2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Moses Cone Park - Manor House and Flat Top Tower Hike

From the www.blueridgeheritage.com website, "Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, near Blowing Rock, North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway, preserves the country estate of Moses Cone, a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist of the Gilded Age. Its centerpiece is Flat Top Manor, a gleaming white 20-room, 13,000 square foot mansion built in 1901 in the grand Colonial Revival style."
Click to enlarge for reading

The walkway lead us to the side of the house.  They are in the process of removing one of the porch columns.

We weren't allowed to take any photos inside but it was so jammed with crafts that it was hard to see any of the architectural features.  The upstairs was blocked off.   This is a panoramic photo from the front porch. 

Front of the house.  I couldn't back up far enough to get all of it in the photo.

Back of the house from the parking area.
We walked a mile up to the couples gravesite.  I didn't take photos of the trail on the way up.  Too busy concentrating on where my feet were going and breathing.  Those photos of the trail are later in the post as I took them on the way down.

This dead tree was covered in lichen.

The meadow was full of butterflies flitting from flower to flower.  They seemed to really like the milkweed.

We decided we were going to go ahead and hike to the top of Flat Top Mountain.

I don't know how many species of butterflies we saw but there were a lot.  Some were really tiny.  This was a medium sized one.  I wished he would have opened his wings so you could see the eye pattern on both wings.

The meadow was full of flowers.

The path was one of the carriage trails that were used by horses.  There were five horses around the grave site when we were there.

Off in the distance we saw a strange square structure on top of a mountain.  I zoomed in on it and it is a hotel on top of Sugar Mountain.
At the top of Flat Top Mountain, we climbed the tower.

This photo shows Grandfather Mountain, Sugar Mountain  and Beech Mountain.

I should have held the camera up a little higher for the photo in the opposite direction.

Looking down the tower steps.

Sure wished this camera had a view-finder so I could see if I had what I was shooting in the frame. 

A group of young guys had ran up the mountain and here they were running down.  Like most of the people we saw, none of them was carrying any water.

Saw lots of these lilies.

I have lots of photos on here of trees and vegetation that I thought looked interesting.

I could see a tree growing up from the top of this overturned dead tree but I couldn't find a place to take a photo that didn't have vegetation in the way.  Nolan says he saw two faces in this but I only see one and it has a beard.

This group of lilies sure had a lot more spots...freckles?

I tried to take a close-up of these blue flowers but the camera didn't want to focus on them.

I was shocked that there were still some blooms on the rhododendrom bushes.  

You can see two hairpin turns in the trail from this site.

There was even some rock retaining walls.

Don't know what these bushes were but they were very interesting.

The bees loved these!

I bet this hike was even more beautiful a month ago when all those rhododendroms were in bloom!

Did I mention that horses also used this trail?  We dodged a lot of poo.

Breaking back out into the meadow.

The trail weaves around the meadow to prevent it from being really steep.

Grandfather Mountain on the left and Sugar Mountain with the hotel on top.

Lots of milkweed in the meadow

The bees sure do love them.

The butterflies seemed to like the horse manure too.

There are two butterflies on top of this small hunk of manure.

Nolan found something.

He just about ran into this spider hanging from a tree.

The camera didn't want to focus on the spider....

Even when I put a large leaf behind it.

So what kind of tree is this?

Just about back to the manor.  You can see the driveway.

Closer shot shows the tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway and the driveway to the Manor House.

There were stalactites hanging from the archway.

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