This journey is entirely dedicated to the incredible nature of North Carolina and its surrounding states. Many may wonder why it is only nature? The answer is quite simple: in today's world, there are very few things that could help us forget about our gadgets and social networks for a while. We go on this trip with the main goal of enjoying nature and having a good rest from the various information noises that accompany us in our daily lives. We are planning to drive through numerous national parks, visit the famous Appalachian mountains, as well as take a short drive along the east coast of the country, where we also have many beautiful natural places, and then plans to return to Charlotte.
Today begins our trip to North Carolina. On the first day we plan to take a little walk on arrival and solve some organizational issues, such as renting a car and checking into a hotel.
After we landed and rented a car, we still had some time left and since it was too late to go to some museum, we decided to take a little walk in a park called Marshall Park. It was very calm here, the landscape was beautiful and tidy, in the depths of the park is a small pond, inside which there is a nice fountain.
After a rather long walk we got a little tired and decided to have dinner, and then go to the hotel to rest. After a short walk through the city, we noticed the restaurant Mama Ricotta's. Here traditional Italian cuisine is being prepared. We chose classic spaghetti with carbonara sauce and lasagna.
Our plan today is to get together early in the morning and recover to the northwest. We intend to visit some of the state's largest national parks. We're going to see the incredible nature of the mountains and forests near the town of Ashville.
Today we had a lot of interesting things to do, so we woke up early, got together and went for breakfast at Amelie's French Bakery - Uptown. It was very cozy and comfortable here. We took a pack of pasta on the way, and for breakfast we wanted to try croissants, homemade cakes and local coffee.
Our first stop was an incredibly beautiful place called Grandfather Mountain, a mountain peak about six thousand feet tall and part of a chain of Appalachian mountains. We spent about an hour sightseeing and walking here to capture the spectacular scenery of the mountains and forests stretching all the way to the horizon.
We've had enough to eat and we're even a little tired, so the next stop for us should definitely be some cafe or restaurant. For our good luck, there was no problem with that in Lynville, and we almost immediately caught the Old Hampton Store and Grist Mill on the way, where great grilled meat and kebabs are cooked. I also picked up a couple of pork sandwiches to eat on the road.
After a hearty lunch, we headed southwest. After driving a little over eighty kilometers, it was decided to make a stop at Mount Mithcell State Park. It is an incredibly large nature park, and it takes a whole day to see all the beauty here. Of course, we could not afford it and limited ourselves to the least remote places, among which was a picturesque thicket, as well as the observation deck, which offers an incredible panorama.
By tonight, we had already reached the town of Ashville. There wasn't much time left, so we just decided to devote the evening exclusively to dinner at a restaurant. After driving a few blocks, we came across a nice Spanish restaurant called Cúrate. It was very cozy and comfortable. We put our trust in the canons, namely some tapas, paella and aubergines with pepper.
Today we have also planned to devote ourselves to the survey of local beauties, among which there will be several picturesque parks, we will also take a walk in the mountains. In addition, we plan to visit a historical estate surrounded by a green area.
Since we have quite a lot planned for today, it was decided to wake up a little early and go for breakfast. To save some time later, we drove to West Ashville at Biscuit Head Cafe. It serves classic breakfasts and we chose an omelette with bacon and a couple of sandwiches. We also bought some food and water for the day as most of it we were going to spend in nature.
After breakfast we headed to one of the most famous places in America, The Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore Estate was built in a style not typical of the USA: the architectural solutions implemented here are more typical of Europe with its rich and long history. The area around the main building is carefully maintained, so it's a pleasure to stroll.
Appalachian Mountains is undoubtedly one of the most important and beautiful natural sites in the USA. The length of the whole mountain range is more than two and a half thousand kilometers, many parks are located at the foot of this ridge. We drove along the Pigeon River, making several stops to capture these truly fascinating landscapes of forests and hills.
This is where we parked our car and went exploring the local hiking trails. Make sure you have comfortable clothes, enough water and food to spend a few hours in these forests.
After a long walk in nature at the end of the day we decided to devote the rest of our evening to a restaurant. For our luck, on the way we noticed Frankie's Italian Trattoria restaurant, which serves Italian cuisine. The atmosphere inside was quite friendly and cozy. We ordered ourselves spaghetti with carbonara sauce as well as lasagna. The restaurant is open every day except Sunday.
Today, our plans are to see several natural sites south of Ashville and then head back to the state capital. On that day, we plan to complete a nature survey in that area.
In the early chill of the morning, we went out for breakfast and packed all our things. After making a little hook, we found Joey's Pancake House, a quite nice and cozy breakfast café. From the name it is clear that the central dish of the menu is a variety of pancakes, among which we liked chocolate, and with blueberries.
One of the most beautiful places we met on our way was the Dupont State Forest, a huge protected area with several waterfalls, lookout points and paths. We decided to take a three-mile circular route that passes through three of the most popular waterfalls.
