A Long Weekend in NC – Days 3 & 4 – Oct 2023

Hey Guys!

This post continues our time in the beautiful state of NC.

After getting up and having our coffee on the deck, we headed into town to have breakfast.

Since it was Sunday, a lot of the small business owned restaurants were closed so, we decided to try out Waffle King.

Click here for a list of restaurants that serve breakfast

It was a 5 min drive from the cabin and had good reviews but looked like a Waffle House!

We arrived to the restaurant around 10 am and it appeared the whole town of Murphy decided to go there at the same time!

There was a line out the door so, we decided to drive less than 1/2 mile to the nearby Waffle House!

I am not a fan of Waffle House….it grosses me out for some reason…I’m sure it has nothing to do with the cheap quality food they serve and preparing all of it right in front of you while it’s going all over the floor and other places! πŸ˜‰

However, due to lack of options and starvation, we opted to eat there!

Read reviews here

After grabbing a seat at the counter, we looked over the menu.

I decided to order a breakfast platter …and I can’t remember what the hubby ordered …I think I’m trying to block the whole experience out of my mind! πŸ˜‰

Ok, in all honesty, it wasn’t the worst experience I’ve ever had but I have no plans of going back anytime soon!

After breakfast, we headed back towards Blue Ridge to visit some of the other orchards in the area.

We had been torn on whether we wanted to do the orchards or take a scenic drive that I had on the list called Cherohala Skyway. (see a map of the drive here)

The orchards won out so, that’s where we headed.

The leaves were pretty but not as vibrant as we had hoped they would be.

Our first stop was the Hillcrest Orchard.

This orchard is a 4th generation orchard that started in 1946.

This is another orchard that offers U-pick but they also have a market & a bakery where they make their own apple cider donuts & fried apples pies.

Click here for more farms that offer U-pick

They also have a cafe that’s opened on the weekends.

This orchard wasn’t as big as Mercier but they had a lot to choose from!

You could watch them make their candy apples .

And their apple pies and donuts…yum!

Outside of the market, you could purchase a ticket to the farm which included lots of different activities like a petting farm, wagon rides playground, giant slides, trike rides, jumping pillows and lots more! The tickets were $18 pp.

We decided to try out a cup of their apple cider for $1!

I’m not a big fan of apple cider but it was really good!

Read reviews for this orchard here

After spending about 30 mins here, we headed to another orchard called, BJ Reece Orchards.

Most of the orchards are within close proximity of one another.

Bj Reece is a family owned and operated orchard that encompasses 250 acres.

This orchard also offers a U-pick option as well as a market, a bakery and many other activities such as pony rides and a petting farm.

Tip: Be sure to check each orchards website for their picking season and their hours as some of the orchards are seasonal.

We only stayed here a few minutes as it was so crowded they had to have police direct traffic!

A couple of pics of the inside of their market

Read reviews here

After dealing with all of the crowds at the orchards, we decided to head to a nearby state park called Amicalola State Park.

The park was located approx. 15 mins from BJ Reece Orchards.

Once we arrived to the park, we had to pay a $5 entrance fee.

We then headed to find a parking spot….we thought we had escaped the crowds but unfortunately we were wrong! This place was very crowded as well!

The main attraction at this park is the 729-foot waterfall called, Amicalola Falls. It’s the third-highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River.

So, after getting parked, we put on our hiking shoes and started the 1 mile hike to the falls.

Tip: Effective November 20th, 2023 the Lower Falls Trail at Amicalola Falls will be closed several months for major improvement work. The closure impacts the park’s most popular trail, and will include the reflection pool parking area at the base of the falls.

We passed the visitor’s center on the way to the trailhead.

We also passed the small trout pond where they allow visitors to fish for trout! You can rent fishing gear at the park office.

Starting the hike

This short hike is not easy!

There are lots of stairs and I had to stop several times to catch my breath!

A shot of the falls from the trail

Yes, almost there!

Finally, after almost passing out from that climb, we were rewarded with spectacular views of the falls!

However, it was only a trickle compared to some of the pictures I had seen but still beautiful nonetheless!

Views of the falls looking down from the stairs

After taking in the views for a while, we headed back to our car.

Read reviews for this park here

Tip: If you’re hungry, don’t miss having lunch at the Amicalola Lodge!

