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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Part 1

After a day spent driving the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, followed by three days driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina, we spent a week in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, in a rented cabin that had neither cell phone service nor internet service.

But I'm back now and will be trying to catch up on blog reading and commenting over the next few days. Please be patient with me.

My last post contained some highlights of our trip down Skyline Drive. Today's post will introduce you to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Though not a national park, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Scenic Byway and is the most visited unit in the United States National Park System. Running for 469 miles, mostly along the ridge of the Blue Ridge mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. It's a winding two-lane road, with a maximum speed limit of 45 miles per hour but which is best traveled at a much lower average speed. There are many scenic overlooks, of course; but there are also many opportunities for getting out of your vehicle and exploring the area on foot.

This was our first trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we decided to make it sort of a get-acquainted tour, rather than an in-depth exploration. That was just as well because we were actually traveling the route a little too early in the year. Many of the attractions and facilities had not yet opened for the season. So there was much that we didn't see. But what we did see was pretty impressive.

IMG_4724_Ravens_Roost_Overlook
View from Ravens Roost Overlook
Sitting behind the wheel of a car for extended periods of time just wears Doug out. So we looked for things to do along the way that would allow us to get out and stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery up close and personal. One of those involved a short side trip to Crabtree Falls in Virginia.

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Crabtree Falls (in Virginia)

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Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook

IMG_4753_4751_Otter_Lake_Dam
Otter Lake Dam

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James River
The James River flows from the mountains through Lynchburg and Roanoke to the coast. It's the largest river in Virginia and, historically, one of the state's most important transportation corridors. A restored lock is on display at this site, providing an interesting look into the river's past.

IMG_4763_James_River_Bridge
James River Bridge (with a footbridge underneath the surface used by vehicles)

I hope you've enjoyed this introduction to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll have more to share in a future post.

 

10 comments:

  1. the falls are gorgeous! but the tree in the first shot has my vote for magnificent!

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  2. That area is so scenic. Your pictures are amazing.

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  3. Your beautiful pictures make me want to drag my easel outside to paint the miracle of nature.

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  4. It sure looks like a lovely area, Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed. And we in turn will also enjoy through your lovely photos.

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  5. Hi Linda, Makes me want to go back there again and again...

    We walked on that footbridge at the James River. Neat!!!

    Everything looked familiar except the Crabtree Falls. We'll have to check that one out sometime. Beautiful waterfall.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  6. What a lovely area Linda, I thought back of my first time exploring this area.

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  7. Theresa - Thanks. The "falls" were actually a man-made dam, but they really were pretty.

    Ruth - Thanks so much.

    Stephen - I confess that I envy artists like yourself who have the skill to capture the beauty of God's creation on canvas.

    Hilary - Thanks for the kind words.

    Betsy - You can see in the waterfall photo that there were some higher cascades. We didn't walk up that far, but there is a trail to them. I'm sure George would have gone up there. :)

    Steve - It's a pretty neat place, with lots of things to see and do along the way.

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  8. Breathtaking scenery Linda.
    I can't get my head round '469 miles'! Amazing.

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  9. The pictures of the flowers and flowering trees took my breath away, and now we don't need to drive the parkway because your pictures were so explicit. Hope you had a great trip and glad you are home safe. I am sending a card today inviting you to a Woody Wright Concert (part of the Gaither's) in concert at our church Sunday, May 6th. Hope you can come in the evening.

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  10. Thanks, Keith. We tend to take our wide open spaces for granted sometimes.

    Thank you, KD. Seeing it in person beats seeing it in photos, though. :)

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