Just in case you haven’t already picked up on a theme here, I really love the beach. And I mean I really love the beach, like borderline obsessed. But for Labor Day I knew I wanted something different. Both Mitchell and I were blessed with a rare 3 day weekend for Labor Day that I knew we had to take advantage of. Since tourists would be flocking to the beaches, and since I go to the beach at least once a week anyways, we opted for something a little different.
It’s surreal to me that a mere half day’s drive will get you from the beach to the mountains. Albeit beautiful, the picture below is what I am used to, and even an 8 hour drive wouldn’t bring you from that picture to mountains OR to the beach. Is this real life?
I knew I wanted to spend our Labor Day somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and when Mitchell agreed that a weekend relaxing in the mountains was a great idea, I immediately set off to plan, but I didn’t get very far. Maybe it’s because I was completely unfamiliar with both the area, as well as with mountain towns, but I found it difficult and overwhelming to find the perfect city for our mountain getaway weekend. There’s no guide that lists all of the cities the Parkway passes through (understandably, as that would be a long list) and I had no idea where to even start.
So, in true fashion, I procrastinated and quit thinking about it for a while. Then a few weeks later, I was trying to clean up one of my pinterest boards when I came across an attractive picture of a group of people tubing alongside a waterfall. A quick click on the picture informed me that it was taken in Bryson City, and the rest was history.
We had been to Cherokee before, which is close to Bryson City, and while we didn’t want to stay somewhere we had already been for our long weekend, we were stoked that the two towns were so close together. Cherokee happens to be home to Harrah’s casino, and there just aren’t as many casinos here in North Carolina as there are in Iowa!
We stayed at the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bryson City, not that we really had a choice, as it was the only hotel with rooms available that were less than $300 a night. I had wanted a cabin, but given that it was Labor Day weekend, we had to rent it for a minimum of 4 nights, and we’d only be staying 3. I would highly recommend looking into a cabin, as they are a little cheaper than a hotel, and most come with the same amenities. There are also ample opportunities for camping, but we didn’t want to deal with the rain if it decided to rain the entire weekend.
Our hotel ended up being in the perfect location. It was about a 5 minute drive into the actual town of Bryson City, 15 minutes from where we went white water rafting, 20 minutes to Deep Creek (where we went hiking), and also only 20 minutes to Cherokee. No matter where we would have stayed, driving would have been involved as none of these places we visited were centrally located to the other.
I find myself really frustrated by this trip. Like I mentioned before, I categorized myself as a beach girl. I foolishly thought you were one or the other. I didn’t know it was possible to love both so much. Why is this frustrating, you ask? Because now I really can’t get enough. I’m already planning a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to see the fall leaves. It’s not like I needed more inspiration to fuel my desire to travel, but I got it from this trip anyways and now I can’t quit daydreaming about all of the mountain towns I need to add to my “to visit” list, which was already so long to begin with.