I am not sure how many times we have been to Looking Glass Falls but it is quite a few. Mostly because it is so easy to access. Situated right next to the road you don't even need to walk to view it. But, climb done the stairs for an even better view.
We are always looking for things to do in western North Carolina. We had driven by the sign for the Pisgah Astronomical Research Center (PARI) several times and today we decided to tour the facility. PARI used to be the east coast satellite and manned space flight communications station for NASA back in the 1960's and 1970's. In 1981 the Rosman Tracking Station facility was turned over to the Department of Defense for satellite data collection. The facility was closed in 1995. PARI purchased the 200-acre campus in 1999.
Did you know there is actually a blowing rock in the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina? The attraction was opened in 1933. They say if you cast small objects off of it on a windy day they will get blown right back to you. It has to do with the way the wind is channeled through the bluffs around it. It wasn't windy enough for us to try on the day of our visit but we still enjoyed the views from the walkways and observation platform.
Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is a magical place. It can be beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. Grandfather Mountain is probably most famous for its "Mile High Suspension Bridge". If you are scared of heights it can be most intimidating to cross the swaying bridge. On our trip the winds, 30 mph gusting to 45, were making the bridge sing! We giggled so hard as we tried just to stand up straight.
We had some time to kill so we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway to visit Graveyard Fields and the Lower Falls. Contrary to the name there is no graveyard here. The area was named after the area was clear-cut for logging and all the tree stumps resembled tombstones. Gaining access to the Lower Falls is easy as long as you don't mind stairs. The trail is mostly paved with a good number of well maintained stairs and a short bridge. The area is very beautiful and worth a stop.
We often drive down the "Business" designations of routes to see where roads used to go before bypassing towns. Our road trip down U.S. Route 74 (BUS) in Shelby, North Carolina led us to discovering the carrousel at Shelby's City Park.