Beat the Heat and Escape to The High Country


We took a trip to North Carolina’s High Country to escape the heat. . .


Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying the scenic blue ridge mountain views.



No humidity and a 15 degree drop in temperatures makes me want to pack my bags and head for the hills in July and stay until the end of September!



Here’s a prescription to beat the summer heat and lower your blood pressure. . .


Take the road less traveled.


Visit Grandfather Mountain. . .


Enjoy the scenic countryside . . .





And fresh mountain air. . .


Watch the mountains rise behind the veil of fog and clouds.


In the land of Christmas trees.




Take a walk or hike along the Glen Burney Trail to see the falls.


Count the cows, barns and lichen-covered fences. . .










Barn Wilkom



Visit the Banner Elk Winery. . .


 And Grandfather Vineyard and Winery.


Grandfather Vineyard-001

Enjoy a glass of wine at Grandfather Vineyard and Winery by the Watauga River stream. . .

Grandfather Vineyard & Winery


Get there early to grab a chair by the water or relax in the shade under an umbrella.




boat by pond

Find a chair and enjoy the view!



Where have you been this summer to escape the heat?


Thank you for your visit!

  65 comments for “Beat the Heat and Escape to The High Country

  1. Ruth
    August 13, 2016 at 11:39 am

    We have been enjoying beautiful days at Lake Toxaway, NC.

  2. Linda L
    August 13, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Whoa…does that look idyllic! Thanks for taking time to share all those beautiful photos. You really captured the atmosphere of the area. I feel like I’m in the high country myself. I’m seeing green in more ways than one. Enjoy your respite.

  3. August 13, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Gorgeous photos!

  4. August 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Yo también huiría del calor de Barcelona que en estos momentos es de 34 grados y una buena opción sería ir hacia el PIRINEO CATALÁN que también es muy bonito y el clima es fresquito .

    FINE VIEWS !!!
    I also would flee the heat of Barcelona which currently is 34 degrees and a good choice would be to go to the Catalan Pyrenees which is also very nice and the weather is cooler .

  5. Bonbongirl
    August 13, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I think you should do just that, Mary: rent a place in the mountains from July to September! Because of one of your posts last year, we visited and LOVED Blowing Rock and plan on going back again this fall!🍂🍁 Thanks for always inspiring!

    • August 13, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Thanks Bonbongirl, I’ll tell my husband you said so ;) We love Blowing Rock, glad you were able to visit!

  6. August 13, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    What wonderful photos. I love driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it has been years since I have done so. It may be the time to get back in the car and just head off! Thanks for reminding me of the beautiful scenery along the way.

  7. Cheryl
    August 13, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Beautiful pictures. We escape the heat by either heading to the pool or the beach which is nearby. Nothing like a couple of umbrellas, beach chairs, towels, some cold chicken and drinks for our tummies and hot sand for our toes. Heaven. The smell of suntan lotion wafting over us from the breeze from the ocean. I could definitely live at the beach.

  8. Jennifer
    August 13, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Todd, in Ashe County, NC, is where we love to cool down in the summer! Beautiful photos !!

  9. August 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I haven’t beat the heat this summer, Mary, but oh did I enjoy seeing your pics. I so love the mountains and your photos were cool and dreamy. I am getting away to paradise on September 1st and am so looking forward to that trip!

  10. Susan
    August 13, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Almost same area. We have a camper next to a river right out of Franklin, N.C. That’s the only place we go. I never get tired of it.

  11. Kathy T
    August 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    That area is so beautiful and just looking at the photos almost cools me off here in HOT and HUMID Houston!

  12. Carol Liebst
    August 13, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    We just returned from 10 days in KY, TN,and NC. Visited Mammoth Cave, stayed in Wigwam Village, drove the Cumberland Parkway to Cumberland Gap NP, stayed 2 days at WIlderness at the Smokies filled with water park activities, then to Great Smokey Mountain National Park with a hike to Cataract Falls and one up to Clingman’s Dome, drove up to Banner Elk, visited Grandfather Mountain, then down to Sliding Rock, overnight in Bryson City, rode the train, did a raft ride, and then headed back to hot dry Kansas!

    It was very overcast the morning we were at Grandfather Mountain and we couldn’t wait for it to clear, but the bridge was still fun :)

    Such a beautiful area! We visited with our granddaughter who wanted to go to Great Smokey Mountain NP. Husband and I will return sometime in the future to see the area in the fall!

  13. Linda K.
    August 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Your pictures are gorgeous. I think I will just leave Atlanta for the Smokies!

