As a part of our family vacation we decided to travel about 30 minutes to the east to visit a few places in Rutherford County to explore Chimney Rock and Lake Lure as a part of our trip.
Getting up early we decided to head out to Chimney Rock to try and hit the park at the point that it opened (or at least close to it). We wanted to do this because we knew that it would only get warmer as the day went on. It took us about 30 minutes to get to the Chimney Rock State Park . One of the things that I loved was that we had to drive through the small town of Bat Cave which just sounded like an amazing town.
As you pull into Chimney Rock you will see quickly that there are many shops and things to do for tourists. About half way through the Village of Chimney Rock the entrance to Chimney Rock is on your right. As you go across the entrance bridge you start to work your way up the mountain. You will get up maybe half way and then this is where you will pay for your entrance to the park. After you pay they will have you park in a field at the base of Chimney Rock. Once you park we jumped on a bus that drove us up to the actual base of Chimney Rock which is quite a ways up the mountain. When you get off the bus, you will walk up to either take the elevator up to where Chimney Rock is or you will walk up stairs to Chimney Rock.
Once you go up to Chimney Rock on a clear day you can see about 75 miles. We could see quite a bit, but at first it was a bit cloudy. My oldest daughter and I decided to go up to Exclamation Point which is another 200 feet above where Chimney Rock was. The hike was fun and you could see quite a long way! We did not want to take the Skyline Trail, but we did go back down to Chimney Rock and we decided to take the Hickory Nut Falls trail to see the bottom of Hickory Nut Falls. The walk was a great one and not too strenuous. We were glad to see the falls as it was very beautiful. As we walked back, we decided to continue our hike on the Four Seasons trail which we knew would take us back to our car eventually. Both trails were well groomed and very nice hikes.
The whole trip to Chimney Rock was a ton of fun and such a great way for the whole family to bond together. We were so glad to have taken a few hours to do this together!
After visiting Chimney Rock we decided to take in a round of miniature golf at Chimney Rock Miniature Golf. The course was fun and had 18 holes. Each hole was challenging in its’ own way and there were some that even had water hazards if you were not careful. The course is right along the rapids so you can enjoy the beauty of the rapids as you are playing some great mini-golf.
After playing mini-golf we were all ready for lunch and we decided to head to the Old Rock Cafe, a staple of the Chimney Rock Village. This restaurant has a huge menu and the portions are huge. My kids and I tried a few of the sandwiches and burgers including the The Falls Burger, The Old Rock Club and the Chimney Chicken Sandwich as well as the Chef Salad. Each of the items from the menu were delicious. We were very impressed by the amount of food, but also by the quality of food that you get! We left the Old Rock Cafe completely filled up and so glad that we had visited. We would highly recommend this restaurant to everyone! (Check out the lunch menu!)
After lunch we walked to the building next door as the kids wanted to go gem mining and we were lucky to find that the Chimney Rock Gem Mine was so close. When we went into the store we explored all of the amazing gemstones, jewelry and more that they had for sale and then we went downstairs so the kids could do some gem mining for themselves. We got a bucket that they could sift through and they had a ton of fun sifting through the sand in the bucket to see what they could find. They found some very fun gemstones in the time that they were mining and it was a nice way to sit down and relax after lunch and some hiking.
We moved toward Lake Lure and stopped by the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge which were many different flowing beds that were created by volunteers. This bridge is completely covered by many flowers, herbs and more and really is truly a site to see. My wife loves flowers so this was a stop that she truly appreciated.
After the visit to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, we ended the day getting some ice cream at Scoop Ice Cream. The ice cream that they have at this family owned ice cream shop was simply delicious. We were impressed that they offer Gifford’s Ice Cream which is a brand from Maine that focuses on offering only the more premium ingredients. The ice cream that we tried was out of this world and if you have never tried this ice cream before you do not know what you are missing.
While we were in Lake Lure we explored the beach and were impressed with the water slides and the beautiful beach that is offered to all!
Today’s visit to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure was so much fun. If you are visiting Western North Carolina, I would highly recommend visiting both of these towns as I know that they were high points of our trip!
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