Seek: A Family Gathering Place Find: New Traditions

Small, lush bushes of sweet blueberries surround you as you walk through along the mountain trail. As you place blueberries in your large basket, you hear the beautiful sounds of your children laughing as they run ahead on the trail. You have never experienced a place quite this peaceful. As you walk and look at the beautiful scenery around you, you reflect on your vacation here… While visiting Mitchell County, so many new memories and traditions have been made. Many of these traditions were unexpected and happened while you were simply enjoying a new found place. Traditions that took only a minutes to make, but will last a lifetime. IMG_3721

You danced with your children and grandchildren to the sounds of traditional bluegrass music at the historic Orchard at Altapass.  You received a true taste of the mountain life as you walked through the blossoming orchard while picking your own apples, and eating a few along the way. You were able to take in a hay ride with your family and friends and it took you back to a simpler time, one without the worries and cares of everyday life. While sitting on the bales of hay, listening to stories of these beautiful Appalachian Mountains, you felt a sense of wonder that you have not felt in a very long time… You felt as if you were a child again.

Storytelling hayride at the Orchard at Altapass

You packed a picnic lunch and sat on the blanket of plush grass along the Blue Ridge Parkway. What was intended to be a short picnic lunch with friends turned into an all day event consisting of food, friends, and a pretty competitive corn hole competition. The main highlight was watching the colorful sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains that covered each ridge and valley with brilliant rays of light. While taking in the scenery, you realize that what is most important in your life is living in the moment and making those moments count with the people who are most important to you.

sunset views

You watch as whole corn gets crushed and ground into grits by the last working grist mill of its kind in North Carolina .

Dellingers Mill in Bakersville, NC

Your kids stood by and watched the centuries old working pieces of the grist mill and how those pieces work together to make a product that they can take home and cook in their own kitchen. This reminds you of a simpler time, when things were done by hand, the right way.

You have hiked around waterfalls, up mountains and ridges, and got a firsthand look at the true essence of these mountains and the things that make them home. You watched as your children saw a deer for the first time and the wonder that filled their eyes as they experienced nature in a new and real way. As you made it to the top of various peaks, you had to put down your camera and just take in the breathtaking landscape in its entirety. Pictures could never do a scene like this justice, but the memory of green mountains that stretch for miles will forever hold a place in your mind and heart.

Deer among rhododendron bloom on Roan Mountain
photo credit: Appalachian Exposures

Here in Mitchell County, there are no typical vacations, only small adventures that turn into extraordinary experiences. You can come to one place that will open your mind and heart to places you never thought possible. You came seeking a family gathering place and found many new traditions that will keep your family coming here for years to come.

You knew you needed a change from your ordinary vacation. You knew you needed to go somewhere new, peaceful, but still unique and interesting. You wanted to unplug, unwind and reconnect with your family. Here in Mitchell County, you have found all these things, plus the time, space, and experience to create new family traditions that will last for generations to come.

feature photo credit: Appalachian Exposures