We landed in Charlotte early one morning and headed for the coast. On the way out, we stopped at the family farm for a visit with my uncle. We wandered around the barn, the pony pen, our fishing hole and reminisced about the good old days.
After a few hours of catching up, we got back on the road for Wilmington. We were ready for some relaxing days on the beach. The weather forecast had other plans. Even though it was soggy most of the time, it did not stop us from checking out downtown and Fort Fisher State Park.
A couple of days later we hit the road towards Raleigh- Durham- Chapel Hill. We took a side trip to the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park for a short hike. The banks along the river were swampy with many cypress trees and their exposed knees.
As we continued our drive west we passed countless cotton fields in full bloom. It was so beautiful that we had to pull over and take a few pictures.
We spent an evening in Chapel Hill and strolled along Franklin Street. I was raised a Tar Heel fan so it was nice to see the UNC campus again. We ended the day with a few pints and BBQ at the Carolina Brewery.
The next few days we spent with my family near Hickory for Thanksgiving. It was great catching up with everyone and we ate more than our fair share of good southern food.
For Black Friday we avoided the shopping crowds and went to Mount Mitchell State Park to hike off the second helpings of turkey. At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. We opted for the 4-mile trail instead of driving all the way to the top. Now we can check off another summit from our list.
Being the beer enthusiasts that we are, we had to squeeze in a day trip to Asheville. We sampled beer from three breweries; LAB (aka Lexington Ave Brewery,) Asheville Brewery and French Broad Brewery. Since we were close to Chimney Rock State Park, we headed over for another quick hike.
Four state parks and six breweries later we hopped back on the plane for home in Seattle. We packed in as much as possible to make it a great trip and still had plenty of time for turkey, pie and visiting with the family.