Archive for April 2011

America’s Favorite Drive

 

The Blue Ridge Manor Bed and Breakfast is located just 4 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway between mile marker 193 – 194.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s Favorite Drive which follows the Appalachian Mountain chain for seemingly endless views of parallel ranges conntected by cross ranges and scattered hills.  From Shenandoah National Park the parkway follows the Blue Ridge, eastern rampart of the Appalachians, for 355 miles. For the remaining 114 miles it first skirts the southern end of the massive Black Mountains, named for the dark green spruce and fir that cover them. Then it weaves through the Craggies, the Pisgahs, the Balsams to end up in the Great Smokies.

There is abundant wildlife along the parkway. When the Sun is high groundhogs sit erect, and chipmunks and squirrels chitter and chatter. At night skunks, foxes, opossums, and raccoons are seen along roadsides. Look for white-tailed deer, turkeys, and black bears in early morning or evening.

The southern Appalachian Mountains’ diverse history and culture are described at many overlooks and facilities along the parkway, including Humpback Rocks, Peaks of Otter, Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Music Center, Brinegar Cabin, Northwest Trading Post, and the Parkway Craft Center at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

Blue Ridge Parkway is one of over 390 parks in the National Park System. The National Park Service cares for these special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. Visit www.nps.gov to learn more about parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities.

Blue Ridge Parkway Highlights Virginia

Mile Posts mark each mile of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mile Post or (MP for short) 0 is located at te entrance to the Syline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park Va. MP 469 is located at the Cherokee Indian Reservation in The Great Smoky Mountains North Carolina

Mile 0 Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, Va., is the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To the north the parkway connects directly to Skyline Drive, which winds 105 miles north through Shenandoah National Park. U.S. 250 and 1-64 take you to Charlottesville to the east or Staunton to the west.

5 to 9.3 Humpback Rocks has a self-guiding trail through a collection of old Appalachian farm buildings. A hiking trail from the parking area (at mile 6.1) leads 0.75 mile to The Rocks, whose humped appearance gives the area its name. Greenstone self-guiding trail (8.8).

10.7 Ravens Roost offers vistas of Torry Mountain and Shenandoah Valley to the west.

16 Sherando Lake is a recreation area in George Washington National Forest 4.5 miles from the parkway via Va. 814. Swimming, picnicking, and camping. Fees charged.

29 Whetstone Ridge gave many a mountain man a fine-grained sharpening stone

34.4 Yankee Horse Ridge is where a hard-riding Union soldier’s horse fell and supposedly had to be shot. Walk to Wigwam Falls to see a reconstructed spur of an old logging railroad

58 to 63.6 Otter Creek tumbles 10 miles down the Blue Ridge to the James River.
Otter Lake (63.1) fishing, trail.

63.8 James River and the Kanawha Canal is where a footbridge leads across the river to the restored canal locks and exhibits. A self-guiding trail follows the river bluff.

71 Petites Gap is named for a local family. The road to the west goes to Cave Mountain Lake, seven miles away, in Jefferson National Forest. Swimming, picnicking, camping.

83.4 Fallingwater Cascades can be seen along a 1.6-mile loop trail.

84 to 87 Peaks of Otter’s spectacular views have been popular since the days of Thomas Jefferson. A shuttle bus provides service to Sharp Top. Fee charged.

114.9 Roanoke River Gorge opens before you from the overlook, after a 10-minute walk.

115.1 Virginia’s Explore Park celebrates the state’s role in Westward Expansion. Historic buildings, exhibits, and demonstrations. Fee charged.

120.4 Roanoke Mountain is a 3.7-mile side trip. The one-way loop road takes you over the mountain for impressive views. Steep grades; towed vehicles prohibited.

129.6 Roanoke Valley Overlook gives a view of the largest community along the parkway. Reach the city via U.S. 220 (at milepost 121), Va. 24 (at 112), and U.S. 460 (at 105).

154.5 Smart View is just that; go to the Trail Cabin built in the 1890s and you’ll see smart view,” especially in early May when the dogwood trees bloom.

167 to 174 Rocky Knob rises like the cresting of a wave to overlook Rock Castle Gorge.

