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Rhododendron Ramble Begins Saturday, Grandfather Mountain’s Native Flower Sure to be a Spectacular Sight

By Mariel Gambino

May 31, 2013. Grandfather Mountain is a globally recognized nature preserve known for its majestic beauty throughout the state of North Carolina and beyond. Spring and summer bring the native flower known as the rhododendron to the mountainous terrain of Grandfather Mountain and visitors are lucky to enjoy the guided tours of the lavender-colored bloom called the Rhododendron Ramble, everyday from June 1 to 16 at 1 p.m.

catawba_rhodo_hmdSimply pulling up to the front gate of Grandfather Mountain and asking where the Rhododendron Ramble is taking place will lead to the start of the 45-minute tour. Members of the education staff lead a non-strenuous hike to the area where the rhododendron is in best in bloom.

“It’s a great thing to take advantage of if you’re up here,” said Landis Taylor, director of communications at Grandfather Mountain.

June 1 through 9 the blooms will be at the base of the mountain and during June 10 through the 16, the flowers are most beautiful by the Mile High Swinging Bridge.

Taylor described the rhododendron as absolutely beautiful and colorful. The hearty flower is around the size of a huge fist, has thick, waxy leaves and is able is able to withstand the harsh winters of the mountains. In addition to the rhododendron, gorgeous flowers such as the flame azalea and mountain laurel will bloom.

“The range in elevation is how we make this such a long event,” said Taylor. “It’s wide spread over this region in June and they’re really prevalent on the Blue Ridge Parkway as well.”

Admission for the Rhododendron Ramble is included in the regular attraction fee. Prices range from $18 per adult; $8 for children ages 4 through 12; children 4 and under are free; and seniors over 60 are $15.

For more information, call 800-468-7325 or click at http://www.grandfather.com/