Appalachian Region was finally able to return to the road again after the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order was lifted.  

There was still a restriction of only 24 people allowed in an outdoor gathering so Troyer’s Country Amish Blatz was chosen as the dining destination since they offer an outdoor picnic area that could seat 24 at the correct socially distant 6’ separation.  The route was then designed around how to get to Troyer’s in Fairview on some interesting roads.

Vice President and Events Director Jim Moore designed a route starting in Flat Rock and then driving to the southern border of the region through the Green River Gorge.  Not many members had experienced the Green River Switchbacks that are some of the steepest, sharpest switchbacks in the region.  Passengers held on tight and Dramamine might have been passed around in order to make a more enjoyable drive in the second seat.  Drivers loved the challenge.

The response to this drive was overwhelming.  It was originally planned to be one drive group of 14 cars with 24 people.  The registration sold out in under an hour so it was decided to open a second drive group leaving an hour and a half later.  This group sold out quickly too. Everyone was clearly ready to hit the road again.

What was most surprising was the number of new members that experienced their first drive with the Appalachian Region.  We had eleven new members in seven cars, plus seven members we hadn’t seen on a drive in a year or two.  Every one was clearly ready to get out and socialize.

The drive was broken up into two legs.  The first leg was a 50-minute drive from Flat Rock through the Green River Gorge to Lake Lure.  After a 20-minute break the groups left Lake Lure on the Black Mountain Rag Scenic Byway taking the cars through Chimney Rock to Black Mountain with a final stop at Troyer’s Country Amish Blatz for a picnic lunch of deli sandwiches, chips, a cookie and a soda.

Everyone seemed to enjoy seeing old friends and making new friends.  After lunch many people wandered into the Amish Market to pick up some delicacies, especially the chocolate caramels recommended by President Don Therien.

We have two great events coming up in July and August.  On Wednesday, July 22 we will leave from the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center and drive up the Parkway with a planned stop at Mt Mitchell.  From Mt Mitchell we’ll proceed up the Parkway to connect with route 80, The Devil’s Whip for an exciting drive down 50 twists and turns.  The drive ends in Bostic, NC.  There are several options after the tour ends in Bostic; you can tour the Blue Ridge Distillery and/or join other members for lunch.  Registration will open on July 8, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

The August drive event takes the region to the famous Tail of the Dragon on Wednesday, August 12.  We’ll meet at 9:30 am at Fontana Dam (note: this is two hours from Asheville) that offers spectacular vistas of this historically significant TVA project. At 10:00 we’ll hit the road to Tail of the Dragon to make two passes on this famous sports car paradise.  Lunch will follow at 11:30 am at the beautiful Tapoco Lodge where we’ll be seated along the rushing Cheoah River.

If you choose to pass on the Tail of the Dragon drives but want to enjoy lunch at the spectacular Tapoco Lodge riverside café, we have a Lunch Ramble planned with seating at 1:00 pm.

Registration for the Tail of the Dragon drive and Tapoco Lunch Ramble is not open yet.  Registration will open on July 23 at 12:00 p.m.

See you on the road!

Videos of the Drive

Drive Group One Driving the Black Mountain Rag Scenic Byway NC-9section of the drive:

Drive Group Two Arriving at Troyer’s:

Timelapse Film Driving the Green River Gorge:

To pause the slideshow, place the cursor on or below the image.

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