Monday, June 19, 2006

They Call Me The Wanderer, Part II: Boone

While visiting in North Carolina recently, I requested that we venture out to the mountains. I quite like looking at the scenery, and mountains provide quite the change of pace for a flatlander such as myself. I spent my entire childhood and young adult life in The Prairie State, after all.

So, we went to Boone, North Carolina. It is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains near the northwestern tip of the state. Quite fittingly, it is home to Appalachian State University, which can be seen in the background here. I found it very interesting to see a city stuck right in the middle of the mountains. It really makes for an interesting mix; shops and businesses with scenic trees and mountains in the background. In the majority of places I've been (especially the Midwest), you're either in "town" or the "country". Where I grew up, people actually said "I'm going to go in to town, do you want anything while I'm there"! But Boone seems like both at the same time.

The town also manages to be both quaint and modern at the same time. They have a General Store that's been running since 1883, selling everything from clothing to candy. As seen in the picture, they have an impressive selection of candy. And that picture only shows a portion of it all. I've never seen so much candy in a non-specialty store before. [Surprisingly, I resisted buying any.]

These types of stores are mixed in with college-kid friendly shops like Espresso News/Mosaic Books and hipster music stores. We went to Espresso News and had some tasty coffee while browsing their extensive magazine selection, and then went up to the book store to look around. We overheard an amusing group of college-aged girls complaining about club bouncers. [Apparently they aren't very good at doing math to determine if someone is of age, and it's a HUGE problem. I was completely unaware.]

The funkiness of Boone was clear to me when we went into Grapevine Music, a new and used music store. In addition to having a lot of great music, this sign was posted inside. It reads:
"We accept new and used vinyl
- CA$H or CREDIT -
Kenny Loggins
The 5th Dimension
Sndtrk to Godspell
Gordon Lightfoot
Carly Simon
Barbra Streisand
Seals & Crofts
Dan Fogelberg
Neil Diamond
Chuck Mangione
Jackson Browne
*We will take some Billy Joel and Elton John -BUT WE'RE NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT-*"

Even though I'm a full-blown Yankee, the music snob in me felt at home. I am beyond amused that they were overwhelmed with enough music they didn't like/want to make a sign banning the artists.

Though Boone is very scenic, we also wanted to see more of the Appalachian Mountains. So, we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit, stopping to take pictures along the way. The National Park Service maintained highway winds through the mountains with overlooks, camping grounds and a few hiking trails along the way. It is a nice laid back, beautiful drive.

The highway is also quite an engineering marvel. I can't imagine building these roads so high up in the mountains.

As we climbed further, we encountered some residences, which prompted me to say: "People actually live up here?" And that prompted laughs at my obvious Midwesterness.

Both needing to go to the bathroom and wanting a change from the driving, we stopped at Linville Falls. After a short hike on a reasonable trail, we reached a lovely overlook of the falls prime for picture taking:

I'm not always the happiest of hikers, but when it pays off in a view like this, it's quite worth it.

Boone served as a good introduction to the mountains. An interesting town, and beautiful scenery.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a rockin' time. Miss you babe.

7:07 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Lis said...

I'm glad you took teh scenic way.. pretty pics, make me excited to go to the woods this weekend. and YAY FOR MUSIC SNOBBERY

we need to start a store and then ban bad music!

4:51 PM, June 20, 2006  

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