I couldn’t resist showing this photo from a 1950s brochure advertising Grandfather Mountain. Featuring the “Mile High Swinging Bridge,” Grandfather is thought to be made of some of the oldest rock formations in the world.
As a long time admirer of vintage travel photos, I can tell you that historically, travelers have donned some wildly inappropriate clothes and shoes over the years. Picture Victorian women climbing rocks in skirts that dragged the ground, 1920s families all decked out in Sunday best to picnic on mountain tops, and 1930s men walking the beach in full suit with tie and leather shoes.
But by 1950 our country was going casual. Would a woman have really worn heels while visiting one of the highest mountains in eastern North America?
Well, she could have, and some probably did. You see, most of the “climbing” of Grandfather Mountain is done in a car:
But the rest of the brochure shows women more realistically dressed, most wearing shorts and flats. Personally, I think that is taking the casualness a bit far. I can remember in the early to mid 1960s that the older women in my family would wear dresses with casual flats on picnic trips up the Blue Ridge Parkway and into the Smokies. Only the kids got away with shorts.
A few years ago I was in Germany at the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, which sits on a high hill and which involves quite a bit of up and downhill walking. It was a chilly September day and a woman was walking up the hill teetering on stiletto sandals. A British tour guide went up to her and chastised, “Silly, silly shoes for such a place as this.” I’m not sure she even understood him, but it sure stuck with me. I’ll never be caught wearing silly shoes on a mountain.
And as if to prove a point, I just got this too-funny-not-to-post photo from reader Lisa:
White heels AND a mink stole!