Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Afternoon Drive

The plan for today was to sleep in and then see what we wanted to do. We'd talked about going to the Carl Sandburg house which is nearby. Other than that, we really had not talked much about doing anything. I think our Biltmore Estate visit yesterday was so intense that we needed a day to settle. The weather forecast has been talking about rain for Friday, so we thought we might do something today instead.

By noon, we'd pretty much discarded the Carl Sandburg idea and decided we might drive back through the Pisgah Forest towards Maggie Valley, which had been recommended by another camper here at the rv park.

Mark volunteered to drive, so we piled in the jeep and away we went. First stop was a seafood restaurant in town for which Jim had picked up a menu in the rv park office. It was a local restaurant and the food was very good.
The route we traveled today was the same as we did a few days ago, through Hendersonville on 64 up to where it intersects with Highway 276, then on towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. We stopped at this spot:

These are really tall trees!

We got to the same place we'd stopped at on our last visit, where we'd seen some old buildings, but couldn't figure out how to get to them. Today we backtracked a short distance, to the visitor center of the Cradle of Forestry.

When George W. Vanderbilt purchased this land for his estate, he hired Frederick Law Olmstead to oversee the design and maintenance of the gardens and forest. Olmstead recommended the hiring of a Forest Manager, so Vanderbilt hired Gilford Pinchot, who ultimately became Governor of Pennsylvania as well as the first chief of the USDA Forest Service.

Dr. Carl Schenck took Olmstead's place as the Biltmore Estate's forest manager and taught at the forest school which was established on Vanderbilt's land as the first school of forestry in the country.

The Cradle of Forestry is a historic site of 6500 acres, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forest conservation in the U.S. There are several buildings that have been preserved or rebuilt on this site which are accessible by walking trails.

We took a quick look through the visitor center before setting out on the trail to visit several of these buildings.

This is the ranger's residence - with Mark sitting on the steps, taking a break from the walk.

The interiors all have furnishings, making it look like the occupants have just stepped away for a moment. Here's a beautiful loom in the main room:

This was one of the forestry student dwellings, looks like a great porch for sitting. I'm sure our friend Speedy would enjoy this porch!

We pose on one of the many bridges we crossed on the trail:

Beautiful color!

We finished the trail and got back to the visitor center in time to see a few more exhibits before they closed for the day. They even have a helicopter simulation where you can get the feel of flying over a forest fire.

It was close to closing time, so we headed out. It was too late to try to find Maggies Valley today, so we headed back towards town.

Along the way, Dortha asked Mark to be on the lookout for a bridge she had spotted on our first trip through this area. Here it is, sure glad we spotted it again!

Back to the rv park and another great, healthy dinner. We ended the day with a trip back into town for a TCBY treat.

What a beautiful day!


Jim and Dee said...

Thank you for the trip! You're great with blogs and pictures. Maggie Valley is well worth the trip.

Phyllis said...

Ellie (and Jim) - I haven't "talked" to you for a while. Looks like all is good.

I am still counting the days to fulltime. February 1 will be here soon. Still lots to do to get ready.

Hopefully will see ya'll some of these days.


Joe and Sherri said...

I think I would enjoy that porch