After riding south on the BRP all day, it was time to think about where I would spend the night. Another priority on this ride was to explore Hot Springs, North Carolina, which I had read about and jotted down some notes in my journal years ago. Hot Springs is a unique and cozy little Appalachian Trail Mountain town. The "AT" actually runs right through town !!
So just after reaching Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct, I broke off the BRP and started running the twisty mountain roads towards Hot Springs hoping to find a room there and enough of the evening left for a proper dinner.
Linn Cove Viaduct is a 1,243 foot concrete segmental bridge which snakes around the slopes of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Construction was started in 1979 and it was opened in 1987.
Grandfather Mountain with a smoked out summit.
Enroute to Hot Springs, the cloud formations off in the distance were really wild and ever changing with the sun lighting them up from behind. I stopped a few times trying to capture the effect but the picture does not even begin to show the magnificence.
After the final long and twisty descent out of the mountains, I rolled into the tiny town of 560 people, at a lower elevation of 1,332 feet. Due to the comparatively lower elevation the higher humidity level was obvious.
Found a room at the Alpine Court just at the edge of town. Perfect. The motor lodge type of layout I prefer with my bike just outside the door. A chair outside the door to sit and watch life go by, and a proximity within walking distance of everything.
Even had a little buddy to chase around the yard. I was starting to get dog sick anyway as I have not seen my own three dogs in about 5 days by this time. This Border Collies name was Roscoe. He like you to chase him as he ran and dodged you with his chew toy. He reminded me of my oldest Australian Shephard which is a similar breed. They had some very similar mannerisms. Sometimes I wonder if my oldest Aussie has some Border Collie mix in him.
The room was also to my liking. It was old and homey but clean and somewhat elegant in a old fashioned kind of way or maybe I had been living in a tent too long. The $47.00 a night rate was also very fair even if the hot water did not seem to work. The young man in the office said he thought he knew why but it was after the fact. Probably something with my room. A medium temperature shower was good enough this time.
After settling in the room it was time to walk down the Appalachian Trail into town and find dinner. The sidewalk which is part of the "AT" has granite plaques sunk right into the cement every so often along the way. How cool is that !!!
The town of Hot Springs is nearly surrounded by Pisgah National Forest making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The famous Appalachian Trail travels right through town. Hot Springs is about 269 miles from its southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia. The A.T., marked by white rectangular blazes, continues north for over 1900 miles to Maine.
The tiny town consists mostly of a few taverns and restaurants, hardware stores, outdoor outfitters and lodging. Absolutely no franchises, keeping the town real and interesting. After browsing my choices, Iron Horse Station was settled upon for dinner. Iron Horse referring to the train tracks which lie in close proximity.
Not having had a proper meal in a while, I splurged on a fat, juicy steak with crunchy onions piled high. A baked potato stuffed with bacon and cheese and a out of this world salad with a house made ranch that had a hint of dill flavor. Life is good !!
Even had a little live acoustic action going. Some mellow coffee house type music. Relaxing.
The "A.T." logo is even emblazoned on the street in white paint !!
Hot Srings really left a strong impression on me and I will definitely return sometime in the future. There is not a tremendous amount of things to necessarily see there (I suspect that just adds to the charm) but it would be an amazing place to just hole up for a while and get away from normal life for a spell. It just has that atmosphere, just as I had hoped for and envisioned. Places like this are getting rare these days, I hate to say. There is some really good day hiking and kayaking to be had here also.
I will leave you with this.