Exploring Craggy Gardens

Favorite stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Craggy Gardens

Craggy Gardens is one of my favorite places to explore on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’ve hiked the trails in the rain, fog, heat, and sunshine. Although it is a popular hike in June when the rhododendrons are in bloom, Craggy Gardens is enjoyable almost anytime of the year. Early spring offers low crowds, during summer the bald (a grassy mountain summit) is covered in wildflowers, and in the fall the trees are a vibrant red. Continue reading

Charleston for Nature Lovers

The Lowcountry of South Carolina is known for its natural beauty. From driftwood beaches to Cypress swamps, the region’s diverse landscape has inspired art, literature, and film.

South Carolina’s Lowcountry region encompasses the coastal land that is at or near sea level. The most convenient way to see the region is by car along Highway 17, with a side trip to Beaufort. There are several state parks along the coast. Charleston County also has an incredible network of local parks that are inexpensive to visit.

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Weekend in Brevard

The perfect weekend in the mountains of North Carolina

Two or three times a year I have to get my mountain fix. To do this, we drive 4-5 hours to the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina. Over the years we have stayed in Asheville, Little Switzerland, or somewhere else close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The small mountain town of of Brevard was recommended to us by several people, being a favorite weekend destination for a lot of Charlestonians. We had read about the movies that were filmed there (The Hunger Games, The Last of the Mohicans) and were intrigued by the many waterfalls (250!) in Transylvania County. Continue reading

California Road Trip: Marin County

Travel Tips for visiting Northern California

California is my happy place. For several months we were planning our Pacific Coast Highway roadtrip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. A large chunk of our trip was going to be in Big Sur–we booked a few nights at a lodge there (the cheapest we could find was still at $250/night) and we had all of our hikes planned for the state parks in the area. Sadly, the area was devastated by the Soberanes fire in late July that they are still battling two months later. Because of the wildfire and poor air quality, we decided to change our travel plans and go north instead. With just a few weeks to go, we had to find new places to stay and come up with a Northern California itinerary. It was part stressful and part creative problem solving! Continue reading

California Road Trip: Redwood Country

Where to go in California's Redwood Country

Our introduction to Redwood country was the Avenue of the Giants. We drove 101 north from Marin County, past suburbs and wineries as the highway narrowed and the trees closed in on us. By late afternoon, we took the exit off of 101 to drive the 31-mile Avenue of the Giants. The road is surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The only place I had to compare the park to was Muir Woods, and for me it was like being able to drive through Muir Woods. Except the trees here were even taller. Along the avenue there are lots of stop-offs along the way where you can stretch your legs, touch the trees, and walk along the giants. Continue reading