After leaving the park, we decided to head back to our cabin.

On the way back, we passed the Fausett Farms Sunflower fields.

So, we decided to stop.

They charged $10 a car to visit the field and you could purchase bouquets of sunflowers.

The Fausett Farm has been family owned since 1858. For 60 years, the farms main business was poultry but that ended in 2011.

Now, the farm offers 30 acres of sunflower fields!

They grow 900k+ of sunflowers each year!

Tip: Burt’s pumpkin farm is about 5 mins from the sunflower field..it’s very popular!

The rows of sunflowers seemed endless!

I took way too many pictures!

Read reviews here

After leaving here, we continued our drive.

We passed through the cute town of Ellijay, GA!

After arriving back to Murphy, we decided to head to the nearby Ingles grocery store to purchase sub sandwiches for dinner and take back to the cabin.

Ingles reminds us of Publix….so, clean, tons of variety and great customer service!

We don’t shop anywhere else when we visit this area!

After purchasing our subs, we headed back to the cabin to eat out on the screened in back deck.

For dessert, we shared the apple cider donut that we had purchased at Mercier Orchards…it was so good!

Later that evening, we spent some time in the hot tub before calling it a night!

The next morning, we were up early to watch the sunrise!

Later, I decided to enjoy my coffee while soaking in the hot tub!

After coffee, we packed up and headed back to Mercier Orchard for some more of their delicious cinnamon rolls!

We arrived around 10:30 and the place was already crowded!

We headed straight to the bakery to purchase our cinnamon rolls and some coffee!

The line was already a mile long!

After waiting in line for quite some time, we finally made it to the front of the line!

We decided to order 4 cinnamon rolls…two for now and two for later! πŸ˜‰

They were only $3 each so why not right?!

So good!

After our cinnamon roll, we walked around the market for a while.

They had all kinds of honey!

You could watch them sort, wash and package the apples through the glass windows.

After purchasing two jars of applesauce, we decided to head to the small, historic district of Blue Ridge and spend the rest of our day there before heading home.

As we were leaving the orchard, we noticed they had a place you could take your picture so, of course, we couldn’t pass that up! πŸ˜‰

After arriving to Blue Ridge, we walked up and down the sidewalks checking out all of the neat little shops!

We passed the Sweet Shoppe who was the Season 6 winners of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars!

We spotted the Love Dogs & Cats Too pet shop and decided to go in and find something for our sweet little granddogger!

The store is located in an old gas station!

After leaving the pet store, we spotted the electric rail bikes!

Purchase tickets for this cool experience here!

You can also take a scenic train ride from this location on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

After walking around for a while, we decided it was time for lunch.

Since we are impatient and don’t like to wait, we opted for a place that didn’t look too crowed called the Blue Coyote.

We were seated right away and chose a table outside in the courtyard.

After looking over the menu, we decided to start out with the mozzarella cheese sticks.

They were pretty good!

For my main course, I ordered the grilled chicken Caesar wrap and the hubby ordered the Day Hiker which was grilled chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese with ranch on a hoagie bun.

The food was very average and bland…we wished we would have gone somewhere else!

Note to self, don’t eat at a place that’s empty!!

Read reviews here & Click here for the best restaurants in Blue Ridge

After lunch, we headed to the Blue Ridge Cotton Company to purchase a t-shirt.

After making our purchases, we decided to head home.

Our GPS took us a different route than we usually take.

We usually drive alongside the Ocoee River but this time we drove the historic Trail of Tears route.

We passed the historic Vann House.

James Vann, a member of the Cherokee elite, built this two-story brick mansion in 1804.

There’s an interpretive center now located at the house that includes exhibits about the Vann family, Cherokee Nation, and Trail of Tears.

You can take a guided tours of the historic house. The 23-acre park also includes outbuildings related to plantation operations.

The views on this drive were beautiful!

When we arrived to Chattanooga, we were driving alongside the Tennessee River.

After a 4 hr drive, we arrived back home!

Thanks for reading!

Read Days 1-2 here & Click here to see links to all of my blog posts

After this trip, we did a weekend back at the Wildwood Marina in Granville but I won’t blog about that since we were just there in Sept. and I’ve bogged about it a few times before! It’s one of our favorite places to get away since it’s only 1.5 hrs from our house!






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