Before we hit the theme park mecca of Orlando, we took a detour up to North Carolina.
Into the welcoming arms of family
After our 16 hour flight from Sydney to Dallas, we missed our connecting flight, despite being expressed through every queue and running flat out through the terminal. But it ended up being for the best, because there was no way our luggage was ever going to make that flight either, so, although we arrived in Greenville, South Carolina, a few hours late, at least we were all well, happy and had our bags with us.
We picked up our rental car and drove the hour or so to Hendersonville, North Carolina, where we have friends who we consider family. Less than a day in the country and we’ve already been to 3 states!
Tim and Sue are like a third set of grandparents to our kids. Hubster did an exchange year in the U.S. during high school and they were one of the families he lived with. Two years ago they came to Australia on holiday, so this time it was our turn for a return visit.
When you’ve been travelling for 27 hours straight, it is pure joy to be greeted at 1am with warm hugs, and to collapse into a comfortable bed.
Fortunately I’ve never suffered much with jet lag and this trip was no different. However, no man is an island, especially when you’re a mum. When my jet lag woke me at 2am, I could simply turn over and go back to sleep. The kids’ jet lag was not so easily managed.
That first night we all slept wonderfully well, but the next 3 nights were difficult. The kids would wake multiple times through the night and take a while to get back to sleep. It’s like their bodies are trying to tell them repeatedly that it is time to get up, and you have to keep insisting that it’s not. I spent a lot of time reading to them while I waited for them to get back to sleep, only to be woken again an hour or so later. Very not fun.
My biggest jet lag-related problem was being absolutely exhausted during the day. My body was screaming at me to take a nap! Thank goodness we had glorious sunny weather and hosts who were eager to show us around and keep us busy in the outdoors.
It’s the only way to whip that jet lag into shape!
Blue Ridge Parkway
The outdoors in this part of the world is absolutely breathtaking.
We explored the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is the second most-visited national park attraction in the U.S. and is particularly popular during fall colour season. What a happy coincidence then that we were visiting Tim & Sue in fall and that they live on the very edge of the national park! They used to come here on holiday when their boys were kids, and couldn’t have picked a more tranquil and picturesque spot to retire to.
The Parkway is known as “America’s Favorite Drive” and it’s not hard to see why. At over 400km long, it is almost twice the length of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It winds its way along the ridges of mountains, surrounded by mile after mile of breathtaking vistas, fresh air and plenty of outdoor activities.
North Carolina is also known for its apples and fall is apple-picking season, so we were in the right place at the right time to visit Sky Top Orchard.
We picked apples, went on a hayride, ate apple donuts and drank apple slushies. The kids had the most fantastic time and it was glorious to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
So much apple-y goodness!
Read about the rest of our trip here –
Want to save this to read later? Just hover to pin the image below –Where can we go apple picking in Australia? Tasmania? It must be called the Apple Isle for a reason! I’ve heard of a spot in the Blue Mountains I think. Any recommendations?