Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Part 3

Brown Thrasher
This Brown Thrasher should have been included in the previous post because it was near the end of our driving day on April 16, when we found him singing happily from the top of a dead tree at the Pine Tree Overlook. Brown Thrashers are a type of mockingbird, belting out the calls of a wide variety of other birds. This one had a wonderful repertoire and was giving us a excellent concert. He was startled away by the arrival of a large crow, but he returned to his spot in the dead tree as soon as the crow had left the area, picking right up with his mimicry of virtually every bird in the area.

There weren't many special features to enjoy on our second day's drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, on April 17th, other than the scenic overlooks. The attractions that we had on our list to visit were all closed, not having opened yet for the season.

Although the facilities at Mabry Mill were closed, we we were still able to walk through the area and view the old buildings and equipment. The mill itself is very picturesque, situated as it is next to a small pond and reflecting in the water.

Mabry Mill
Since so many of the facilities along the Parkway were closed, we couldn't find restrooms. We wound up turning aside at Fancy Gap, NC. After using the restrooms at a gas station there, we went in search of a restaurant. Just past the bridge that led back onto the Parkway, there was an antique shop and a little deli. I think it was called Treasure Potts. Anyway, the daily special at the deli was a Monte Cristo sandwich, with chips and a pickle; and it was delicious. We may never be back in that area; but, if we were, we'd put that stop on our agenda.

The Parkway was closed between Mileposts 217 and 245, so we exited at Sparta, North Carolina. It was a little early in the afternoon to stop for the day, so we decided to drive on to Boone and spend the night there.

During the night, there were thunderstorms and heavy rains. As a result, there was fog on the Parkway the next morning, April 18th. Signs on the Parkway warn against traveling that road during fog, ice, or snow conditions; but we told ourselves that the fog would most likely clear up shortly. (We sometimes deceive ourselves.)

We entered the Parkway that morning at Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Initially, the fog wasn't too bad, so we kept going. The heavy rains of the night before had created waterfalls where there probably hadn't been waterfalls before. 

Cascade at Rough Ridge Overlook

Roadside waterfall near Linville, NC
But then the fog became pretty thick, making driving the winding road more difficult and the signs at the overlooks the only things to be photographed.

Glassmine Falls Overlook

This was the view as we exited a tunnel.

This was shot through the rain-spotted windshield, in an area where the fog had lifted a bit.

A wet wild turky scurrying off the roadway into the shelter of the woods
We decided to end our drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway at Asheville, North Carolina, even though it meant that we would miss the last 75-100 miles of its famous scenery. We left the Parkway at Asheville and headed for our rented cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Someday, we hope to cover those last miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, from the other end.


  1. N Carolina sounds fun.I would like that Monte Cristo, I always look for a good one.The fog shots were real fun.

  2. Oh ---sorry about the fog... We've been on the parkway when there was fog before --but never after a heavy rain... You got to see waterfalls where there are usually no waterfalls... Love it!!!!

    Did you stop at Craggy Gardens? Maybe you had fog there. That is my favorite area on the parkway near Asheville.


  3. Such a lush part of the country. I live in the drippy Northwest so I've had enough of fog and rain, but the area you've photographed so well certainly looks inviting.

  4. that fog looked pretty intense - but not fun for driving. love that mill shot!!!

  5. Beautiful shots, Linda. That bird sounds so entertaining. I would have loved to have heard it. We have mockingbirds here, but they always stare at me in silence.

    Love the foggy emergence from the tunnel, though I'm sure it was not fun driving through it.

  6. Steve - If you ever get to Fancy Gap, NC, check out that deli and order the Monte Cristo, whether it's the special that day or not. :)

    Betsy - Of course, we couldn't be sure that those waterfalls hadn't been there before, but there was no mention of them in the tour guide we had. Unfortunately, Craggy Gardens hadn't yet opened for the season, so we missed seeing that.

    Stephen - Thanks always for the kind words. I suppose we all occasionally tire of the climates we live in, but I'm sure your area has its good qualities. I've never been to your area, but I'd like to get out there some day.

    Theresa - It's hard to take a bad picture of that's so photogenic. :)

    Hilary - I love mockingbirds. But don't you wonder how they communicate with each other? :)

    Poor Doug was the driver, so he's the one that had to deal with the fog. I was just enjoying what scenery I could see.

  7. Thanks, Ruth. It IS beautiful!

  8. Do try to finish your trip on the Blue Ridge someday! I think the views were the most awesome between Asheville and Cherokee. Love your pictures...fog reminds me of our first drive on the parkway.


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