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Over the Mountain & Through the Woods

A Day Trip to Cedar Mountain

 

The weeks after Labor Day are some of our favorites of the year. The Summer heat relinquishes control over the days and we anxiously monitor the forecast for temperatures that start with six or seven. Eternally impatient, I start seeking Fall well before cooler temperatures reach our home in South Carolina's foothills. By the end of August, I am suggesting every reason under the broiling lowland sun to make the hour trip over Caesar's Head to one of our favorite Appalachian nooks - Cedar Mountain, NC and the surrounding Dupont State Forest.


Image Above: DuPont State Forest, a little later in the year


When making the trek this time of year, it is worth a stop at the Caesar's Head State Park overlook, a rock outcropping with incredible long range views that extend into North Carolina and Georgia. From September to November every year, bird nerds can participate in the annual Hawk Watch program and watch from the overlook as Broad-Winged Hawks, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and other raptors make their way to Central and South America for the Winter.


Image Above: Foggy day at the Caesar's Head Overlook


We love some places for their vigor and others for their calm. Cedar Mountain is one of the latter locales. We discovered the town (here, I use the term loosely) when Calvin was engaged to design a modern mountain forever home for clients who are now dear friends. On a hot Summer weekend day, we would find ourselves making a site visit just to cool off amongst the rhododendron lined hillsides, cut by tumbling streams.


Image Above: One of our favorite hidden DuPont waterfalls


We enjoyed many a Saturday Cobb salad at Cedar Mountain Café - their sweet potato waffle fries alone worth the drive. Or, we might stop for picnic supplies at nearby Whistlestop Market, a roadside stand and grocery with a fantastic selection of locally sourced and organic gourmet foods as well as a fabulous wine shop. Last year, we sourced our giant Halloween pumpkin AND our Christmas party oysters from Whistlestop.


Image Above: Cedar Mountain Café


The town of Cedar Mountain is surrounded by Dupont State Forest, which features some of our favorite hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and gravel roads - to scratch that 4x4 itch. On our day trips we typically park at the Corn Mill Shoals Access and cross the road to start at the Corn Mill Shoals Trail Head. If you're looking for an easy hike, stay on the Corn Mill Shoals Trail until you reach the river crossing, where there are plenty of perfect rocks to enjoy your picnic. If you're looking for a challenge, you can turn onto Big Rock Trail, which will eventually reward you with beautiful long range views.


Image Above: View from Big Rock Trail


By the end of 2019, we were so enamored with the offerings of this tiny mountain town, we bought a small piece of it - an acre of cascading rhododendron and mountain laurel, watched over by towering white pines, nourished by a cool stream as it falls over root and rock to compose the soundtrack of life in the mountains.


Image Above: Towering pines at the Cedar Mountain land


In October, Calvin Wright Spaces, LLC will release our next plan set, inspired by the region and this acre of mountain escape. If you're considering a day trip soon, perhaps when the South Carolina Upstate relapses to 90 degree highs, I suggest a trip over Caesar's Head to Cedar Mountain and DuPont State Forest for a sweet potato fry and a slice of calm.


Image Above: Ando helping us dream and scheme at the Cedar Mountain land


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