Less than 10 miles to the east from where the coach is parked is the remarkably named settlement of Bat Cave.
Blink, and you’ve missed it. The namesake cave is not publicly identified, although it is the largest granite fissure cave in North America. It is closed to the public, in order to avoid spreading a disease that affects the particular specie of bat that makes its home there.
But the few blocks of town are located on the banks of the Broad River, and the setting is memorable.
With not much reason to stop, you keep going, following the winding road alongside the river, and within 6 miles you have encountered the small towns of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.
Chimney Rock is named for the impressive granite structure that towers over the town. Lake Lure is named for…Lake Lure, a lake created by a dam across the Broad River.
Together, these three tiny, classic North Carolina towns offer quite an eyeful of gorgeous mountain scenery.
The Chimney Rock edifice is the focus of a State Park. We chose to pay the fee on a cloudless day, so we could climb the mountain and take in the 75 mile view.