After a long time outdoors, as well as a fairly long drive, we were a little tired, so it was decided to make a small stop on the way to the grill bar Flat Rock Wood Room. As it turned out, we were not mistaken in the end - there was a cozy atmosphere, the menu was full of various meat dishes, we took fried sausages, as well as several burgers. There was also a wide choice of pizzas and steaks on the menu. The Flat Rock Wood Room is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
We drove back to Charlotte for a long time and as we got close to the city, we decided to take a little detour to the suburbs - McAlpine Creek & Four Mile Creek Greenways. As it turned out, it is home to some rare bird species. In some areas there is an asphalt road, somewhere unpaved, it's nice to ride a bike and just walk.
Heading home after a walk, we decided to have dinner without going to town, in a small cozy Italian restaurant Maggiano's Little Italy. In the evening there is a rather pleasant and quiet atmosphere. Among the great variety of Italian dishes we chose spaghetti with meatballs, as well as Italian sausages.
Our journey continues, and today we have plans to go to the east coast. Before that we will spend a few hours in the entertainment center, visit several historical sites, as well as visit the botanical garden.
A new day has begun, which promised to be very productive and full. We got together in the morning and set off on our way to a small Tropical Smoothie Cafe. It has a very pleasant atmosphere and cozy interior. We ordered ourselves a quesadilla with chicken, as well as several different sandwiches.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a place where you can do more than just rafting, the park offers a wide variety of activities, including climbing, rafting, downhill skiing, mountain biking and much more. If we had enough time, we could safely spend the whole day here.
The next stop on the way east for us was a very curious historical place called Old Salem. Today, any tourist who finds himself in these places, thanks to the work of specialists in reconstruction, can learn a lot about the life of the people who once founded the settlement of Bethany, and later Salem itself. The center is characterized by interesting original architecture, which can not be found anywhere else in the United States.
We walked around Salem for quite a long time, looked at its architecture and sightseeing and in the end we wanted to have a little rest and snack, for this we went to a small restaurant Sweet Potatoes. The atmosphere was very cozy here, we ordered fried wings and some salads for the second one.
We made it to a small town in Greensboro. Since we had been on the road for quite some time, it was decided to make a stop and perhaps a better place than the Greensboro Arboretum garden. There was an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity waiting for us, all areas in the garden are well maintained and tidy, many different flowers and shrubs, in general, an ideal place to take a lot of pictures.
After a rather long walk, we left Greensboro. It was already evening and we had already travelled many miles, so it was decided to stay in the small town of Chapel Hill for today. And the first thing we did here was go to Mediterranean Deli. It was clear from the name that Mediterranean cuisine was served here. We chose a Mediterranean tuna and a chicken kebab.
Our road to the east coast continues, we plan to arrive there by tonight. Various natural beauties, rivers and forests await us along the way as well. Our way is through major national parks.
We didn't get much sleep this morning, so we just needed a hearty breakfast and a cup of strong and invigorating coffee. That's why we went to a little coffee shop called The Egg & I Restaurants. Here, we found everything we needed. We ordered ourselves an omelette with bacon and vegetables, as well as a few glasses of gorgeous lattes, so no matter what, our day started well.
The first stop today is River Park North, an amazing and picturesque place in Greenville, where you can relax and take a break from the long journey and take many memorable photos. Fishing and boating are also allowed in the park. You can also have a picnic or do sports.
Our road continues, further on the plan was a snack, we went to a small seafood restaurant Mayflower Seafood Restaurant. The interior of the place was arranged very beautifully, so a very pleasant and cozy atmosphere was created. We took some crab cakes as well as a salad with shrimps.
U.S. nature includes not only a variety of forests, mountains of rivers and ponds. Sand dunes are also found here. Jockey's Ridge State Park is exactly the place where you can see this type of landscape. Also at the foot of the dunes there is a sea forest, where most of the park's flora and fauna is concentrated.
When we finished walking, it was quite late, so it was decided to go to dinner and then to the hotel. Coming back from the park, we noticed a nice seafood restaurant, where we decided to have dinner later. Among the great variety of dishes we appreciated squids the most, as well as soup with lobster. We also enjoyed the presence of live music in the evening, which created a special atmosphere at dinner.
Today's journey will take place along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. We plan to drive through some interesting historical places, to visit various parks and forests. By tonight we plan to be in Jacksonville.
A good mood in the morning is key to the success of your next trip, so the place where you spend the first hours of the day is very important. That's why we headed to a small Elements coffee house for breakfast. A friendly and polite welcome was waiting for us here. We took some cakes, muffins and, of course, a couple of glasses of cappuccino. We also had a nice ice cream to celebrate. Since the road was not so close to us, and our route is mainly outside the big cities, we decided to take food with us on the road as well.
Starting our journey six days ago, we never thought we would be able to see a place that was once the official residence of British governors in the second half of the eighteenth century. Tryon Palace & Gardens is now a very interesting place to visit: it is a historic centre for excursions, historic buildings and picturesque gardens.
