I knew that the Blue Ridge Mountains (or simply known as “the mountains”) of North Carolina were beautiful. Any photo I’ve ever seen of the area displays its obvious beauty. 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 instead!
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 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 so much about it from the private road their house was on, the wood detailing, and the creek that ran 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.
Indulge in Great Food
Naturally if it’s grey and rainy outside your body’s going to crave some comfort food inside. This is especially perfect if you arrive to the area and it’s time for lunch. We arrived around 2:30pm and were hungry so we quickly went to The Local, recommended by some friends. 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.
Spoil Yourself with a Hearty Breakfast
I was very much looking forward to breakfast; 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!) before heading out for the day.
Take a Drive
We had a feeling adventure was literally around the corner from the cute little “downtown” area of Boone. We decided to drive the opposite way we entered town, instead of the way we came to the area on our initial drive from Raleigh. This was very wise of us as it 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. Don’t be afraid to safely park and get out of the car if the weather isn’t too bad.
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 height of the trees, complete with a beautiful brown pine needle carpet. It was perfect. Doesn’t the scene remind you of the book and film, “Where the Wild Things Are”?
Relax and Spend the Evening In
Don’t pressure yourself to plan out your entire evening. If you have dinner in town allow yourself to take it easy that night. We popped some popcorn and watched TV, something two small business owners rarely do. The coziness of the forest environment had us smiling ear to ear and we were eager to get a great night’s rest to wake up in the morning for more activities.
Mine for Gems
Total nerd alert: Heather and I forged an even stronger bond in our friendship when we realized we had a rare thing in common: our lifelong love of gemstones. We were (and still are) both very into them.
This was a fantastic 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. It’s such a fun experience.
You find gems within a bucket of dirt you sift through flowing water. The staff there helps you identify what you’ve found that are gems and what you’ve found that is simply gravel. Some gems we were lucky enough to get were rubies, sapphires, apatite, tiger’s eye, and jasper.
I’m still glowing about this activity. It was perfect to do in the morning because fog is usually stronger in the morning. If it’s misty while you’re in the area too, engage in this activity in the morning, giving the fog a chance to lift. Then continue the rest of your day with other outdoor activities if you wish.
Take a Tour at Linville Caverns
We definitely wanted 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 and signing up for the next available tour.
Isn’t it all so cool? It was $8 for a 20 to 30 minute tour. Also, it’s worth noting because we went after fall’s Daylight Savings Time we were competing with an early sunset. So be aware of this if you’re there during fall too and plan your stops accordingly.
Enjoy a Wine Tasting
Linville Falls Winery, isn’t too far from the caverns. The staff was so nice there and for $9 we had a flight of nine interesting wines. It was a great place to relax, enjoy some delicious vino and have a light snack.
Check Out Linville Falls
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. And yes, it was raining when we went. Just be careful, watch your step and lookout for mud and puddles and you’ll be fine!
We saw the falls from two vantage points:
1) Close up (or what I’m calling the “back” of the falls)
2) From more of a distance (or what I am calling the “front” of the falls), about .30 miles away from the close up view
We arrived around 3:30pm and were out by 4:45pm, about 15-20 minutes before sunset. PERFECT! It isn’t ideal, perhaps, to do this if it’s raining heavily however it was misting and chilly when we visited. We didn’t mind. Simply proceed with cautious if it’s at all wet because 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, an intriguing store on King Street, the city’s main street downtown, with three floors of assorted art. I highly recommend it! Whether you’re looking for jewelry, vintage signs or beautiful art it has a little of everything.
Take a Photo Walk
Don’t be too bummed if it’s raining most of your trip. There’s likely to be a day when it’s less rainy than others. If that’s the case, throw on a jacket, grab an umbrella and take a short walk with your camera in hand. (Be sure to bring a protective bag of some sort to store it in between shots as you walk in the rain.)
For more activities in North Carolina check out:
- Hiking Near Morganton NC: Refresh Outdoors in Burke County
- Self-Guided Breweries Tour in Winston-Salem
- Top Spots to Indulge in Asheville’s Brews and Art Views
What’s your favorite thing to do in a new city on a rainy day?