Every Back Road Tells A Story

You know those squirrel-loving, tree-hugging, maple syrup-swilling types? That’s not me.

Well, it’s not exactly me.

You see, I love hair and makeup and jewelry and nice clothes. But I’m also a nature girl. As a kid, I’d get summoned to help the family work in the yard. My mother used to accuse me of looking like I stepped out of a Lands’ End catalog. I wasn’t dressed inappropriately. I just liked to match, even when dirty grunt work was involved.

And so begins the conundrum of my life. I love the outdoors but I don’t like weather extremes. I love to hike but would rather sleep in the Ritz Carlton than in a tent. I love the scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway but prefer it from inside my climate-controlled vehicle.

So how perfect is it that Toyota and Audubon have created a pledge asking you to Exit the Highway?

This summer, they’re asking you to take the pledge to get off the highway literally. Take the back roads. Take a scenic route. But take the time to look around.

Here’s why (in my opinion):

  • It’s usually a whole lot prettier.
  • The speed limits are generally slower (slower driving = more relaxed driver).
  • Those little out of the way shops and restaurants that have the best lemon meringue pie in the world? They’re usually found on some back road tucked away.
  • It’s nostalgic. You can often find the land that time forgot. I did this plenty in North Carolina and found out why so many period pieces are filmed there.
  • It’s fun driving. If you really enjoy driving (like me, especially with my new car), you’ll find curvy roads banked just right for some sporty driving.
  • You need to put your top down once in a while, metaphorically speaking. If you have a convertible, I suppose I mean that literally. Or you can put the windows down and open the sunroof and enjoy some fresh air.
  • See nature and stuff. As a nature girl, I can assure you that your view of wildlife increases exponentially the further you get from the highway.
  • Discover unusual tourist attractions. Right near my house is one of only 6 aluminum bridges in the United States. A feat of engineering on a back road.

Last week, I had a coffee date in a town about a half hour away. I was running late (as usual) and it was raining so I took the fastest means possible to get there. Namely, the highway.

On the way back, I had my son in the car with me and he’s actually been asking me to explore some of the road in our newly adopted state. So on the way back, we took the slow way. Did we discover anything amazing?

As you can see from my photos*, it was a rainy day through beautiful farm country. We saw old barns and cows and little tiny restaurants along the way. And we actually had some good conversation in the car.

(*Side note: Taking pictures with your iPhone while you’re driving on twisty country roads in the rain is NOT a good idea. Lesson learned.)

I love to explore back roads and plan to do more of it especially as fall approaches and starts to change the color of the scenery. And I’m excited I have a whole state to rediscover.

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.

  • Anne

    I love the back roads in the part of Maryland – I took back ways to and from our coffee date.  ;)  The only problem is I’m convinced that one of these days I’m going to run my car off the road rubber-necking real estate.

    • FadraN

      I’ve had a few mishaps getting distracted just by scenery! But the part of Maryland I live in is so pretty. I can’t wait for fall exploring!

  • Mylife Onestoryatatime

    That is so interesting that there is actually a pledge to take the backroads. Hubby and I have done that for years. We ended up on the northern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway – Skyline Drive in a snow storm because of it. It was gorgeous but frightening (for two Southerners). We always meander our way across the country,  BUT on the way back home, Hubby has been known to drive 18 hours straight to sleep in his own bed. :)  Enjoy your adventures.

    • FadraN

      My husband and I did that on our honeymoon (and since then). But we took the back way from Monterey up to our B&B in Sonoma. We only found out the next day we drove on the PCH. It was at night so we missed all the gorgeous scenery. But on the other hand, had we known one false turn and we would plummet to the ocean, we might have been scared!

  • Melissa_FillingOurBucket

    Fun! When we went to Vermont earlier this month, we got off the highway a few times in little towns so the little man had a chance to get out of the car seat and run around, grab some lunch, etc. I loved it! It took us way longer to get to our destination than it would have if it were just the two of us, but having that leisurely time to just explore was really nice!

    • FadraN

      I understand the need to get to where you need to go, especially if it’s a long road trip. But we did that with Evan once and ended up at an old train depot in Virginia. Evan got to see a train up close and personal and hear how loud it was! And we enjoyed a nice break in a scenic town.