We have found another Hidden Gem! When we left Florida we looked around to find a place where we could self-isolate and hunker down as the pandemic continued to ravage the country. We love the Smokies, and knew the summer temperatures would be more bearable in the mountains, so we headed to North Carolina. We found Buck Creek RV Park in Marion, NC, a little slice of heaven, a small, family-owned campground, just east of Asheville. This is definitely one of the best campgrounds we have stayed at since we got on the road.
Situated on Buck Creek this campground really lives up to their motto of Peace, Serenity, & Tranquility. Most of the 74 sites back right up to the Creek so you have the gurgling water soothing your Covid nerves. Those sites are pretty snug but you can access the creek from your site. Our site was on the far side of the park but we had the largest site in the campground with plenty of room to spread out.
The Campground was following all CDC & North Carolina Covid protocols with the office staff working on the porch outside the office, the bathrooms and laundry room were closed, and everyone in the park was practicing social distancing. We felt very safe in the park and were able to relax a bit and recover from all of the craziness of the previous weeks.
The added benefit was that the campground had created swimming holes in the Creek so you could swim in the crystal clear water or tube down a quarter of a mile (the length of the campground) down the Creek to the bridge and then walk back up to the swimming holes. This is obviously a local favorite as there are many seasonal campers as well as many people who came in for the weekends.
To keep ourselves from going stir crazy we walked the 1 mile loop road in the park daily and went out a couple of times to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. We went up to Mt. Mitchell as well as to Craggy Gardens, both of which are well worth the drive. We stopped at overlooks and hiked a couple of trails wearing our masks and keeping 6 ft from others.
We also took a trip to Linville Falls just north of Marion. This was the first time we had encounter larger crowds but most everyone was very respectful and put on their masks when we approached them. When hiking on trails in the past we had the habit of calling out “hikers up” to let others in our party know to get single file to pass on the trail. Now we call out “masks up” to be sure we are protecting ourselves and others who are getting out in nature to get a little exercise.
For another day out we took a drive south of Asheville to Chimney Rock. We climbed the 500 steps to get to the top of this 535 million-year-old monolith and though by the time we got to the top our legs were shaking, it was definitely worth it for the views were spectacular.
When we left Chimney Rock we wanted to check out Lake Lure and we found an unexpected delight. Just a few feet from the Visitor Center is the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. When this historic bridge, that was built in 1925, was closed a group of ambitious gardeners came together to create a magnificent garden of native NC plants.
One of the side-effects of this pandemic certainly surprised us. Our bikes had gotten quite old and Jon’s had never been the same since the bike and rack had gotten hit when we were on the Caravan a few years ago. We decided before leaving FL that it didn’t make sense to carry them around any more so we donated them to Goodwill expecting to buy new ones when we got to the Asheville area. Well surprise, surprise!! Everybody decided to get new bikes to be able to social distance and EVERY BIKE SHOP WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF STOCK! I just never thought this would be an issue. So, though we too thought we would be able to hit the bike trails to keep 6 ft apart, we are currently bikeless and we will have to wait till the stores get restocked to buy our new bikes.
Since our main goal is to do everything we can to keep ourselves from
getting the virus we kept to the campground most of the time with only the 3 excursions and grocery shopping for the entire month we were in NC. Though we would have loved to see our friend Ruth, we both decided it was best to just have a lovely chat by phone instead. The rest of the time we
worked on projects around the coach. Jonathan spent a good bit of time working on fixing things and I put together a database of almost all the campgrounds we have camped at over the 30 years we have been RVing. I spend a lot of time cross-stitching and I am also organizing all of the photos we digitized before we went full-time. It is a lot of fun to relive so many of our family memories!
We have moved on to Maryland now and plan to be here for a month before moving on to New Jersey where we will get to spend time with Alex and Erin. More on that in the next post!