Day Trips

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March 21, 2022 by Scott Crosby - Views: 75

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Day Trips

Looking for places to go?  Places to see?  Things to do?  Are you new to the area, and just learning your way around?  Want to get out for a while?  See the sights?

The Upstate of South Carolina, western North Carolina, and northern Georgia include enough places worth visiting to keep you busy for a long time.  Every one can be classified as a Day Trip, starting out from the Golden Strip:  start early, have a good time, and get home by day’s end, with no overnight stays, no suitcases, and no motels.  

And now with April just around the corner, a lot of places that close down for the winter will be opening back up.  They are a lot of fun.  Don’t miss them.

S286-1.jpgThe Blue Ridge Parkway

Day Trips One, Two and Three all involve an enjoyable drive along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway (speed limit 45!), but the they include very different destinations.  Each deserves its own Day Trip.  Bring your camera along; you will be glad you did.

 Day Trip One 

Day Trip One includes a great lunch at the Pisgah Inn.  The Inn is open April through October.  Call ahead to make reservations, and give yourself an hour and a half to get there.  

Begin by taking US 25 north from Greenville, a very scenic ride all by itself, until it meets I-26; keep heading north.  Alternatively, use I-85 North, until it meets I-26; take I-26 North from there.  Both routes take about the same amount of time, but US 25 has the edge on scenic vistas.

Exit from I-26 at Long Shoals Road, turn left, then right at the next light, right again at the stop sign, and then left to get onto the Parkway.  Alternatively, exit I-26 at Brevard Road, turn left, and go until you see the right turn onto the Parkway.  At the Parkway, turn right, to head west.

Enjoy the scenic drive.  You will reach the Pisgah Inn about twenty minutes later.  

When leaving, return the way you came.  Or, for a slower but very scenic way home with lots of curves, head west from the Inn, and continue on the Parkway to the next exit; then turn left onto US 276.  Follow it down through Brevard (don’t miss the two left-hand turns it takes in Brevard), past Caesar’s Head and through Travelers Rest.

Day Trip Two 

Day Trip Two begins with the same route, until you reach the Parkway:  instead of heading west, turn left, to go east.  Keep going until you see the signs for Mount Mitchell.  Head up to the parking lot, and then walk up the paved path to the lookout platform at the mountain’s top.  The views are worth the exercise.

Mount Mitchell is the highest point in all of North America east of the Rocky Mountains.  Bring a jacket; it can be breezy and chilly.  Snow has fallen on Mount Mitchell even in summertime.

Heading home, just go back the way you came.  If you prefer a slower, more relaxed drive home than using I-26, turn off the Parkway onto NC 9.  Follow it through Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure, until you reach Mill Spring.  Then turn right, and follow the signs – to I-26, or to continue at a more relaxed pace, continue through Columbus to Tryon and Landrum; then head for home on SC 14 South.

Day Trip Three 

Day Trip Three is great for motorcyclists or anyone who loves a curvy road.  Take US 276 out of Greenville through Travelers Rest.  Stay with US 276 when it turns right, leaving SC 11.  Eventually, Caesars Head will appear on your left; stop for a break and to see the view.  Then continue through Brevard, and through the Pisgah Forest to the Parkway.  Go west on the Parkway, to the next exit, at NC 215, and come back southwards.  From NC 215 turn east on US 64 and then turn right at the sign into Rosman, and stay on US 178 back to Pickens.

A shorter version of Day Trip Three includes going only as far as Brevard, then turning left onto US 64 West.  You will see the sign for Rosman after about ten miles.  Turn left, and follow US 178 to return through Pickens.  

Long version or short, stopping at Caesars Head to stretch your legs is a good idea.  On a clear, sunny day, you can see Table Rock, and beyond.

The shorter version allows extra time to visit the shops in downtown Brevard – most especially, O P Taylor’s toy store at the junction of Main Street and Broad Street.  Several other shops within a block or two of that location will also attract your attention, including the Main Street Limited shop, the White Squirrel Shoppe, and the Red Wolf Gallery artisans’ shop.

