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Blowing Rock

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About 10 miles from Julian Price lies a quaint town called Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  This town, according to Captain Jim, was designed, created and populated to attract women.  From it’s flower gardened main street to it’s many chic stores it does seem he has a point.  We chose a perfectly comfortable, overcast day to stroll it’s main street.  You will want to find one of their several free parking areas to stow away your vehicle as parking on the main street is at a premium.  We found ample parking between their public pool and a very lovely park.  A steep hike up some hidden steps and you are close to Main Street.  You can walk from one end to the other quite comfortably, as it’s not very long.

There were many fascinating shops and storefronts.  Myself, I’m not really a very girly-girl so the shops only really interest me from a “viewing” standpoint.  I like to see all the interesting wares and what-nots.  I love the architecture and did get to take some interesting shots of some of the buildings.  I was drawn to one shop though, much to the detriment of my pocketbook.  It was a lovely yarn shop named Unwound Yarn http://www.unwoundyarn.com/  I enjoyed perusing the many colorful and varied yarns.  Even Jim and Kaelin found the different yarns to be interesting, noting the textures and varied softness.  I did buy a wonderful kit to make a Christmas present for my oldest daughter.  Of course, I can’t share what it is yet, but I can say it had 21 different colors!

Of course, when you stroll through little towns like this you do work up an appetite and this is when you search out restaurants that are unique to the area.  We were drawn to Town Tavern http://www.towntavernbr.com/ and were fairly pleased.  The food was mostly pub style food and spirits.  It was a little pricey as probably most all restaurants and stores are in Blowing Rock.  It had a neat atmosphere and I can imagine it gets to hopping on weekends and evenings.

Blowing Rock is definitely worth the stroll whether you are a shopper or not.  And the area offers more than just the downtown shopping excursions.  Not far from there is The Blowing Rock itself, which we visited last year.  It is located off The Blueridge Parkway, a must do!  And it is close to Boone.  You cannot go wrong visiting this lovely area.  For more information visit this link:   https://blowingrock.com/

Long Key State Park

We arrived at Long Key State Park mid afternoon on Tuesday.  Today is Friday and I’m wishing I never had to leave this park.  It is truly amazing.  Our camper butts right up to the water.  The water  is shallow for yards and yards out.  It is warm and clear and underneath is a world that I would never had guessed was there. 
Snorkeling seems to be the prevalent past time here and for good reason.  Because of the shallow warm water even young children can safely swim and snorkel.  Myself I have always had a deep fear of going under water.  I watched Jim last year go under in his mask and snorkel and was so jealous.  This year he talked me into going to a dive shop and trying on prescription masks.  The guy at Discount Dive in Marathon, the first shop we went to, was very kind and helpful.  I explained my situation and he told me how to ease into it.  We didn’t buy from him however only because the mask he had didn’t fit quite like the one I ended up buying from Tilden’s Dive Shop / Hawk’s Cay Resort Marina. 
Once I became comfortable with the mask and snorkel I truly fell in love with this place, because not everything is visible to the unmasked eye.  I will hopefully later be able to post some pictures I took with Jim’s underwater camera.  I will save that for a later post.
I would recommend this park for anyone looking to really relax and have fun.  There are about 50 sites, some just for tents and others for campers.  They aren’t extremely deep but we had very little trouble backing in and setting up.  Be aware the sites are sandy. 
Anyone that knows us also knows that we love biking.  There is a bike trail that runs off and on throughout the keys.  The one that runs in front of Long Key State park is a little run down but from what we could tell they are working on repaving the trails.  At least in parts of the keys they are.  Hopefully the one here is on the list.  We have only ridden in the park so far but perhaps we can ride later today and have a more positive report on the trail than what we can see from the road.
The only other real negatives are sand spurs and no see ums.  Definitely bring some Avon Skin So Soft as that does work.  Bring a fan to set up outside too to help deter the little buggers.  Otherwise ENJOY!

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