igh Country Splendor -- About six years after establishing the Sierra Club in 1892,
John Muir visited Grandfather Mountain, where he was so overcome with what he called
"all Heaven come to earth" that he began to jump and sing.
It's a geniune reaction to one of North Carolina's most beautiful natural
attractions around, although today, it's much easier to follow in Muir's footsteps.
The recently refurbished mile-high bridge gives visitors a bird's-eye view of the mountain,
which remains much the same as when John Muir made his climb.
Grandfather Mountain, highest peak in the Blue Ridge, is the only private park
in the world designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.
Justifiably the region's focal point, Grandfather is home to wildlife and
plants of all kinds. Now, visitors can drive up to the crest, saving
their energies for hiking trails, sightseeing and picnics.
Around Grandfather Mountain are small towns that beckon world-weary
travelers to refresh their spirits.
The Carolina Crescent
It's aptly named -- this
curved area of land on the southern side of the high peaks
of the Blue Ridge amid its deepest, shadowy valleys. The ribbons
that cut through the land include ancient rivers, trout-filled brooks,
old trails, and for those who care more about destination than journey,
Interstate 85. In every nook, you'll find artists' enclaves, shops,
galleries, coffeehouses and gourmet cafes - enough to suit every
taste and pocketbook.