More of the Blue Ridge Parkway – onward through Virginia!

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Blue Ridge Parkway

We were happy that we made it to Meadows of Dan in Virginia just before the onslaught of pounding rain for the next couple of days.  Then, after just one sunny day as a reprieve, along came a severe weather warning.  Our park host knocked at the door to make sure we had heard the warning and gotten ourselves ready by 3PM for what was to come.  We were fortunate that the brunt of the storm passed to the north and we had only a short but strong storm blow through.  Roanoke and points north did not fare so well.

When the winds and the rain decided to give us a break we ventured out once more to the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Virginia end, marked “B” on the map below.  The “B” covers milepost 154 to milepost 213.  We covered the “A” section during our stay in North Carolina, covered in our previous post.  There are so many places to pause along the Parkway…and on this stop our base camp was at Meadows of Dan, a small mountain town.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway – Americas favorite scenic drive!

Driving along the Parkway is not just about the built-in distractions – mountains, clouds, flowers and the curves – but also about the wines, area music and the hiking trails.  And so much more!

The music.

At milepost 213 is the Blue Ridge Music Center, dedicated to continuing and keeping alive some of the richest traditions of mountain music and dance.  Inside is an interactive exhibit “The Roots of American Music” that tells the compelling story of the region’s rich musical heritage.

Blue Ride Music Center

Blue Ridge Music Center

We listened to some old time music, mountain music and bluegrass tunes at one of the hotspots along “The  Crooked Road” in Floyd, VA.  Here we witnessed young and old alike jamming along the streets, showcasing the area’s musical heritage passed down through generations.  We enjoyed watching and listening to unfamiliar but beautiful music, which is what the locals provide all along Main Street on Friday nights during the summer months.  It was a very cool way to spend the evening after a nice dinner at a local winery.

The wine and chocolates

We missed the wineries in NC, so we visited two along the Parkway and took the time to taste local Virginia wines.  The husband and wife team at Villa Appalaccia Winery and Vineyards specializes in “italian inspired” Virginia wines.  We liked their wines so much that Steve came out with a few bottles in a box (gee, that’s never happened before!).  Then after a strenuous afternoon of wine tasting we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Chateau Morrisette paired with their yummy Chardonnay.  This winery was a bit more commercialized, and we found their wines to be just okay.  But wow, what a restaurant!

Some of you may know that chocolate is one of my life’s pleasures.  When we stumbled upon Nancy Candy Co., a local candy factory in the small mountain town of Meadows of Dan, I got in and out with my own bundle of sweetness!  Wine and chocolate – what more can I say?

The hikes.

With the abundance of hiking trails along the Parkway, we made sure to hit a couple along our route.  While following the Black Ridge/Rock Castle Gorge Trail, we came atop rolling hills and meadows that just forced me to put on the hat of Maria and sing …”The hills are alive …”  Steve took cover, but managed to get the photo below as he ran away.

Rock Castle Gorge Trail

The hills are alive…

We also tackled the Smart View Loop, where Steve saw a young black bear.  Unfortunately, it took off like a bullet before we could even aim the camera.

Despite a forecast of rain and fog we still trekked onto the Flat Top Trail.  This trail makes a fairly steep and constant ascent, and even though it was only about 2 miles one-way, it was one of the most exhausting we have taken.  Coupled with fog and a driving rain that started on our way back to the car and soaked us completely, not one of our most comfortable hikes.

At the Fairy State Park we hit four moderate trails; the Beach trail, Little Mountain Falls trail, Oak Hickory Trail and Stuarts Knob trail that led us to Little Waterfall, a ridge overlook and a beach overlook and very green trail.

And of course, the beautiful scenery…

As you can see, we only explored a sliver of the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  One can make the odyssey while experiencing many worthwhile attractions along the way, beginning at Mile 0 in Virginia and ending at mile 469 at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill

Blue Ridge Parkway

Farm along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Several styles of very old fencing meander along the Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Yet another farm along the Parkway

We really liked the Meadows of Dan Campground, for it was quiet and the meadows were sooo green.  Click here if you’d like to read Steve’s review.

Meadows of Dan, VA

Meadows of Dan Campground, almost all to ourselves!

