Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blue Ridge sights, streams offer summertime diversions

Mountain flower gardens are going great guns during the wet summer of 2013
The celebration of Independence Day usually marks the dog days of summer when it comes to the Lowcountry weather patterns. The year of 2013 will be remembered for the torrential rains that fell in the Lowcountry during a ten-day period before the 4th of July. Many seek a change in topography during July as a summertime diversion, where the smoky mountains offer up stunning vistas and memorable fishing in coldwater streams. Just three exits into N.C. is the small town of Saluda, a place that understands traditions, having just celebrated the 50th anniversary of their Coon Dog Day on July 6. The town of Saluda also offers some great shopping for both antiques and arts and crafts. Good food can be found at Green River barbecue, that Saluda Grade CafĂ© and The Purple Onion restaurant. An inspirational hike to see Pearson’s Falls can offer some physical activity and a great view of a 90-foot waterfall. The 268-acre preserve is owned and maintained by the Tryon Garden Club, and is also home to numerous rare wildflowers and plants. Looking for a place to stay? Try the Orchard Inn of Saluda, which is a bed and breakfast hotel perched atop the mountain with a vista of several valleys looking back towards South Carolina. Their dining room offers gourmet cuisine and view that will leave one lingering to watch the late summer sunset. Also, a bevy of birds visit their outstanding bird feeding station including goldfinches and hummingbirds. A bit further up I-26 are several blue ribbon trout fishing streams. In Bristol, Tennessee the South Holston River offers a tailwaters fishery that is well suited to fly fishermen, who use a catch and release practice that ensures plenty of trout fishing in the future. Jon Hooper is the manager at the S. Holston River Lodge, and he can offer housing, meals and guides to any visiting anglers who wish to speed up their journey on the way to mountain trout fishing success. The panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Trail on the way north are worth the trip by themselves, reminding flatlanders of the majesty of the mountains.

To view more of my feature article on mountain destinations click on Colletonian.
SHRL manager Jon Hooper and I double-up on rainbows

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