Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July

For our first holiday in Charlotte, my husband and I decided to get out of town and check out the North Carolina countryside. I looked online, and since I love to hike, decided to go west to the Lake Lure/Chimney Rock area and then head into Asheville.

Lake Lure turned out to be beautiful. We had lunch at La Strada Italian Bar and Grill. Even though it was 90+ degrees outside, we sat on the veranda with views of the lake and mountains. I had the Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad with this incredible sesame-honey dressing. Yum!
Grilled Chicken Oriental Salad

They look pretty comfy sitting on seat cushions.

With our tummies full, we were off to Chimney Rock Park. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. When I think of hiking, I picture Rocky Mountain National Park with remote trails. This was a little more touristy with staircases and an elevator instead of switchbacks. 

View of Lake Lure from Chimney Rock

Never-the-less, it was pretty. Of course, with the heat and humidity, we were sweating like pigs. My husband was less than excited about all of this "back to nature" stuff. He reminded me of our children when they were young and forced to hit the trail. He whined a bit but placated me. We ended the torture session with an ice cream cone. He was appeased. We continued on our way to Asheville. We had no idea what to expect, since we hadn't done our homework. Mike had read something about the Grove Park Inn. It's a beautiful resort that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's rated as one of the top five spa resorts in the country.
The Grove Park Inn

Being the holiday, the restaurants were booked, so we had a couple of appetizers in the bar and then headed back to Charlotte. At one point, we came upon what, at first glance, appeared to be a major pile-up. Cars were in the ditches on both sides of the highway with people milling about. But no accident was apparent. It was the town's folk waiting to view the fireworks....hmmm...seems a bit dangerous to me, but this must be North Carolina!* All in all, it was a good day. We're enjoying exploring our new environment. My husband says our new adventure will keep us young...either that or give us gray hair.

*We have friends who were missionaries in Africa, and when anything strange would happen over there, they'd say, "TIA" meaning "This is Africa." I'll be doing a post soon about the strange things in Charlotte.)

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