These travelogue posts are some of my favorite to share. We decided to make two trips to North Carolina this year instead of just one in the fall. We typically only fly up for a week in the fall and then spend another week somewhere else, but we all felt the pull to spend more time in a place we love. You can't beat spring and fall in western Carolina. Check out the first few travelogues here and here.
32 Banks Ave #106, Asheville, NC 28801
We had a very early flight into Asheville—early, as in we were getting off the plane at 9:10am. So, sugar and coffee was a must for our first stop. I'll tell you, Vortex Doughnuts is just as amazing as everyone said. From the Maple Bacon doughnuts to the house Vortex Doughnut, which has locally made chocolate drizzled over the top of a sugar-raised doughnut, you really can't go wrong.
22 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803
We had planned to do a styled shoot with Mtn Merch before we left, so after breakfast we headed their way (see that post here). They have everything Asheville that you need or want and then some. Everything is locally made and they are some of the sweetest people I've ever met. We walked out with t-shirts, leather coasters, stickers and all kinds of fun stuff. You definitely have to make this a stop when you're in Asheville.
|Boots: Gianni Bini (similar)|
Cataloochee Guest Ranch
119 Ranch Drive, Maggie Valley, NC 28751
I love the ranch up at Cataloochee. Some of the best views are up on the way to the ski area and over by the ranch. Plus, you never know who's going to poke their head in the window to say, "hi". You can stay in a cabin at the range, partake in the yummiest smelling lunch buffet or just wander around soaking in the amazing views.
|NC Bangle: Isle Coast | Shotgun Shell Bangle: B&B | Sweater: Loft (similar) | Boots: Gianni Bini (similar)|
Before I left, I ordered the North Carolina bangle from Isle Coast and wore it everyday on the trip. I received so many compliments and questions about it too. Such a great statement piece, yet so classic and simple at the same time. Use the code HELLOSUNSHINE15 and Isle Coast will give you 15% off your purchase.
|Sweater: Loft (similar) | Cross-body: Vera Bradley (similar) | Jeans: Loft | Boots: Gianni Bini (similar) | Necklace: Express|
We had some very chilly weather, so it was boots, sweaters, scarves and jackets the whole week. Gianni Bini boots are my go-to because they are so comfortable for all day wear. I'm also a dedicated cross-body kind of girl on vacation because it allows me to stay hands-free the whole day.
6638 Soco Road, Maggie Valley, NC 28751
After driving by this tower several times on previous trips, we finally stopped. It's 50 cents per person to go to the top, so it was a no brainer. The views are gorgeous from the top, and I'm sure even better on a clear day.
Silver Run Falls
Directions: From U.S. Highway 64 in Cashiers, go south on N.C. Highway 107 for four miles and look for the sign and parking area on left side of road.
Hands down, Silver Run Falls is one of my favorites. I love that any time we go, we always have the place to ourselves. That's great for taking all the pictures we want and not feeling rushed. We've taken our Christmas pictures here before; it's just a great spot. Plus, if you wear rain boots, you can walk across the river to the over side for this view instead of an angled view. Just don't fall in, the water is quite cold year round, but especially the fall (speaking from experience). I slipped off a rock and my hands went in the water—let's just say I had to put on gloves and stick them up to the vents with heat blowing out to warm them back up. #onlyliveonce
|Rain Boots: Hunter | Jeans: American Eagle|
|Coordinates Necklace: Lat & Lo|
Intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and N.C. Highway 107
As a kid, my parents had a lake house in Cashiers, so it holds a special place in my heart. We always stop in for an afternoon to meander the shops, grab lunch at Slab Town Pizza and poke around the Farmer's Market. The Cornucopia is great for lunch as well. Shops we love are Highland Hiker, Nora's, and Zoller Hardware (for gift items).
|Shirt: Loft (similar) | Sweater: Target | Necklace: J.Crew Factory (similar) | Jeans: American Eagle | Rain Boots: Hunter|
Directions: From Highlands, take Highway 64 west for just over three miles from its intersection with Highway 106 (pass or stop at Bridal Veil Falls), then look for sign and parking area on left side of road.
Another great waterfall to stop for is Dry Falls. There is a paved trail down to the water, which goes behind the waterfall and around to the other side. This is one powerful waterfall and so breath-taking in person. There is no bad view, and everyone is always friendly enough to take a group photo for you. That southern hospitality is like nothing else, y'all!
Another great day or afternoon trip is Highlands. It's a great town to wander the streets and get lost a bit. Everywhere you turn is a beautiful building like the Old Edwards Inn above. Plenty of great restaurants, shops and Buck's Coffee.
Blue Ridge Parkway to N.C. Highway 128
I've never personally seen the views from the summit of Mount Mitchell because every time I go we're socked in, in the clouds and it's about 42 degrees. I've been a few times too. Whether it looks like fog or the sky is clear, it's just a beautiful place to be. There are a few trails off the main hike to the summit, there's a learning room and a gift shop as well as bathrooms. Plus, back down the mountain a bit is a great restaurant.
|Sweater: Forever 21 (similar) | Scarf: Loft (similar) | Jeans: Loft|
Sunrises in the mountains are definitely something worth seeing. Lucky enough, this view was coming in my bedroom morning as I was waking up.
733 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
If you don't take any other recommendations from me, take this one. You MUST eat at Biscuit Head in west Asheville. It is full-on hipster, so if you have a beanie throw it on before you go. The food—oh my goodness. You'll want it all, and you'll want seconds. Next time, I am absolutely trying the sake Bloody Mary.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Whether you go by motorcycle or car (I prefer motorcycle) you can't miss a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love the ride from Devil's Courthouse toward the Great Smoky Mountains, which has stops at the Highest Peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Waterrock Knob. If you go by motorcycle in the fall—layers are your friend.
|Sweater: Loft | Scarf: Target (similar) | Necklace: J.Crew Factory (similar) | Jeans: Loft | Boots: Gianni Bini|
The views from Purchase Knob are absolutely breath-taking. There are trails you can wander down and plenty of places to explore. It's not a crazy busy spot, so pack a picnic with a bottle of wine, drop your stuff and stay a while.
P.S. If you have any great western North Carolina places to share, comment below! We're always looking for new places to see and explore.
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