176.1 Mabry Mill was run by E.B. Mabry from 1910 to 1935. A trail leads you to his gristmill, sawmill, and blacksmith shop and to other exhibits. Old-time skills are demonstrated in the summer and fall.

188.8 Groundhog Mountain is a good place to see different kinds of rural fences: snake, post and rail, picket, and buck. Picnic grounds and observation tower.

213 Blue Ridge Music Center celebrates Blue Ridge music and musicians, a significant strand of American musical culture alive and thriving in the region. Includes a visitor center, museum, outdoor amphitheater, and trails. For program listings visit www.blueridgemusiccenter.org

Blue Ridge Parkway Highlights North Carolina

Mile 217.5 Cumberland Knob, at 2,885 feet, is a delightful spot to walk through fields and woodlands.218.6 Fox Hunters Paradise, a 10-minute walk, is where hunters could listen to their hounds baying in the valley below.238.5 Brinegar Cabin was built by Martin Brinegar about 1880 and lived in until the 1930s when the homestead was purchased from his widow for the parkway. The original cabin stands here today.238.5 to 244.7 Doughton Park was named for Congressman Robert L. Doughton, a staunch supporter and neighbor of the parkway. One of the best places to see deer. Campground.

258.6 Northwest Trading Post offers crafts from North Carolina’s northwestern counties.260.6 Jumpinoff Rock, at the end of a short woodland trail, offers a beautiful vista264.4 The Lump provides sweeping views of the forested foothills.272 E.B. Jeffress Park has a self-guiding trail to the Cascades. Another trail goes to the old cabin and church.285.1 Daniel Boone’s Trace, which Boone blazed to the West, crosses near here.292 to 295 Moses H. Cone Memorial Park has hiking and horse trails. Flat Top Manor houses the parkway craft center, Fishing.

295.1 to 298 Julian Price Memorial Park, an insurance executive’s former retreat, offers a variety of short trails and a lake.304.4 Linn Cove Viaduct, a design and engineering marvel, skirts the side of Grandfather Mountain. Visitor center and trails.308.3 Flat Rock is well worth the walk for the superb view of Grandfather Mountain and Linville Valley.316.3 Linville Falls roars through a dramatic, rugged gorge. Trails to overlooks.320.7 Chestoa View trail provides outstanding scenery.331 Museum of North Carolina Minerals interprets the state’s mineral wealth with interactive exhibits.

339.5 Crabtree Meadows Walk to Crabtree Falls. Campground.355.4 Mount Mitchell State Park, reached via N.C. 128, has a picnic area, lookout tower, and the highest point east of the Mississippi River.363.4 to 369.6 Craggy Gardens seem to be covered with purple rhododendrons in mid-to late June. Craggy Pinnacle Trail and other trails (364.1 and 364.6); road to picnic area and trails (367.6).382 The Folk Art Center offers sales and ex¬hibits of traditional and contemporary crafts of the Appalachian region. Interpretive programs, gallery, and library.384 Destination Center offers a film, exhibits, and overview of the Blue Ridge National Heritage area and the parkway.
451.2 Waterrock Knob affords a panorama of the Great Smokies. Visitor center, trail, comfort station, exhibits.458.2 Heintooga Overlook spur road takes you to a mile-high overlook 1.3 miles from the parkway.Mile 469 Southern End of the Blue Ridge Parkway intersects U.S. 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Reservation.

408.6 Mount Pisgah was part of the Biltmore Estate. The estate became the home of the first forestry school in America as well as the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest.

422.4 Devils Courthouse is a rugged, exposed mountaintop rich in Cherokee traditions. A walk to its bare rock summit rewards you with a spectacular view of Pisgah National Forest.

431 Richland Balsam self-guiding trail takes you through a remnant spruce-fir forest. The highest point on the parkway, 6,074 feet.

HoustonFest May 6 – 7

May 6 – 7  Felts Park –  Galax, Virginia will host the 1st Annual HoustonFest a celebration of song and service.

HEADLINERS

John Berry * Blue Highway * Cherryholmes * Darrell Webb Band * Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time * Mountain Heart * Sierra Hull & Highway 111 * Ron Block * Wayne Henderson * Jeanette & Johnny * Big Country Bluegrass