Escape and Unwind by Traveling to These 5 Places
When one day blurs into the next and your coffee sits cold on your desk, you may begin to long for country roads to help reconnect to your inner self. At home, after a long day, you wind down by doing yoga, binge watching T.V. or enjoying a glass of wine. You seek whatever simple pleasures you can find.
But there’s something about the way mountains, meadows and farms stretch out over vast landscapes that soothes the soul and widens the world with wonder.
Escape and unwind by taking a road trip on a winding country road to these 5 rural destinations:
1. Lover’s Leap in Virginia
“Virginia is for Lovers” says the large road sign as you cross the border into the state. The roads coil slowly upward like something alive, as the foothills flirt with daring cliffs. With stunning views from high precipices, Lover’s Leap winds through Patrick Country, Virginia and is located in Meadows of Dan, close to the North Carolina border. A sad tale surrounds the site: two lovers — a settler and Chief’s daughter — chose to be together in death, much like Romeo and Juliet.
Also located in Meadows of Dan are farms, craft shops and botanical gardens. Wander down to Henriedda Crafters to enjoy nostalgic crafts and stroll through nature at Dehart Botanical Gardens.
2. Amish Country in Indiana
For a return to simplicity, escape to Amish country in Indiana, where five locations make up the top ten settlements by Amish church districts: Allen County, Daviess County, Adams County, Elkhart County and Lagrange County. The latter two make up the largest Amish settlement in the state. The settlements have Swiss roots, but there are differences in the communities, as some are more conservative and have various types of carriages due to slightly different practices.
In Elkhart county, visit Nappanee to try the delicious, traditional food at Threshers Dinner, where the threshers would gather every season to separate wheat grain from chaff. Stay at The Inn at Amish Acres, which is central to many of the area’s attractions.
3. Kayaking and Whale Watching in Washington
It doesn’t get more picturesque than the small town of Port Townsend, Washington, especially if you like to be close to the water. With around 10,000 residents, this adorable town has a rich maritime history set on the northeast point of the Olympic Peninsula. Victorian homes and architecture dot the area. Residents and tourists alike enjoy kayaking and whale watching.
On rainy days, enjoy the rural pastime of antiquing, and listen to musicians play as you taste the wide selection of cuisine. Try the seafood at Doc’s Marina Grill or the breakfast at Hudson Point Cafe.
4. Go Back in Time in Washington
Washington makes the list twice thanks to the ridiculously charming town of Leavenworth, which was modeled after a Bavarian village nestled in the countryside among the mountains. The town offers that Old Europe feel as you stroll from shop to restaurant.
Leavenworth has geocaching, an outdoor theatre, soothing spas, wine tours and museums. Take your pick of delicious produce at the farmers’ markets, experience a cooking class, win at trivia or dance to live bluegrass. Head to Leavenworth when you need a taste of Europe and a beautiful view of the countryside.
5. Toast to the Yadkin Wine Trail in North Carolina
The Yadkin Wine Trail is as delicious as it sounds, with over forty operating vineyards and wineries and more set to open soon. Raffaldini Vineyards and Childress Vineyards are the namesakes of the area, but Shadow Springs deserves a visit for its sumptuous French Kiss wine, created by mixing their Strawberry Shortcake and Dark Shadow wines.
North Carolina is home to the native muscadine grape, and Yadkin County has experienced a renaissance in the last decade or two when it comes to the arts and wine. Enjoy home cooking, like shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy after exploring the wine of Yadkin County.
The Yadkin River stretches 215 miles throughout the area up to the Blue Ridge Mountains, inviting you to dip your toes in the water with fishing or kayaking.
From the daring cliffs of Lover’s Leap, to the simplicity of Amish Country, to following the great Yadkin Wine Trail, let the countryside take you home in a way you haven’t been in a long time. Winding rural roads soothe the mind, body and soul, while teaching travelers the lessons of endurance, patience and simple joys.