We finally took a vacation — a real vacation. No Internet, no e-mail, no cell-phone. And we didn’t have to go very far. We went down to the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina to Lake Lure and rented a lake house for a week. It was a nice and quaint little place — 2 bedrooms, 2 bath. And we did a bunch of stuff around the Lake and in the area. We went and visted the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville one day (actually we did it on two days — the first day we went was a Monday and apparently they were closed that day. So we came back on Thursday). We went up to Chimney Rock and did the climb up the Chimney and then the Hickory Nut Gorge Trail leading to the bottom of Hickory Nut Falls. Unfortunately the Skyline trail and the Cliff trail were closed. Not sure why but I heard the next day while in Chimney Rock Village that it was due to someone falling from the Skyline trail. As I understand it a small child back in May slipped under the railing on the skyline trail and fell to his death. Very sad. Anyway I would be remiss if I didn’t include some pictures from the jaunt to Chimney Rock.

Other things that we did in Western North Carolina include going to the Linville Caverns, Gem Mountain, the original Mast General Store in Hendersonville, as well as the Mineral and Lapidary Museum in Hendersonville. Overall it was a great trip and we enjoyed it very much.

On the way back we took the Blue Ridge Parkway for part of the way north. We entered the parkway at Asheville (although we then had to take quite a detour in order to get around a part of the Parkway that was washed out) and then caught it again at mile 345. We followed it until we got to Linville Falls where we stopped for a while to go and see the top of the falls. They were awesome. I highly recommend that if you’re ever that way you should see the falls. Here are some pictures of the Linville Falls.

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On the whole, I really needed to get out of the city and away from the constant e-mail and cell-phone calls from work. It was wonderful to wake up to the cool weather on Lake Lure and to sit and have coffee knowing that I could not “get online” and check e-mail. Of course, the downside is that I am catching up on work now…but that’s a small price to pay.