Where the Rhododendrons Bloom

High above the clouds sits one of the most picturesque places I have ever been in recent months. If you’re looking for an afternoon of hiking in one of the most breathtaking places on earth in our little corner of heaven, then you need to see Roan Mountain State Park.

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Located between Johnson City, TN and Asheville, NC, it’s just a short drive from Morristown. It is quite literally in our backyard! One of the big draws is the gorgeous rhododendron gardens at the top of these “hills.” But be warned! You will need a jacket and good shoes! We have been experiencing unusually warm weather and didn’t think twice about wearing shorts, sandals and having no jackets! With the windows of our car rolled down and the wind whipping through my hair…as our car crawled to a higher and higher elevation, we suddenly realized that we were not dressed appropriately!

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Parking our car at the top, we saw everyone around us in long pants, covered shoes and putting more jackets on! Some even added hats or hoods! But we decided to take a short hike anyway and tried to walk briskly to keep warm! When the wind started whipping around, it felt like an iced knife! I lost the feeling in my toes, fingers and face! It was hard to keep from shaking! I think my legs even began to turn blue!

Despite the cooler weather, we managed to get off a few shots. Imagine how nice it will be in warm weather! Roan Mountain State Park has picnic areas all over the park and a really nice campground that will accommodate RVs and campers as well.  There is a community center and pool near the Visitor Center as well as trails everywhere. Also the 3rd week in June, the annual Rhododendron Festival takes place. However, we felt that with everything blooming early this year, waiting for the festival would mean the possibility of having no more blooms….

Grab a cup of tea, or whatever your favorite beverage is and get ready to feast your eyes!

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Start packing your bags and making your vacation reservations! You’ll want to revisit this area time and time again!

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