Day Trip Four

Day Trip Four:  speaking of Bat Cave, Lake Lure, and Chimney Rock, they make a great Day Trip all by themselves.  The easiest directions:  get on I-26 North and follow the signs.  

Kids and adults will enjoy the ride up to the lookout on Chimney Rock.  The Chimney Rock – Lake Lure area  includes a number of places to go for lunch, including Medina’s Village Bistro in Chimney Rock, and Tree Tops Dining Room in Lake Lure (if open), which has good buffet meals.  The area is a popular destination; making lunch reservations before you go can be a good idea.  Walking along all the little shops in Chimney Rock after lunch will let you discover fun souvenirs for kids and for adults.

S286-3.jpgAs you leave Chimney Rock headed east for Lake Lure, stop at the Flowering Bridge, on your left.  Once an old highway bridge, it now supports a very artistic setting for a wide variety of flowers, plants, and fun props!

Day Trip Five

Day Trip Five is closer to home.  Schedule this one sometime between April and September.  Drive up US 25 past Travelers Rest.  Go under the only bridge after T.R., where SC 11 crosses overhead.  Just past it, take the right turnoff, onto Old US 25.  It has a few curves, then goes arrow-straight, until curving left to go past the North Greenville Reservoir.  You will see the signs for No Stopping, and sometimes you can just see the water off to your right through the trees – but be careful:  the road is full of lots of sharp curves, and bicyclists are omnipresent.  Once along the reservoir, there are no turns until a right turn appears, onto Mountain Page Road.  Take that, and enjoy the scenic drive as the road snakes through some beautiful forest and hilly countryside, straight into downtown Saluda.  

S286-2.jpgPark on the right, just before you reach the railroad tracks.  A good place for lunch is the Purple Onion; don’t miss their desserts!  

After lunch, take a walk up and down Main Street / US 176 to see a good many enjoyable shops.  Be sure not to miss the Saluda Historic Depot and Museum at the west end, a favorite place for kids of all ages, and the shops nearby.  The shops at the east end, across the street from the bank, include some ladies’ clothing stores, and don’t miss the Heartwood Galleries shop along the way.  

Day Trip Six 

Day Trip Six is the stores and shops of downtown Hendersonville.  Get there by heading north on US 25.  Once in North Carolina, take the NC 225 exit, and turn left.  Enjoy the scenic drive through Flat Rock, and then just stay on the road as it becomes Hendersonville’s Main Street.  Find a place to park near the 400 block of North Main, and enjoy the shopping.  There are several places to go for lunch, both on Main Street and on side streets, depending on what strikes your fancy.  

Petting a Tyrannosaur

Book lovers:  don’t miss the Village Green Antique Mall, at 424 North Main.  Find the small, inconspicuous staircase inside of the store on the right, and climb it to a book-lovers’ Heaven – its shelves include quite a few first editions.  Bet you can’t buy just one!  

Another surprise can be found at the Mineral and Lapidary Museum, at 400 North Main.  The little basement store can be reached on 4th Avenue East is a treat by itself, for both kids and adults.  Get your picture taken with the resident Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, and buy yourself a piece of Iron Pyrite – Fools’ Gold – that looks as good as the real stuff!  Minerals, fossils, and old arrow-heads are all for sale; something there will pique your interest, and make a good souvenir.

If you have time during your visit to Hendersonville, a side trip to Jump Off Rock is just a few minutes away, and provides a great view of the Smokies and photo-op.

Day Trip Seven

Day Trip Seven takes you down I-85 South, to the Outlet Stores at the Commerce, Georgia exit.  For those enjoy shopping at Outlets, there is no better destination.

Day Trip Eight 

Day Trip Eight is for the big-city shoppers:  Lennox Mall.  Go down I-85 South into Atlanta, and exit at Lennox Road NE, turning right.  Stay on that road until you see the Lennox Mall on your left, surrounded by its own parking lot.  This large mall is a shop-til-you-drop super-shoppers’ delight.  

There are quite a few more Day Trips that start and end in the Golden Strip.  Rest assured that each Day Trip brings with it discoveries of still more Day Trip places to go.  

Enjoy the journey, and enjoy the destination!■


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