Day: July 26, 2011

The Iron Mountain Inn

We were definitely relieved when we crossed into Butler, Tennessee and started along the rambling farmlands leading up to the Iron Mountain Inn.  We passed many farms and some gorgeous mountain vistas during this part of the drive.

Earlier this year LivingSocial posted a deal for two nights at the Iron Mountain Inn, with breakfast included both mornings and dinner included one night.  I’d been wanting to take a getaway weekend vacation for a bit and so I jumped on the deal.  I’m not sure Vikki, the innkeeper, was prepared for the onslaught of interest she received from LivingSocial!  It took me a bit to finally track someone down to make a reservation and in May I was told that the weekend in June I’d reserved had been double-booked.  Luckily it wasn’t a huge issue for us to change weekends, and Vikki was kind enough to throw in a free night for our troubles.  The inn had great reviews on TripAdvisor, so I was hoping that the reservation confusion would be the only inconvenience regarding our stay.

Luckily I was right and we had no other issues with the inn.  Vikki runs the whole operation by herself, so it is understandable that there’d be some issues with all the reservations.  If she does another LivingSocial deal in the future she should totally hire someone to help her out.  The Iron Mountain Inn itself, however, was gorgeous and relaxing!


Dark Ridge Road: A Journey Into the Unknown, Courtesy of Googlemaps

We left Grandfather Mountain and I quickly pulled out the Googlemaps directions I’d printed out in anticipation for minimal cell phone reception in the mountains.  The directions were really convoluted, with turns every other mile and a general lack of heavy-traffic roads.  This made me a bit nervous, but we decided to embrace the adventure and go with it.

The drive started simply enough.  We headed back towards Linville and then drove through Banner Elk, North Carolina, which was an adorable mountain town.  I was hoping to return and explore the town sometime during our trip, but we were so traumatized by the following journey that we never retraced our steps.  Point is, check out Banner Elk, it is cute.

We drove up and down a road with number of chichi developments and a private airstrip several times before finally finding our very mislabeled turn off.  I need to note here that we had absolutely no cell phone reception and, therefore, no way of re-mapping our route.  We turned onto Sam Eller Road and immediately felt a bit uneasy.  Gone were the chichi semi-city developments and the straight, level road.  We were going up, up, up a twisty, wooded mountain road and the homes and the people we saw were getting more and more dilapidated.  We pulled to the side a few times to stare at a map and a man in a truck stopped to ask us if we needed help, but he was the last “normal” person we saw before we turned onto…

Dark Ridge Road.