Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dispatches from the Blue Ridge: Part III

Today's theme was slidin' and imbibin', with more of the former than the latter.

After breakfast we headed to Hawksnest Resort and logged a couple hours of snow tubing. With 20 lanes ranging from 400 to 1,000 feet long, Hawksnest is the East's largest tubing park -- and at $22 per person you can't complain about their price, especially when you compare it to the price of a ski resort lift ticket. If you haven't been tubing before, you should give it a try. You basically sit in an inner tube and slide down a groomed lane of snow, with no talent required.

Then we headed to Banner Elk, the only one of "The Three B's" towns we had not yet visited on this trip. We drove through town and made our way to The Banner Elk Winery, where for $15 each we got to taste eight of their wines and keep the glasses. We found all of Banner Elk's wines to be good, but especially the Banner Elk White and Banner Elk Red, each of which is a simple table wine made from a blend of grapes.

Located at 4,200 feet elevation, Banner Elk is the highest winery in Eastern America -- and one of its vineyards is located at 4,900 feet, making it the highest vineyard in Eastern America. If wine is your thing, you will be interested to know that an eight-room bed and breakfast is located on site. Here is a picture I took from the winery's front porch:

It didn't snow during the day, but flakes started falling as I was unloading the car after we returned to the cabin. Right now it is 26 degrees and they are continuing to fall.

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