Views from Little Switzerland

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 054, Crop

When I was a child, my mother took the family for a drive on the mountain roads near our then home in Asheville, North Carolina. When we passed a ramshackle inn perched on the edge of an escarpment, I instantly fell in love with it.

Alpine Inn, Crop

I’ve always wanted to stay there, but never managed, even though I’ve been in the vicinity hundreds of times. I think the reason was mostly because I didn’t remember the inn’s name, but perhaps also I wanted to wait and savor the moment when I finally visited.

Last week I cruised the length of the 450-mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway, which passes through Little Switzerland. In this age of the internet it was easy to find an image of the inn I remembered and determine its name.

I timed my trip to put me in Little Switzerland at about 4:30 pm, and arrived as planned. Traffic was light on the Parkway (it will be bumper-to-bumper a month from now, when the leaves have changed color), so I expected there to be a room available. I wasn’t disappointed. I got a room– musty-smelling, but clean– for only $60.

I was exhausted from rising early and driving for many hours, so I crashed. I didn’t even go out for dinner. I was groggy when Heather (my financee) called at about 10 pm, but managed to wake up and we chatted for a while. I went back to bed and awoke about 4:30 am– all to often the time I go to sleep. I played on my computer until dawn.

It was deliciously cool outside– and while I had slept, the motel had filled up with motorcyclists.

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 039, Crop

The views to the east were marvelous and everchanging as the sun rose.

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 043

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 054

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 057

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 050

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway, Sony Action Cam 044

I was able to count 14 ridgelines.

When the office opened at 7:30, I and other guests sat on a deck that hung over the drop-off and watched hummingbirds as we ate home-baked bread and fresh fruit.

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway, Sony Action Cam 049

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 067

2014-09, Blue Ridge Parkway 086, Crop 2

Most of the hummers had already left for their long migration to South America, but there were a couple of hangers-on.

I was on the road by 9 am.

Oh—for those who might be interested, here’s a photo I took back in the 80s of the real Switzerland:

Switzerland

 

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