And lastly, a gorgeous sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Sunset at Blue Ridge Mountains

Gorgeous Sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains

Next up:  A visit to Monticello!

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16 thoughts on “More of the Blue Ridge Parkway – onward through Virginia!

  1. Very nice photos as always! Looks like a wonderful area to visit, except I see the mosquito netting around your hat! We are heading to Homer tomorrow and will think of your trip there last year.

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  2. Very interesting to see the parkway in the springtime, we visited during the fall. Beautiful in both seasons, thanks for the great photos. I remember the old mill from our visit.

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  3. We are planning to spend some time in VA in September so your posts are timely. We had never heard of Meadows of Dan but this looks like an area to explore. Thanks for the lovely images. 🙂

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  4. Have made note of the trails and the campground … we’ll be heading south from VA Beach and then west, so it might be a while before we get back east, but good to have the info. We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway before we ever had a motorhome, but hope to go back for some slow exploration.

    We’ve also done Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park many, many times … always in the car … and would not suggest taking the MH there (don’t recall offhand if the campgrounds will even accommodate a 40-footer). Our main concern taking the MH would be the slow speed, and the vehicles that would be lined-up behind us anxious to pass us. Yes, there are pull outs, but not all would accommodate a 40-footer. That’s our humble opinion.

    Someone mentioned that Skyline Drive is a toll road … if so, that is new. We’ve never paid a toll, but it is true that it is a road for slow enjoyment. We’ve seen many a deer … esp. in the Big Meadow Area; and even black bears on occasion. It’s a great place to visit. Lots of hikes to pick and choose from. One of our favorites … a rock scramble, but worth the effort.

    http://2totravel.blogspot.com/2009/07/weekend-at-shenandoah-national-park-day_19.html.

    Of course all this might be moot if you aren’t going there, or won’t be spending more than a day exploring Skyline Drive. If you are going to spend some time there, drop me a note and I might be able to give you some more thoughts.

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    • Thank you Erin for your ideas, we actually are here and yesterday we made it to the Stony Mountain Trail despite the fog! Today is a better day so we came back and headed up north and followed another trail. The Skyline Drive is within the Shenandoah NP so we have to pay $15 good for seven days. No MH here, but you are right it is a slow moving exploration which is just fine.

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  5. Looks like you really got a great sampling of the Blue Ridge area. We really enjoyed the Blue Ridge Music Center also. Listened to a local jam sessions for quite a while. Being from the east coast, we have driven this route in parts many times but always on a motorcycle. Someday maybe we’ll visit with the MH. We have camped in the Smokey Mountains several times. We weren’t into hiking back than. Sounds like some awesome trails. You’re real troopers hiking in the rain and fog!!

    If you get the opportunity to drive Skyline Drive, go for it. It is a much nicer drive with more lookouts and animals than the Blue Ridge. It is a toll road and made for slow travel and site seeing.

    Monticello is wonderful!! Enjoy!

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    • Hi Pam, we made it to Skyline Drive! and yes I agree the overlooks are better here than at BRP. Hiking in rain and fog were not in the plan but we got committed half way through. The rain however cooled us down as it is so darn hot and humid here.

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  6. Oh my…..WOW is all I can say! Absolutely beautiful pictures and post! If we can ever find our way out of the southwest, looks like the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must!

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    • I would recommend Blue Ridge Parkway indeed. We were told however that the best way is to start in VA then head down to NC.

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  7. BEAUTIFUL! It’s a good thing there were hiking trails to work off the wine and chocolate! Some year we will make it to the East coast and now I have your stories to guide us!

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    • Oh my, there are plenty of hiking trails although the views here are not as spectacular at what you are seeing there.

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  8. Umm….where’s the dress? You need a dress for proper twirling as you sing….lol. Isn’t the lush vegetation a contrast to the desert southwest? When Ashton and I did a road trip through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, she took so many photos of the landscape. She was fascinated by the dense forests.

    I love the farms among rolling hills….there’s a sense of calm for some reason. Stay dry…I know I unfortunately am 🙂

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    • Remember, all dresses had been purged and gone to goodwill… ha ha. We are loving the lushness and green scenery but not the heat and humidity.

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  9. Beautiful photos again! I would love to hear the old time music and you singing “The hill are alive”. One of my favorite songs. Enjoy your freedom!

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