  14. Karen
    August 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Think we will take a ride up to our mountains tomorrow(Poconos). It is at least 10 degrees cooler there.

  15. August 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Wonderful! Glad you escaped the heat and found cooler temps not too far away. Beautiful scenery.

  16. August 13, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Looks refreshing and charming. Love the green, green pasture land and the grazing cows. I’d love to escape to the mountains of NC. Beautiful!

  17. August 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Lovely pictures of my part of the world! I adore getting up on the Blue Ridge, it is less humid in the higher elevations. Gorgeous photos!

  18. franniemeshorer
    August 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    lovely photographs … lovely carolina … certainly makes ‘city girls’ realize how blessed our ‘country cousins’ who live in the mountains are … during ‘long, hot, humid summer days.

  19. August 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    What gorgeous photos of a beautiful part of the country. And would love the 15 degree drop in temps! LOL


  20. Mary Michelle
    August 13, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. Living in the center of the lower peninsula of Michigan, we head for lake breezes along the shores of Lake Michigan or Lake Huron.

  21. Marilyn
    August 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you for the pictures. Right now here in New York the temperature is 96 degrees!

  22. franki
    August 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Take me home Country Road….need to get my hubby in gear to hit the Shenandoah, etc!!! It’s mighty hot here at the lake. franki

  23. Melodie Strickland
    August 13, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing your lovely photos of the mountains in North Carolina–so cool and refreshing to look at. Reminds me of my home state of West Virginia. It was nice you got to visit a winery as well. Haven’t been to a winery in several years.

  24. Jacklyn carney
    August 13, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Going to Ashville, Hendersonville and Maggie Valley in a few weeks, looking forward to the fresh clean air, relaxing and stopping at a few of the vineyards and brewries, then a few days over in your neck of the woods!! Thanx for sharing those beautiful photos! 🍷🍻🏔

  25. Paula
    August 13, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing such pretty pictures !! It has been so very hot and DRY here in northern Indiana, we like to head north to upper Michigan to Mackinaw to cool off !! :)

    Enjoy your visit

  26. August 13, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Lovely photos of your trip! I really WISH I’d been somewhere to escape the heat, but unfortunately I’m stuck in PT for another few weeks. :(

  27. August 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Such a beautiful part of the state…Love it!

  28. Marilyn (Ohio)
    August 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Absolutely beautiful !!! And where have I been to escape the heat & humidity? My living room!!! :)

  29. August 13, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Just what the doctor ordered! Beautiful photos – you were able to get so close to the scenery (barns, house, cows in pasture!).

  30. Patti Culver
    August 13, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    You have beautiful photos! My daughter moved to Denver, so I’m visiting her there. The days are warm but no humidity. Yesterday we went to Boulder then Estes Park in the Rocky Mtn Natl Park. Weather there was in the high 60’s and low 70’s. Just a perfect get away from the midwest heat and humidity. Your mountain pictures were better than mine! 😊

  31. August 14, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Just perfect Mary, I feel cooler already! I love that big covered porch on the farm house-enjoy:@)

  32. Michelle
    August 14, 2016 at 7:01 am

    What beautiful pictures you took! Love the country side! Haven’t been there in a few years. Wish we were closer, so hot here. Living in Fl. Has it’s advantages but not in the summer. Enjoy!😎🌴

  33. August 14, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Now that’s my idea of a get-a-way and beauty! I’d have to fly to Raleigh to get a fix…… Driving here would just take me to more heat. I do love the Blue Ridge Mts.

  34. Anita
    August 14, 2016 at 9:03 am

    so beautiful! just came back from Isle of Palms, but I love our NC mountains! Those Christmas trees!!

    would you share which camera you use for your lovely photos?

    • August 14, 2016 at 10:40 am

      We love Isle of Palms too Anita, it’s been years since we visited there. You can find my camera and editing info in this post.

  35. August 14, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Oh I so love driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC….love Grandfather mountain….such beauty in the NC mountains…When my son was little, we traveled there often to camp….It was fun back then, but now, I prefer a fine hotel!!!…Sharing…gorgeous photos!

  36. August 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Oh my, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures. Almost as good as being in the car with you.
    I pinned a lot of your pictures to my “A Little Bit Country” board to share the joy.

