The commonplace “It’s about a journey, not a destination,” is indeed a intelligent route-planning sequence when pushing a Blue Ridge Parkway. This National Heritage Area stretches for 469 miles from Virginia down by North Carolina, though it’s not a “point-A-to-point-B” experience. You can journey a whole parkway non-stop, or lift over each 10 miles to try – get on for a brief distance, or stay a march from a initial milepost to a last. Mileposts are numbered north-to-south, though we can expostulate south-to-north and skip nothing.
RELATED: Scenic Drives around a South
The thing is, roughly no towns are smack-dab on a Parkway. People who have driven standard American scenic byways – a ones that spin into Main Street whenever they dissect a city – competence assume, “Oh, we’ll usually lift off when something looks interesting.” That doesn’t work in this case. You have to exit around a crossover in sequence to get to a towns and cities, some of that are utterly a stretch away. It takes commitment. So as we devise your possess personal chronicle of this good American drive, check out a tip towns value a side ramble.
The northernmost must-hit scenic city is off Milepost 46. Take a Buena Vista exit and it’s reduction than 10 miles to Lexington, that experts call “the quintessential little town.” The whole downtown district is on a National Register of Historic Places, and a homogeneous state register too. Other sights embody a Stonewall Jackson House and Virginia Horse Center. Lexington is also home of a Virginia Military Institute.
Located off Milepost 120, this is where scenery, history, outdoorsy allure and out-of-date liberality all come together. Colonized in a 1740s, Roanoke developed over centuries into a bustling mid-size city. The downtown area binds mixed museums, a Historic Market District, Center in a Square and revitalized Elmwood Park, now a live song venue.
Hear a authentic sounds of Appalachia in this little city with outrageous spirit. Off Milepost 160, it is also on The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. It’s a informative hangout with a bustling live song calendar, a prominence of that is a Friday Nite Jamboree. Floyd’s also circuitously good wineries, a Meadows of Dan (Milepost 178) and Mabry Mill.
If we have an adventurer’s soul, Fancy Gap during Mile 200 is a branch indicate to a real, underdeveloped and imperishable high country. Drive 30 mins and enter Galax (pronounced gay-lawx), gateway city to a Blue Ridge Mountains. Galax is a breakwater for normal bluegrass, and home to a Old Time Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention. Outdoor adventurers can entrance New River Trail State Park from here. Otherwise, keep pushing out of Virginia and down to North Carolina….
Blowing Rock, N.C.
This is a good towering city super-conveniently usually off a parkway in North Carolina. Moses Cone a “denim king” hailed from here and left utterly a legacy. His former home is now a Parkway Crafts Center, while his nation estate has been recorded as Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. After Asheville, this is a other North Carolina city you’d really wish to spend a night in since of a selling and informal sightseeing.
Mount Airy, N.C.
It’s a bit of a trek, though normal Americana enthusiasts shouldn’t skip this town. Bluegrass, red booze and immature hills emanate a palette, while a atmosphere is best described as a reversion to days of yore. Andy Griffith grew adult here and is immortalized not usually during a Andy Griffith Museum, though in a downtown flavor. (Note: Mount Airy is a farthest side-trip from a Parkway of any city listed.)
Spruce Pine, N.C.
Although Spruce Pine is little and has usually one loyal virtuoso charity (restaurant Knife and Fork), we can logically spend a half-day in a area. It’s a former mining core with a vegetable museum and gem mining attraction. When a weather’s nice, a easy travel to Linville Falls is a renouned approach to work adult an appetite.
Nearby Spruce Pine is Little Switzerland, a anniversary cluster desirous by a Swiss Village, and scenically set 3500-4000 feet above sea level.
Asheville is a little though legit city, famous for a culinary scene, beer, song and art. The tenure Food-Topian was coined a while behind to report a mix of farm-to-fork, Southern roots and heterogeneous influx. With 18 qualification breweries, it’s famous as a qualification decoction epicenter. The university tyro participation drives a song and art scenes, while story informs a sights. Since a central Blue Ridge Parkway visitors’ core is here, it’s also a good place to get an overview of a Parkway.
Note: If a teenagers ask where Hunger Games was filmed, a answer is DuPont State Recreational Forest – closer to Asheville than anywhere else on this list, though still an hour’s drive.
Bryson City, N.C.
An apparent stop for outside adventurists roving by mid-October, Bryson City is available to fishing, whitewater, tubing creeks and family-friendly “float” rafting spots. If a weather’s too cold for swimming, book an outing on a Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – roundtrip journeys are as brief as one hour. When pushing a Parkway south to north, this is a many renouned starting point.
If you’re meddlesome in Native American culture, a city of Cherokee circuitously Bryson City is an critical stop. Notable attractions embody Oconaluftee Indian Village, an outside play opening space, and a Museum of Cherokee Indian. This is an choice southern entrance indicate to a Blue Ridge Parkway – or, from a other perspective, a happy finale to an epic drive.