I knew that the Blue Ridge Mountains (or “the mountains”) of North Carolina were beautiful from any photo I’ve ever seen of the area. I received an invitation to stay at a cabin in the woods of Boone and I anxiously accepted! A friend and I aimed to see some fall foliage during an October stay, but little did we know we’d need a list of what to do on a rainy day there! Here’s What to do on a Rainy Day in Boone, North Carolina.
I photographed a couple’s romantic wedding in Durham. In lieu of a monetary tip they offered a stay at their family’s home just a few hours drive from where we lived. They must have known I love to travel and would jump at the chance to take a vacation there. My friend Heather and I hit the road for the three hour trip from downtown Raleigh and about 48 hours in the area. It was misty and grey with a touch of fog and rain everyday but we certainly made the best of it.
Enjoy Your Accommodations
We stayed in the cutest, quaintest cabin in the woods and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was our little cozy zone in the misty weather of the fall season. We loved the siding of the homes along the private road their house was on, the wood detailing, and the creek that rain behind the house. Whatever birds live in that adorable birdhouse on their back porch have a great view of the water that runs alongside the property.
Naturally if it’s grey and rainy and you’re hungry the perfect thing to do is get a bit to eat and some beer. We arrived around 2:30pm and were hungry so we quickly went to The Local, a family recommendation. We stumbled on this really beautiful wall when we were walking from the car to the restaurant so if you go be on the lookout for it! Who doesn’t love spotting street art in new cities?
I like that you can get “halfies” there instead of whole pints. I chose a stout. Everything was so delicious I reviewed The Local on Yelp.
We had a feeling adventure was literally around the corner from the cute little “downtown” area of Boone we left after lunch. Instead of the way we came we decided to go the opposite way, which kept us in the car touring the neighborhood instead of aimlessly walking in the wet climate. We ended up stumbling across my favorite scenery of the weekend. We pulled over and had a little fun with the trees in this attractive, somewhat eery, pine forest. I just LOVE the lichen on the bark and the height of it all with its beautiful carpet of brown pine needles. It’s perfect. Heather had fun foraging lichen and I crossed the street to see the misty landscape across the road. The water droplets on some branches was screaming for a photograph! Doesn’t the scene remind you of the book and film, “Where the Wild Things Are”?
We decided to take it easy that night. We popped some popcorn and watched TV…something two small business owners rarely do. We couldn’t resist doing some work, but it was mostly relaxation for the night with a plan to wake up early the next day.
The next morning we were giddy; we had looked up the best breakfast in town and found it at Melanie’s Food Fantasy (also reviewed on Yelp here). We gobbled down some grits, pancakes and soysauge (we loved that they had gluten free and vegetarian options!) and then off to…wait for it…GEM MINING! Okay, total nerd alert: Heather and I forged an even stronger bond in friendship when we realized we had a rare thing in common: our lifelong love of gems. We were (and still are) both very into them.
This was a great activity for a misty day. We went to Foggy Mountain Gem Mine around 10:30am (tip: they have 10% off coupons on the tourist maps of Boone in hotels) and spent just under $30 for a little over an hour of pure fun. Some may call us nerdy or odd but truly it’s such a fun experience. The staff there helps you identify what you’ve found after you get the gems out of some dirt you sift in flowing water. You differentiate which ones are treasure and which ones are just gravel. Some gems we found included rubies, sapphires, apatite, tiger’s eye, and jasper. I’m still glowing about this activity. It was perfect to do in the morning as well because fog is usually stronger in the morning – thus, if that’s the case while you’re in the Blue Ridge Mountains engage in a morning activity giving the fog a chance to lift. Then continue the rest of your day with other outdoor activities if you wish.
Our next outdoor/indoor activity was to check out Linville Caverns. The scenery surrounding this area was the prettiest we saw all weekend. (We probably got to the area just after peak fall foliage but our schedules didn’t allow us to visit earlier.) We enjoyed taking photos of ourselves amidst the yellows and oranges of the season.
We scheduled ourselves on the next cavern tour after our arrival. Isn’t it all so cool? It was $8 for a 20 to 30 minute tour. The timing was just right – we had other things on our to do list for the day. Also, it’s worth noting because we went after fall’s Daylight Savings Time we were competing with an early sunset.
Enjoy a Winery’s Tasting Room
Next up on the tour: Linville Falls Winery, not too far from the caverns. The staff was so nice there and for $9 we had a flight of nine interesting wines. I reviewed the winery on Yelp too! We managed to not have lunch that day (we just never really found anywhere to eat and before we knew it lunch plans had become early dinner plans) so stopping for some vino and palette-cleansing crackers between wines did the trick. We even spotted a Christmas tree farm behind the barn. (Those poor trees don’t know what’s coming to them, come holiday time…)
Right after our tasting we took a five minute drive to visit Linville Falls before sunset. It’s a park with wonderful trails and waterfalls. We saw the falls from two vantage points: 1) close up (or what I’m calling the “back” of the falls) then about .30 miles away we saw them 2) from more of a distance (or what I am calling the “front” of the falls). We arrived around 3:30pm and were out by 4:45pm, about 15-20 minutes before sunset. PERFECT! It perhaps isn’t ideal to do this if it’s raining heavily however it was misting and chilly when we visited and we didn’t mind. Simply be cautious if that’s the case as it gets muddy and slippery in some spots of the trails.
Visit Art Galleries
We got back to Boone about 40 minutes after we left Linville Falls. We checked out Artwalk, a cool store on King Street, the city’s main downtown street, with its three floors of assorted art.
Dine Again…and Again!
Misty weather will make you crave comfort food. We enjoyed an early dinner of delicious Thai food at Cha Da Thai, off King Street. We highly recommend it! Afterwards it was back to the cabin to rest up for an early morning.
Here’s our morning view just before we ventured for a quick walk along the creek before heading back east to Raleigh…
For more activities in North Carolina check out:
- Essential First Visit Guide for Ocracoke Island
- Incredible Downtown Durham Staycation Schedule
- 10 Reasons We Love 21c Museum Hotel in Durham