Well, I made it to sunlight on our final day of camping! No maulings. No animal encounters. Honestly, I feel jipped! lol!
We woke up early on our final day to start packing up our campsite. No easy task, I assure you! It took a little over 2.5 hours to get everything packed up and in the car. I think Harley was the most excited about going home! We had a couple of pit stops to make though…
We were told about Kilwin’s in Blowing Rock, NC and that we just HAD to check it out. Kilwin’s is a chocolatier and fudge shop set in this darling, lively little town called Blowing Rock. After putting the address of the shop in our navigation system, we were shocked out the route it gave us! It had us going up the mountain on a dirt, gravel road. I should mention that I was driving for the first time on our trip and I was nervous! Why? Well, when am I not nervous?! 😉 We thought at first I took a wrong turn but noticed the navigation appeared to be on target. Amazingly, after a few turns, we were happy at the route it took us on. It was a beautiful 2.5 mile drive through back roads that had amazing views of the area around us. We kept noticing signs that read “No Hunting. No Trapping”, so of course, the first thing that entered my mind was that we might actually see wild animals in a natural setting! I mean, if you were an animal, wouldn’t you want to hang out in an area where it’s pretty desolate where you wouldn’t be hunted and/or trapped? But, again I was jipped! About 2.7 miles in we saw the turn-off for the Blue Ridge Parkway. What an odd but very beautiful route!
The route literally took us right to the Blowing Rock exit which was right around the corner from Kilwin’s. We, I mean I, was so excited to get me some fudge! I had been thinking about it the entire trip! No kidding! We parked right in front and in we went. I knew what I wanted! FUDGE! Rich on the other hand went directly to the ice cream section. Ice Cream! It was cold out and he wanted ice cream. Hey, I can’t blame him though… the ice cream was amazing and homemade! I left with over 3lbs of fudge and a couple peanut butter cups and wanted to eat everything right then and there! Patience is a virtue…
We were now ready to head back to Raleigh. We set out for US 421 and hit the open pavement with the gorgeous Pisgah National Forest in our rearview mirror. Sad. I was now sad! I had a great time and it was SO relaxing (even with the anxiety attacks). I didn’t want to get back to reality. But it was time.
I had heard about this wonderful vineyard in the Yadkin Valley off I-40 from a friend and after being unexpectedly surprised by the sign on the interstate I had to go! It’s called Raffaldini Vineyards. After driving a few miles through the countryside, with the mountains still within our view, we came up to the most gorgeous piece of property I’ve ever seen… the vineyards themselves. Wow. The main house looked like something you’d see in Tuscany, Italy! Not that I’ve ever been to Tuscany, but if I had I swear this is what it’d look like! We had the doggies with us so they couldn’t get out. Rich stayed in the car while I went in to take a look-see. I entered the main house where they were doing wine tastings and waited patiently for my turn. I was greeted very graciously by one of their staff and was offered a few different wines to try. I’m not much a red wine lover, more a white wine (chilled). I was almost immediately recommended to try one of their exclusives… Vermentino 2009. Exquisite! They mentioned that the grape that makes this particular wine is exclusive to their vineyard and they are the only vineyard on the east coast that grows it! I had to buy it! Then, they offered up their specialty and the wine behind their trademark, “Chianti in the Carolinas”. Apparently, this wine is only made/grown every other year so it’s quite a rare wine… Sangiovese 2008. This is a red wine, but it can be served slightly chilled, thus the reason it was recommended to me. I loved it! And yes, I bought this one too! I also picked up some of their homemade marinara sauce and pesto. YUM! I couldn’t wait to get home and make some spaghetti!
Now, we were really ready to get home. The car was packed and had NO more room for ANYTHING else! 🙂
Well, that’s it… we’re home. Safe. Warm. Relaxed. Happy. It really was a great vacation. I did really enjoy myself. I didn’t get hurt like I (and so many others) thought I would! Harley is truly happy to be home and I think Murphy misses the mountains. No worries, we’ll ALL be back! Soon!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip! I sure enjoyed retelling it!
In case you missed them, here are ALL the pics from our trip again! Enjoy!