We enjoyed our overnight stay at Marion. The Tom Johnson RV Center offers a nice RV park there with a large lobby, small restaurant area, and laundry facilities, all located in a scenic area near a creek or small river.
Our next move was to Wilkesboro.
We found a C.O.E. campground that we loved, Bandit’s Roost. There weren’t that many campers in the park at any one time, and our site was toward the end. We could see the lake through the trees. We still continued to have rain most every afternoon, but the mornings were perfect. If we weren’t on the parkway, we spend the mornings from breakfast to lunch in our lawn chairs, Ron carving or reading, and I worked on my quilt block, tatted or read. We decided to stay several days. The only thing that was not so good about Wilkesboro was its distance from the Parkway. We drove at least 30 miles each time to reach the Parkway.
Our first stop was at Price Lake.
Down under the bank, a young family was fishing. I caught this photo which I love:
The 20 room, 13,000 square feet, palatial estate is a beautiful site, situated as it is atop the mountains. You approach the mansion from the side via a shaded pathway.
The owner of the estate, Cone, was a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist. He and his brother developed Cone Mills, becoming a world leader in the production of denim, earning him the title of “The Denim King”.
The manor downstairs is now the home of the Parkway Craft Center, one of five shops of the Southern Highland Craft Guild which features handmade crafts by hundreds of regional artists. Throughout the season, local artists demonstrate crafts such as quilting embroidery, weaving, pottery, glassblowing, and woodcarving on the front porch. We were there too early in the day to catch a demonstration.
The front overlooks a serene lake view below.
25 miles of carriage trails wind through the estate.
Cone’s interest in nature and conservation led him to plant extensive white pine forest s and hemlock hedges, build several lakes stocked with bass and trout, and plant a 10,000 tree apple orchard.
The original carriage house/apple barn still stands.
Inside you can see carriages and an apple cider press.
Driving on, the views were panoramic in scope.
An easy walk through the hardwood forest leads to the cascades of Falls Creek.
The trail winds along the stream, often past small ripples.
The only strenuous part of the walk is the stairway leading down to the falls, over 100 steps, and as we know, what leads down must later lead up.
Once there, the falls are worth the steps.
Then it was time for the climb back up.
The second half of the loop trail was just as scenic as the first,winding alongside the stream through the trees, rhododendron and mountain laurel.
At the parking area, there was a nice shaded picnic area, the perfect place for our lunch.
We finished the this leg of the trip at Jumpinoff Rock overlook.