Moving along the coast, we could not deny ourselves the pleasure and slightly deviated in the route to drive up to the coast and see the famous Cape Lookout Lighthouse. It's hard to describe in words how beautiful the Atlantic views are from here. We walked along the coast, climbed to the top of the lighthouse, took quite a few incredible pictures, and then moved on.
After driving a huge number of miles, we decided to have a little picnic. For a long time we were looking for a place to do it, when suddenly we were caught on the road a small coastal park Swansboro Bicentennial Park. Its territory is really small, but this was what we needed, because there is a terrace overlooking the waterways, where we can relax and have a snack with the food we took.
We eventually made it to the big city because it was already late in the day and we decided not to spend the rest of the evening on anything but dinner, so we went straight to Duck's Grille And Bar. That's where American cuisine is served. There are a lot of gourmet dishes on the menu, but we liked fried squids and steak with vegetables the most.
A trip along the Atlantic is the dream of any traveler. Along the coast there are many different beauties, including a variety of parks, beaches and historical attractions.
We got up early today and, in order not to lose a minute, went straight south. It was decided to have breakfast somewhere along the way. After a few miles, we decided to stay at the New-York Corner Deli. We had chicken fillet sandwiches and a homemade salad.
After breakfast, we arrived in the small coastal town of Mertle Beach. Here we decided to make a stop. To take a little look around, we decided to go to Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Square, which was close to the coast. There are quite a few different shops, volleyball courts, and most importantly, a pier and beach.
After leaving Mertle Beach, we headed further south. Within an hour we drove past a variety of beauties and eventually reached the small town of Georgetown, where we decided to stay for lunch. We headed to a cafe called River Room, which serves mostly seafood. We ordered ourselves some tuna sandwiches and a salad with fried shrimp.
Over the last couple of days we have not stayed as often in various parks or reserves. To interrupt this bad trend, we stopped at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. The nature here is really unique and there are many different species of birds and animals. The area of the park includes a wide variety of landscapes, including sandy beaches, sea forests, and various bodies of water with salt and fresh water.
We just couldn't get past such a beautiful place as Isle of Palms Beach. As there are an incredible number of tourists coming here every year, there are many different shops nearby. The beach itself is a pretty vast sandy beach, so even on the most visited days it is not crowded. As this place is surrounded by very beautiful views, it is also nice and easy to walk around.
After a rather long beach walk, we got a little tired and decided to go for dinner. Since we were on our way to Charleston, we decided to have dinner somewhere along the way. And as we approached the city, we noticed a nice restaurant called Tavern & Table. We had fried oysters and chicken wings and shrimps.
Today is the last full day of our journey. We're going from South Carolina back to Charlotte. On the way we will visit various historical places, interesting museums and parks.
We got up early today to get ready to pack. In front of the road went to eat at the breakfast cafe Callie's Hot Little Biscuit. The atmosphere here was very cozy and friendly. We made ourselves some cakes and sandwiches. Besides, we had a cup of strong coffee. It was also nice that here the client can choose the necessary ingredients for his cake.
We just couldn't leave Charleston without visiting the famous Fort Sumter National Monument. Since it is on the island, the tour is by boat. The tour will tell the whole story of this place in a very detailed way. Also, the boat will sail across the harbor, so you can see the fort from different angles. It was funny, we were accompanied throughout the tour by dolphins jumping out of the water about a hundred meters from the boat.
We left Charleston and went to Charlotte. The road was pretty long, and at one point we were pretty tired of the journey and decided to stop for lunch at Thirsty Fellow, a restaurant in Columbia. It makes very good pizza and we ordered ourselves pepperoni. We also had chicken wings to taste.
Since we stopped in Columbia, we couldn't help but stay to visit the South Carolina State Museum. Among the permanent exhibitions we liked the most the exhibitions of science and technology, natural history and contemporary art. Also very exciting were the exhibitions dedicated to dinosaurs and the Civil War.
There are many interesting places around Charlotte, but we decided to spend our evening in Windjammer Park. And I must say, we didn't miss it, the views of Lake Wiley are just gorgeous, we took a lot of pictures. Picnics and outdoor activities are allowed in the park itself, there are beaches and various playgrounds, but drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden here.
Having had a good time, we headed into town to have dinner and go to the hotel. On the way, we came across a nice American restaurant called Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. The atmosphere here was very cozy and comfortable. We took some steaks, as well as smoked chicken wings.
We intend to spend the last morning of our trip also with benefit. That's why we have plans to go on a tour to one of the largest museums of the city - NASCAR Racing Museum after breakfast.
We decided to start the morning in a nice, cozy coffee shop Sunflour Baking Company. From the threshold we were met by very friendly and positive staff. The interior here also made a pleasant impression. We ordered ourselves some sandwiches, as well as cakes and buns with cinnamon and poppy, of course, could not do without a cup of strong coffee.
It was very interesting for us to go on a tour of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, because racing under this aegis has already become part of American culture, second only to American football. In the Hall of Fame there are copies of equipment, which were in operation at different periods of time, you can also learn a lot about the history of the formation of this type of racing, about its champions and features.