Girl said...

I'll tell you - that is gorgeous country! It so reminds me of Grandfather's Mountain! Have you been there? It's in western NC!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Very lovely.The scenery is breathtaking.
Blessings,Ruth

Diane said...

Hi Betsy, It's so interesting to see shots of your trips to places in your part of the world. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

Diane said...

Hi, Betsy, This looks like a wonderful place to go on a trip. Seems like it would be so restful.

Small City Scenes said...

What a wonderful trip you all had. Hey, don't we have a beautiful country? Something beautiful everywhere you go. rhododendrons are the state flower of Washington and one is native.

Beautiful pictures. MB

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Thanks for going to Craggy Gardens with us. We do highly recommend it during any season --but especially in mid June!!!!! GORGEOUS!!!!

Have a great day tomorrow!
Hugs,
Betsy

ramblingwoods.com said...

I don't think there are two happier people spending time together than you and George..You two make me smile... Michelle

Natural Moments said...

Hi Betsy,

I remembered those flowering tunnels when I had the pleasure of hiking the Appalachian Trail. They were absolutely beautiful, just as your photos are.

Stacey and I just returned from California, but just temporarily. We have decided to do some long distance hiking for the summer. I didn't end up getting any photos at all, because my laptop crashed and I lost all of my photos that I took since Christmas. So I have actually have lost some of the passion I once had for taking wildlife photos. We will probably take a lot of landscape photos this spring and summer then though.

Leedra said...

The Rhododendron are like this in far NE corner of North Carolina. I saw them at their peak about 30 years ago. I have always wanted to return and have never hit it right yet. You make me want to do it this year.

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dot said...

I love those mountain views! When I think of you and Georgia I think of the song
I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
'Cross the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel, I've had my share, man
I know some place you haven't been
I've been everywhere

lola said...

Betsy, that is some of the most beautiful views. We have been there & some other places on the Blue Ridge.
My poor old heart longs for one more look-see of all the places the we went together. I sure do miss him & the things we use to do.
Smokey Mtns, Blue Ridge or Tn side---all will tug at you heart.

Jerry in Tampa said...

I love the scenery and you and George look great! Lots to be thankful for!
Keep those pictures coming!!!
Keep the snow up there too.....

Cheers:-))

Jerry in Tampa

Linda said...

Lovely! I saw them in bloom years ago, hope to do it again.