I must say that Covid-19 has put a damper on my international and some domestic travel plans but, I have been taking frequent road trips while practicing safety and social distancing. The original plan was to be in Las Vegas at the beginning of the month but, with everything going on I decided to keep it closer to home. My oldest daughter turned twenty-four and since we had visited the beach for Mother’s Day weekend, we decided to head to Grandfather Mountain for some much-needed Relaxation for her Birthday.
We secured a cozy mountain cabin in the woods. The Inn at Crestwood Restaurant and Spa was very accommodating. While the entire property was not operating at full capacity due to Covid-19, we made the best of it and it is my hope to return and visit while all the amenities are available. The pool, spa and restaurant were closed due to Covid-19. We received breakfast bags in the morning in lieu of the continental breakfast that is normally available to guests. I appreciate all the safety precautions.
The breakfast bags had bagels, yogurt, fruit, pastry, cereal, juice, milk, and condiments. We only needed to think about lunch and dinner. The cabin is equipped with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a sleeper sofa, full kitchen, dining area, living area, fireplace, and patio. It has a rustic feel to it and had a nice open floor plan layout. We decided to eat out on our first night since it was my daughters actual Birthday, so we headed to Makoto’s Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Boone.
It was raining on and off the entire day and all I could think about was the possibility of seeing a rainbow. I LOVE rainbows! Can you imagine a seeing a perfect rainbow in the mountains? That is like the best view. While we were driving to Makoto’s Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, we saw a rainbow across the sky, and I started to scream… LITERALLY! My wish came true. I startled everyone in the car but, they eventually got over it. I was ecstatic, that is all that mattered!
The first night in the cabin was great! We settled in after dinner and decided to celebrate my daughter’s birthday some more by playing music, party snacks with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. We cut the evening short because we were scheduled to visit Grandfather Mountain Nature Park the next day and needed to be well rested for that adventure. Our tickets were booked in advance online. Due to Covid-19 they are staggering how many people can enter the park during a given time slot.
Two O’ Clock was the sweet spot for us. We headed there immediately after lunch and by the time we got to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge there were not many people there. We drove through the park apart from parking and hiking to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge. There were so many overlooks to stop and take photos. We took EVERY photo opportunity and have some great nature photography. I am afraid of heights but, prayed my way through it and even took my son to the peak.
Social Distancing was enforced throughout the park. Only a few people could cross the Mile-High Bridge at a time. By the time we were finished there was a huge line of people waiting to cross. I am so glad we arrived when we did and avoided the crowds. We also visited the animal habitats which consisted of Eagles, Bears, Cougars, Elk and Otters. We were able to see their caretakers feed and interact with them. I was excited about the Bears because that is probably the closest, I will ever get to one.
Visiting Grandfather Mountain Nature Park was the best decision. We had a great time and I can mark it off my list of destinations to visit. It was an experience hiking up the mountain to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge. The drive was just about three hours from Durham, NC and it went by quickly. My anxiety grew as we drove up the mountain and encountered hair pin curves with no guardrail. By the end of the trip I was a pro! I honestly cannot wait to get back to the mountains.