    • August 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Thanks so much Peggy! Enjoy your Sunday :)

  37. Ellen Stillabower
    August 14, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for the ride!! Love the Blue Ridge and we take the road less traveled a fact,be prefer those roads!! Keeping cool inside this summer..saving for next summers trip!! I did enjoy your pictures…thank you.🌞🌤🗻⛰📸

  38. August 14, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Where are the puppies?!! I would have trouble leaving my constant companion behind! The photos, as always, do not disappoint. Have you studied photography? These snaps are serene, peaceful, restorative. Many thanks for the insights into your beautiful and blessed life.

    • August 14, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Hi Bette, Chloe & Gracie were happily checked in at “camp” while we were gone.:) They don’t ride well on winding mountain roads!

  39. Chrystal
    August 14, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Beautiful! Thanks for taking me along with you!

  40. August 14, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Beautiful photos! My all time favorites are Adirondack chairs by water and you captured them so well. What a dreamy escape.

  41. August 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I have been there once, a long time ago, Mary, it’s so peaceful and beautiful. What a lovely cool escape, a lot of my friends from Bham have summer houses in Highlands NC. I bet it’s incredible sitting in that setting having a lovely wine to sip on! Your photos are wonderful. It’s always cooler on the Gulf Coast than it is in Bham, so we keep cool in the sea breeze and the pool :)

  42. August 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Mary, has anyone mentioned that your photo on the sidebar is loading as a very long image instead of the usual square snapshot? I noticed it several days ago, but today it has disappeared all together. No snapshot, just a title and then a long, blank space before the next blog image. Just thought you would want to know.
    Getting some much needed rain here. ‘-)
    Hope you are getting it too.

    • August 14, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Sarah, I noticed it about 3 weeks ago on Kitty’s sidebar. It’s all WP blogs, Lulu’s Musings is doing it too on your sidebar. I contacted WP support to see if they have any words of wisdom. :) I noticed Kitty went to just a link instead of an image feed for reason.

  43. Twinda
    August 14, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I just returned to hot Florida from Blowing Rock and West Jefferson. Going back in 2 weeks. The flowers there are so bright and beautiful.Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos…you have a good eye for beauty.

  44. Linda
    August 14, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    We stayed at a beautiful beachfront cottage on Lake Michigan. Early morning coffee on the deck watching bald eagles and blue herons. Walks on the beach and amazing sunsets with family. It was the best :-)

  45. August 14, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Beautiful photos! Love the country life!! I’m living it in Boise ,Idaho !! The best !

  46. August 15, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Mary, your beautiful photos made me feel much cooler! The mountains of North Carolina are so beautiful…we live in the Appalachian foothills! Gorgeous shots! Pam @ Everyday Living

  47. August 15, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Mary, We visited this very area about a year and a half ago and have been dreaming of it ever since! The Blue Ridge Parkway area is such a beautiful place and with the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks this week it is calling to me again. We hope to travel there again soon, maybe in the fall to see the colors. We are experiencing a horrible heat and humidity wave now and with a houseful of visitors we will not be escaping to the Cape! Silly me, I’m headed for Washington DC this week! Well at least it should be empty! Your photos of the barns and mountains and vineyards are gorgeous, as usual. I can just imagine you screeching to a halt at every bend in the road to capture these beautiful scenes. Linda

  48. Judy
    August 15, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I could feel the cooler temperature and smell the crisp air as I looked at all your beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

  49. August 15, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Your photos are gorgeous. All that green has to just wash your mind clean. I actually have to go there now,thanks for the views, Sandi

  50. August 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I remember driving through the mountains to & from FL/OH & watching the sun rise up over the foggy peaks….just breathtakingly beautiful! Gorgeous photos, Mary!!
    I’m anxious for some cooler weather too…wickedly hot summer here. Not fair when we have to stay inside all winter long, too!!!

  51. Vanessa
    August 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Great pictures! I love Grandfather Mountain! So Fun!!!

  52. Jain
    August 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Loved the tour, you took gorgeous shots…

  53. Debbie
    August 18, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    We just returned from a trip to Banner Elk/Boone area and loved the cooler temps at our cabin. Love your pictures. You captured the mountains beautifully!

  54. Ellen Martin
    August 18, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I’m just getting to view this post, and I’m so glad that I waited until I had time. What amazingly beautiful photos along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We do visit and hike along the Parkway frequently, and you’ve inspired me to take a little more time with my photos. As always, your posts never disappoint! I will use your photography tips

  55. August 19, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Love this post. I live in the NC mountains and thank God everyday that I am so blessed to view scenery like this on a daily basis. You seem to have hit some of our favorite spots, especially Grandfather Winery. We love to go there on Sunday afternoon to sip and listen to music, especially when a friend’s band is playing there. I am so glad you chose to escape to the mountains!

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