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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
And lastly, a gorgeous sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Next up: A visit to Monticello!