A couple of weekends ago we were able to enjoy a small grasp of sanity and normalcy, as we took advantage of a rare 85 degree late October Saturday. We enjoyed a scenic drive up and around Charlotte and up towards Hickory, NC. The goal was just to enjoy a little bit of foliage viewing, maybe find some good food, and do some hiking someplace new.
There was not a lot of color change in the leaves yet, a side effect of a very warm autumn that we have been enjoying into mid November. Hard to complain about not seeing enough red and yellow leaves when you are still applying sunscreen and walking around in shorts this late in the fall. We did, however, find some great food as we stopped at the Shuckin’ Oyster Shack in Hickory for some great seafood. They had a great outdoor patio that was mostly empty which allowed us to enjoy our first meal in a restaurant since our adventures in Boone and Asheville back in July. We started with some chargrilled oysters, (a personal favorite of mine after a trip to New Orleans a couple of years ago) and then had a great mix of fish ‘n chips and seafood boil that were just what the doctor ordered. Along with some wonderfully cold drinks, it was a great lunch and we could definitely feel some stress melting away.
From there we moved on to Baker’s Mountain State Park that was barely a 15 minute drive away from lunch. The park has a great set of relatively easy trails that still allowed you to quickly escape from civilization and find some quiet. The main trail loop rises up to a fantastic lookout that provides a great view of several nearby hilltops. While certainly not strenuous, it was a very nice 1.5 mile loop that’s great for families or those looking for an easy day or if you are warming up for a future more taxing outing.
Most of all it was just a nice taste of normalcy and a small sample of what is still possible in a weekend adventure. Certainly didn’t hurt to end the day with our personal Southern twist on Loco Moco with eggs, Porter Road hamburger patties and hash browns. Plus a few hot peppers here and there. Great food, a little bit of exercise and Maui memories make for a pretty good day.
Hope you have been finding ways to carve out a little bit of adventure for yourselves.
The Free Range Viking