Along The Way By Guest Blogger- Tom Moore
There’s a place that’s close to heaven. Some would say it is Heaven on Earth. To me, it’s absolutely my favorite place on Earth. The lush mountain flora, magnificent waterfalls, serene vistas, numerous historic sites, awesome hiking trails, enjoyable picnic areas, and beautiful fall color are only a few of the reasons to go. The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) embraces all of this and more.
When I was just a tot, we lived near Floyd, VA - minutes from the Parkway. I recall wonderful family outings there where we would picnic, walk trails, and just have good ole clean fun. There was something about the setting that while I didn’t understand at this early age, it grabbed me settling deep within my soul.
Whether it’s a highway, a state route, or a dirt road, there are different means of accessing this monumental drive. Covering two states (VA, NC) it meanders 469 miles across the Blue Ridge Mountains, a majestic range of the Appalachian Mountains. Just off the BRP, you can find country communities, small towns, and a few cities dotted along the way all having their own flair. I enjoy visiting any of them and find something capturing my attention in each one.
Weather is never a problem for me on the Parkway. Sure, the brilliant sunshine on a clear day makes everything stand out especially the fall leaves. But I’ve seen vibrant thunderstorms crackling across the sky, snow so deep you couldn’t walk, winds blowing and howling, and fog so dense you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. These all add to the allure of the nature-filled Blue Ridge Parkway never making me want to leave and always bringing me back for more.
There’s something for everyone here. Kids run around and play in the dirt, teenagers go find adventure, adults take their families for fun excursions, and seniors go for the peace and beauty. I know because I’ve come for all of these reasons.
Hiking is one of my favorite activities on the Parkway. With 369 miles of trails, it’s easy to find one that suits your fitness and style. From leg-stretchers to strenuous climbs, astounding views and God’s nature exist to whet the pallet. I like them all, but journeys to waterfalls are the types of trails I look for when searching for a good walk.
Visiting historic sites is another thing I like to do when riding on the BRP. Old cabins, mills, home sites, village communities all bring back the simplicity of life. At times, I’ve thought about how settlers and country people lived back then. The hussle-bussle, fast-paced world we live in today can often wreak havoc in different ways. I know I’ve felt that way at times and envision a simpler manner of existence.
While the list of possible stopping points is quite extensive and wonderful in their own right, my old “stomping grounds” are still the ones I love the most. Rocky Knob Recreation Area, Smart’s View, and Mabry Mill are at the top. Those ingrained memories from the past and the new merriments made keep building the admiration I have for the BRP.
It’s a place nurturing grand visions of the easy-going life, the kind we all need to consider at points in time. It’s a place where you can forget where you are and you’re right at home. I get excited just thinking about going! The Blue Ridge Parkway will be forever etched in memory and embedded in my state of mind.
If you have a favorite place to go, don’t forget where it is. You’ll find it somewhere along the way.
Where is your favorite place to get away? COMMENT below and share with us! We'd love to hear from you!!
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