Test your courage at the top of a mountain or savor fresh flavors while gazing at the sea. Several North and South Carolina vistas will have you coming back for more.
The view from the Mile High Swinging Bridge, at Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina will leave you awestruck. True to its name, the bridge is one mile above sea level and offers jaw-dropping, 360-degree views from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains at nearly 6,000 feet. Built in 1952, the bridge spans 228 feet across an 80-foot chasm and remains the nation’s highest suspension footbridge. If you’re looking for a less-daring experience, Grandfather Mountain offers a number of gentle paths that can be accessed from the summit road, allowing visitors the chance to experience the woods without overexerting themselves. Bring your binoculars to catch sight of any of the 200 species of birds found in the area. Learn more about the Mile-High Swinging Bridge and other exciting things to do at Grandfather Mountain at www.grandfather.com/swinging_bridge.
For the best view of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, you might have to sweat a little. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, known as the tallest brick beacon in the country at a dizzying 208 feet, was originally built in 1870. Standing 12 stories, the lighthouse has an iron spiral staircase with 248 stairs. It is considered the most recognized, photographed and admired lighthouse in the country and a signature element of the nation’s maritime history. The lighthouse is normally open for climbing in early April. Tickets are first come/first served. Learn more about Cape Hatteras and other lighthouses on the Outer Banks at www.lighthouseview.com/lighthouse.htm. You can also find a view from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse webcam at www.nps.gov/caha/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.
One of Upstate South Carolina’s natural wonders is Table Rock State Park, located in Pickens. Table Rock Mountain serves as the centerpiece and focal point of the 3,000-acre park. Numerous miles of trails reward hikers with beautiful scenery including mountain streams and waterfalls amidst lush forests. With the arrival of spring, temperatures will be warming up, providing ideal conditions to fish for bass and catfish on either of the park’s pristine lakes: Pinnacle Lake or Lake Oolenoy. Of course, the number one activity on the park’s “Top 5 List” is to climb to the top of Table Rock Mountain where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area below. Make an adventure out of your experience and camp in one of the park’s 94 campsites or 14 cabins. Find directions and other information about the park at www.southcarolinaparks.com/tablerock/introduction.aspx.
For a delicious plate of freshly caught seafood accompanied by a spectacular view of Charleston’s coastline, the Fleet Landing Restaurant is the place. Housed in a 6,000-square foot, hurricane-proof maritime structure, the restaurant stands on a reinforced pier offering a clear view of Charleston’s harbor. Featured in Food & Wine’s “Where to Go Next” section and awarded “Restaurant of the Year” in 2006 by Post & Courier, Fleet Landing is described as a “come as you are” casual restaurant with a “maritime chic interior.” Try one of the seafood dishes like Iron Skillet Mussels, Lump Crab Bruschetta or the classic Charleston Shrimp and Grits, and be sure to save room for a slice of Southern Pecan Pie. Make your reservation today at www.fleetlanding.net.
The Carolinas have plenty of spectacular views to keep you busy this spring, so be sure to get out and enjoy the scenery around you.