This Is Sparta! (North Carolina)

As some of you already know I took a spontaneous trip to Sparta, NC towards the end of June. Sparta is a small town on the northern country side of North Carolina up in the mountains. It was amazing. I felt like I was stepping into another world. Sparta feels a lot more like the country side of Europe than the States. But what does this South Floridian really know?

I haven’t traveled much yet, but I really want to. The experience of venturing into unfamiliar places and getting a taste of what life is like for others is priceless. I hope to be able to travel more in the years to come.

Sparta vacation vlog

For a video highlight reel of my trip, check out my vlog above. Otherwise, stick around for details from my trip!

On Monday, June 17th at around 5am my mom, uncle, aunt, and I started the drive up to Sparta. We made a few stops to eat, but for the most part went straight up. We arrived at around 7pm and relaxed for the evening.

A photo of me (right) and my mom (left) smiling into the camera. My mom has her right hand on my shoulder and we are sitting in Cracker Barrel Country Store in northern Florida.

On Tuesday we visited the Linville Caverns. It was quite the experience. I’d say the highlight of that adventure was being able to experience total darkness. Our tour guide explained that our eyes are constantly adjusting to the light around us, even at night. That’s why we can see, although limited, in the dark. In total darkness, however, you can’t even see your hand in front of you. So when she turned off the lights in the cavern where there were no other light sources we saw, or rather didn’t see, what total darkness is like. Eerie, but really fucking cool.

A photo of one of the cavern’s inner walls. The rock formations have gaps and holes, and the water under the manmade bridge is flowing in from the creek outside.

She also explained that if someone were trapped in total darkness for an extended time they would eventually go blind, but it’d hardly matter because they’d probably go insane first due to sensory deprivation. This information, she said, is from doctors and psychologists who have speculated on what would happen. I don’t know exactly where to fact check it, but here’s one article.

After our cavern tour we came back out into the warm sunshine and saw Linville’s beautiful creek that flows into the cavern. The sound of the water sliding over the creek rocks was so soothing. I honestly wanted to step into the creek and just sit there all day.

A photo of my mom (right) and I (left) from the shoulders up standing in front of the Linville Creek and smiling at the camera.

The following day my mom and I took a stroll around Sparta. The mountain homes are so cozy and welcoming with forest views for miles. And let me tell you, with the ups and downs of this mountain town I felt like I was hiking rather than walking. Leave this flatland girl in Sparta for a year and I’ll show you the sexiest legs I’ve ever had! Honestly, who needs a gym membership when your own neighborhood is scenic and challenging to explore?

A photo of three brownish0gray houses at the top of a hill surrounded by trees. The sky is cloudy and there is a single paved road leading up to the houses.

We had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, La Mexican Grill, that evening where I had the most delicious veggie fajitas I’ve ever tasted. Upon request they prepared my veggies in oil instead of butter and subbed the meat for broccoli. The dish was savory and filling! I had to take some to go!

Thursday my mom and I had a mother daughter day. We went to a nearby vineyard and had refreshing orange infused wine. At the vineyard we met two adorable pups! One of them, Bandit, was herding some cows as we drove down to park which was a fun sight for this city girl.

We also met a family that had recently moved to North Carolina from South Florida, and they confirmed all my thoughts so far: North Carolina is a much better place to live! No offense, Miami. You’ll always be home, but I think I’ve outgrown you.

Anyway, the boy in this family had just rescued a small turtle from the road and the little creature seemed oddly fond of me. They (not sure the sex) were on the table I was sitting at and just kept crawling towards me, basically forcing me to carry them before they walked off the table. Do you think animals can sense if someone’s vegan? At any rate, I had half a mind to adopt the little one, but I showed self restraint.

After the vineyard my mom and I drove up Blue Ridge Parkway to explore. We came upon a historic cabin that belonged to the Brinegar family. We were going to check it out right away, but noticed a hiking trail off the side of the parking lot calling our names.

A panoramic photo of the Blue Ridge trail we hiked. The trail is clay colored and surrounded by short plants and tall trees.

I cannot begin to describe the enchanting sensation of walking through tall trees and foliage with cool breezes humming through the leaves in harmony with the birds. It’s a pastime I would gladly do every week. Hell, I’d probably do it every day if I could.

After our hike we explored the cabin grounds (the cabin itself was locked but we could look through the windows). There wasn’t much to see, but the information posts gave us an idea of life was like for them in the late 1800s.

We made our way back to my uncle’s house after that and had a relaxing evening. The following day, however, had another exciting adventure.

I went zip-lining for the first time ever.

It is SO much fun to strap on a harness and slide down lines over trees, creeks, and open grass. Absolutely exhilarating. I can’t wait to do it again!

The following day we relaxed in the house where this bibliophile was able to read most of the day. I also made my Hamilton Immigrants shirt design. So it was chill, but still pretty productive.

On Saturday, the 23rd, we went to the local thrift store and made out like bandits. I spent less than $20 and got two skirts, two dresses, two shirts, a pair of shorts, leggings, and four cereal bowls. Yeah, I love it there.

The rest of the trip was pretty relaxed as well. I finished reading The Martian (a different read for me, but I really enjoyed it) and on Tuesday we drove to Charlotte for me to catch an early flight back home. I left earlier than my family so that I could be home for my husband’s birthday.

Overall, my trip to North Carolina was a beautiful escape. I can imagine what life must be like there, always peaceful and surrounded by nature. I am already planning to go back, but this time with my hubby and pup!

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