Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tubing on the New River (North Carolina)

Since we moved to North Carolina over two years ago, we have done our best to explore all the cool things this state has to offer before we move again. It doesn't have 13, 000 foot peaks or big redwoods, and it does have several months in the summer when I refuse to go camping because the humidity is unbearable and the mosquitoes eat me alive. However, it doesn't mean there aren't cool things to do here! We just have to be creative and open-minded. I realized the other day that I have only ONE post about outdoor fun in North Carolina: hiking at Stone Mountain. I assure you, we've done more blog-worthy stuff in North Carolina than that! I plan to share some of our North Carolina adventures over the next couple weeks, so it doesn't seem like I'm hating on North Carolina. Mostly, I'm not!

Recently, I coordinated a weekend full of surprises for Allyson's 30th birthday. She didn't know anything except that we were going away for the weekend. The location and activities were all unknown to her until they happened. We took off on a Friday afternoon from Durham and began driving west toward Boone (named after Daniel Boone and home of Appalachian State University). When we got to Boone, we stopped at Earth Fare, a pretty awesome, organic market, for food to grill and other stuff we would need for the weekend. 

Next stop was our rental house in Todd, NC. Todd is right on the New River, which is a pretty mellow river that flows northwest toward the Mississippi (you'd be mellow too if you were the 3rd oldest river in the world!) Many places in the mountains and on the ocean in North Carolina only rent by the week, especially during the summer. I had to search for a place that would rent to us for two nights. I'm so happy that didn't mean we ended up with a lame spot. This rental house was sweet! Granted, it sleeps 11 and Allyson was a little shocked I rented as big of a house as I did, but I'll explain why later. 

The deck of our rental house

The view and the New River

It had been raining a bit while we were driving, but it cleared up and we felt like stretching our legs a bit after the long drive. The house happened to have two bikes (and kayaks and tubes for the river) and the road that travels along the river has very little traffic, so it was perfect for a bike ride. We had a great time exploring the New River on bikes. 

I do not condone riding bikes without helmets. However, the house didn't have any helmets and I didn't think to bring ours. Thankfully, there was little traffic on this road. 

After the bike ride, we spent the rest of the evening grilling and relaxing on the deck. This area of North Carolina really is beautiful. And the temperatures could not have been more pleasant. It wasn't too humid and we actually wore sweatshirts at night (very unusual in North Carolina in the summer!)

 Local North Carolina wine sold exclusively at Earth Fare 

 Asparagus inspiration

After our lovely, quiet evening, the next day we were both ready to head out onto the New River. Little did Allyson know that six of our friends were surprising Ally later on that morning. I managed to get her out on bikes again (not hard given that it was so enjoyable the evening before), so we were gone when the girls arrived at the rental house. By the time we came back, they had brunch all ready to eat and were set up in front of the door to surprise Allyson! It was perfect. She didn't have a clue!

After brunch, we headed down the road to River Girl Fishing Company, where they rent tubes for $10 a day for students (they also run guided trips down the river, but we all wanted to do this on our own). We even snagged a tube for our cooler! We put our tubes in right in Todd (right down the street from River Girl) and floated all the way back to a bridge right next to the rental house (4 hour trip). When we were done, a few of us loaded the tubes back up in our car and brought them back to River Girl, while the rest of us got dinner ready. Perfect way to spend the afternoon!

We were all pretty tired after the day on the river, so we had a mellow birthday dinner celebration at the house and spent plenty of time out on the beautiful deck.

 Another surprise! We all had tanks with a picture of Allyson when she was maybe 5. Looking good!

The next morning, we went back into Boone for brunch at Hob Nob Farm Cafe before heading back to Durham. All of us enjoyed our food and there were lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. I don't think I'm the only one that could've spent a whole week up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and right there on the New River. I sure hope we make this a yearly reunion spot!

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