Driving my Cares Away
Mountain Road Trips are a common occurrence for me. I live across the North Carolina state line, so I reside at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. When I get a little antsy, it is easy to hop in the car and head north on the winding road that leads deeper into the mountains. The mountains change with the seasons, so my road trips always bring something new to my eyes, which helps with my “antsiness”.
On the Way
One of my favorite small towns in the North Carolina Mountains is Brevard. Recently we drove up to Brevard for a few hours on a warm, but not too hot, August day. Brevard is a worthy journey for anyone living in the Upstate. There is plenty to see and do along the way. First, if you are from further south, you may need to stop on Highway 11. This scenic highway boasts some of the best views in the upstate. Several state parks are accessed from Scenic Highway 11. On the south end, Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park which is in Oconee County. In the mid-section, Table Rock State Park, and Jones Gap State Park on the Northern Side all make great stops to see some nature and use the restroom or eat a snack.
Once you are ready, choose your mountain road. We usually pick one of two ways to go and come back the other way. The ideal day trip makes a complete circle and usually takes all day. One way is Highway 276. It goes over Caesar’s Head and straight down to the town of Brevard. This way is nice because at the top of Caesar’s Head, you can stop and look off at the park. There are also restrooms and a gift shop there. A few picnic tables are located at the top of the mountain as well. The view at the top of Caesar’s Head is one that you need to see and appreciate. It feels like the summit of the trip when you get to the top. From here, you are looking off into the foothills of South Carolina. The second way would be to take 178 through Rocky Bottom to the small village of Rosman. From Rosman, you can take a right on Highway 64 and it takes you to Brevard. If you take a detour in Rocky Bottom, you can go to the top of Sassafras Mountain, which is the highest mountain in the state of South Carolina. From here, you can visit the new concrete observation platform and investigate three states. The view here is impressive and is a 360-degree view of the mountains and valleys surrounding Sassafras. There is an access point for the Foothills Trail near the top of the mountain.
When You Arrive
You can take as long at the sites on the way as you wish, but after your journey, you will be ready for shopping and dining. Brevard has lots of options for dining. Some of my favorites are Sully Steamers, for a bagel sandwich. I love Quotations for coffee or lighter fare. Square Root Downtown has a great menu. Honestly, it is hard to pick a favorite, and we have tried many of them over the years.
Shopping in Brevard is a unique experience. The main street area is very walkable, and the variety of shops meets all needs. On my last trip, I was enamored by Mantiques, an upscale antique store on Main Street. We were greeted at the door and invited to look around. Once inside, It had the feeling of a hunting lodge. There were three floors of curated antiques that would be suitable for anyone but do have a more masculine feel. Numerous mounted animal heads were in every vignette. Anyone wishing to decorate a cabin or lodge would love this place. I found a unique book that I thought would make good reading here.
Up the street, I visited gravy as I always do when I am here. This is a small store made up of booths: some old, some new, and some crafts. I always enjoy looking here. On the corner of Main Street and Highway 64 is Opie Taylor’s Toy Store. If you haven’t visited, it is a must-see! This store has multiple stories and rooms full of unique and fun items for kids and the young at heart. There are Legos here for the kids. Something new I noticed this year was a Kilwins Ice Cream and Candy store had gone in right beside Highland Books! And just so you know, Highland Books has a great selection of best sellers, and current releases, and I love the local author’s section. I could spend hours in Highland Books! They do a good job of featuring books about the region.
After our visit, we headed home. Over the years, if we go up one way, we often come back down the opposite way. If you are not familiar with the area and all it offers, this road trip would be a good one, just study your map before you go and have fun. Take your time and make a list of places you want to return to and spend longer amounts of time because it is impossible to see everything in one day. Enjoy your journey!
For more information about the Western North Carolina area and other things to do in and around the Brevard check out this article from our friends at The Local Palate –