When we left Roxboro, NC we drove southwest toward Ashville with the intention of going to the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway is a 469 mile drive from Cherokee, NC to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, VA. We learned there were two road closures with resulting detours in the southern end of the Parkway so we opted to join the road at mile post 331--the location of the Museum of North Carolina Minerals. (Guess we'll just have to go back to hit the southernmost portions along with the unforeseen detour we had to make for another closure north of where we got on.)
The museum was nice, but the real purpose of driving these highways is to take in the views.
|View from The Knob|
|The things you learn.|
|Historic cabins abound.|
|Root cellar below shed used for storing foodstuffs. Why can't my stone walls look this neat?|
|Other side of the cabin. love the use of the crooked tree as a corner column for the porch.|
The next morning we got back on the Parkway (in Virginia) and headed north. Soon we came across one of the most photographed sites on the Parkway: Mabry Mill at mile post 176. This mill was operated by E.B. Mabry from 1910 to 1935. Water was gathered from two small streams and directed by way of sluices to the wheel. Much of the year he ground coarse corn but in the spring, with snow melt increasing flow, he could saw wood. In addition to the mill building, there were several others that would house interpretive activities during the summer: cabin, blacksmiths, wood shop, etc.
All along the Parkway not only were the trees nearly in full leaf (although that changed as we got further north. And flowers were abundant, too. While too early for the majority of the azaleas and rhododendrons to be in flower, there were a few. Lots of wild flowers were also visible along the side of the road.
The flowers continued including this tree with purple flowers. I can't get a name to it, having discarded suggestions of honey locust and wisteria. (The former has white flowers and the latter is a vine. Still think it might be some form of locust, however.)
And the views included some burnt over areas form forest fires that spread along the ridge in April.
|View toward the Shanandoah Valley with some burn areas visible.|
|Close-up of a burned out area.|
|View to the east with some burn area in the foreground.|
As we neared the northern end of the Skyline Drive we decided to make one more stop: Luray Caverns. We got off the SD and pulled into Luray for the night planning on visiting the caverns first thing in the morning. That will have to wait for our next installment.