Looking back on our recent trip to
In my January 6th post, I casually mentioned that downtown West Jefferson “serves up good views of Mount Jefferson and
And since I just brought up
I feel compelled to rebut some of the criticisms I read on tripadvisor about Hawksnest, the place we went snow tubing on January 7th. Most of the comments suggested that Hawksnest is unsafe or that its employees are inattentive, but based on my experiences, I think it’s safe to say those criticisms probably come from the kind of people who complain about everything.
Regarding danger, a certain amount of it is inherent to tubing. Regarding employees, Hawksnest has very attentive personnel stationed at the top and bottom of their hills. I saw them shepherd youngsters away from the hill-bottom “danger zones,” and I saw them counsel people on when and how to brake, and I heard them give useful advice about the hardest-to-access lanes.
It’s not like I am a national expert on tubing, but I have done it in Tahoe as well as here, and I have also skied, so I think my opinion is well-founded when I tell you that I felt safer at Hawksnest than I have at any other place where you pay to engage in wintry pursuits. And by the way, here is a picture we purchased the day we were there, of Sarah and me on one of their hills:
Because my January 7th post mentioned our visit to The Banner Elk Winery but said very little about their wine, I want to revisit the topic. Being a bit of a wine lover, I think it’s important to let it be known that Banner Elk, unlike many Southern vintners, does not churn out insipid crap made from easily grown muscadine grapes. Instead, they use traditional French grapes along with some French-American hybrids.
Banner Elk’s Chardonnay has an especially buttery taste and their Cabernet Sauvignon is extremely well-balanced, subordinating its tannins to its fruit flavors without sacrificing that full-bodied feel that is essential to a Cab. Meanwhile, the blends I mentioned in my earlier post are easy-drinkers that, simply by being blends, are reminiscent of the
I spent the entire fourth post in this series raving about Doc’s Rocks in Blowing Rock. I said that our mining turned up a garnet and sapphire which we were having cut, and that I would post before-and-after photos after we received the finished product. Here they are, though unfortunately, the colors are nowhere near as vivid in the photos as they are in real life:
I want to let you know that in addition to running his storefront business, Doc offers field trips on which he takes you to some of his favorite spots in the mountains and shows you how to search for gems in the wild. And if you find rose quartz at his establishment and pay him to facet and set it, he donates the revenue to various breast cancer causes. This is one merchant who absolutely earns his money.
Lastly, a correction. On January 6th I described the
I will end this series with a collage of Sarah enjoying what she called her "snow restaurant" -- which in reality was a bowl of fresh snow with fruit on top.