Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis

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Spring is a good time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains; accommodation’s cheap, the streets are empty of tourists, and although the trees are mostly bare the temperature is just right for hiking. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Homestead Inn and the chocolate and ice cream in Blowing Rock (but avoid the corned beef hash at Knight’s), sipping a glass-bottle Coke on the Mast General Store’s porch swing in Valle Crucis, cruising round the backroad hollars (yes, that is the actual term used on the road signs) spotting crumbling barns and Jesus billboards, and a barbecue dinner at Stamey’s in Greensboro on the way back.

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