Zip Through the Trees One of the coolest ways to take in mountain scenery is while whizzing over the treetops. Hawksnest Zipline is on the grounds of a former ski resort. As you can imagine, the hills are plentiful and the views are gorgeous. Hawksnest features an impressive 20 zip lines, including four “mega zip” lines more than 1,500 feet long. The Hawk Tour, which features 11 cables and two swinging bridges, is a favorite of families. Children as young as 5 may participate. Each trip includes at least two guides, and safety is top priority. Younger children usually ride tandem with a guide on the longer lines. For my 7-year-old, ziplining for the first time was a highlight of the trip. Hawksnest is in Seven Devils, 14 miles from Boone. Tours last about two hours and start at $75 per person. Reservations are recommended. More information at hawksnestzipline.com.
Make Time for Trains No family trip to the Boone or Blowing Rock would be complete without a stop at Tweetsie Railroad, especially if you have a train enthusiast in the bunch. The Wild West-themed amusement park has been an area fixture for more than 50 years. Tweetie’s main attractions are its two authentic narrowatlantaparent.com
gauge steam locomotives that take you on a coal-powered train ride through the park. While on board, you’ll make several stops to watch live performances of cowboy-and-Indian battles. Other attractions are rides, a sky lift, live music and dance shows, arcade games and a petting zoo. Don’t expect state-ofthe-art amusement park thrill rides – the old-fashioned county fair feel is part of Tweetsie’s charm. Most rides are aimed at a younger crowd. On fall weekends beginning Sept. 27, Tweetsie is open at night for the Ghost Train Halloween Festival. Tweetie’s engines are transformed into the spooky “Ghost Train.” There’s also a haunted house and “Freaky Forest.” While the train ride and haunted house are recommended for children 8 and older, the park has activities for all ages such as trick-or-treating, carnival games and a 3D maze. Admission to Tweetsie is $37 for adults, $23 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and younger. If you purchase your ticket after 3 p.m., you may return the next day for free (a nice feature for families with small children who may tire out after a couple of hours). The Ghost Train event, offered on selected dates, is $28 per person (children younger than 2 are free). More information at tweetsie.com.
Where to Stay There are many lodging options in the Boone/Blowing Rock area – from national chain hotels to quaint log cabins. Here are a few to check out, depending on your budget and needs: n Cabin Rentals Boone Cabin Rentals: 800-282-2507; boonecabins.com Blue Ridge Mountain Rentals: 800-237-7975; blueridgerentals.com Jenkins Rentals: 800-438-7803; jenkinsrentals.com Valle Crucis Log Cabin Rentals: 828-963-7774; logcabinrentals.com n Resorts and Lodges Yonahlossee Resort: 800-962-1986; yonahlossee.com Smoketree Lodge: 800-422-1880; smoketree-lodge.com n Hotels Courtyard by Marriott: 828-265-7676; marriott.com Fairfield Inn & Suites: 866-576-5693; marriott.com Holiday Inn Express: 877-859-5095; ihg.com LaQuinta Inn & Suites: 828-263-4979; laquinta.com
Plan Your Trip n For an overview of area attractions and links to lodging, restaurants and more: exploreboonearea.com and blowingrock.com. n For trip ideas and travel itineraries for families visiting the North Carolina High Country: highcountryhost.com/ journey-itineraries/kid-stuff/ n For information on the historic Blue Ridge Parkway, which weaves through the High Country and offers a beautiful scenic route between Asheville and Boone, plus attractions, lodging and restaurants: blueridgeparkway.org
September 2013 Atlanta Parent 37