|Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary
"America's Favorite Drive" officially turned 75 this month. The Blue Ridge Parkway, designed to connect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, has been a destination in and of itself for over 75 years! For decades residents of our eastern and central United States, as well as countless visitors from around the world, have driven this highway simply to enjoy some of the most picturesque driving to be had anywhere in America. As it turns out, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal became a big deal in establishing and protecting this, and other, unique American wilderness areas. Few places exemplify diversity in nature and our American culture more than this sacred stretch of roadway through the Appalachian Mountains.
This modest two–lane road, where the speed limit is never higher than 45 M.P.H., beckons between 17– and 20–million people a year to escape. This splendid, often canopied, Scenic Byway features breath–taking vistas and a variety of vegetation that belie its contrasting altitudes and micro eco–systems. After all, it's a 469 mile protected roadway, so there's lots room for plants to thrive. The road took 52 years to construct, and the stories surrounding this ongoing endeavor are many. Those who drive it attest that the effort was worth it.
Cultural–history buffs may end up enjoying the Parkway the most. The area and its topography are integral to America's modern evolution—as it was colonized by the British, scarred by the Civil War, and opened to the migration of homesteaders Westward. Historians, however, recognize that the stories go back much further than that. For centuries Native Cherokee and other indigenous tribes hunted and grew crops here. It is said that the Blue Ridge Mountains spawned traditional music well over a century ago. There's something for everyone to discover on this ridiculously colorful ribbon of a highway. Happy 75th Birthday, Blue Ridge National Parkway and thank you National Park Service for being such diligent caretakers and keepers of its regional legacies.
As a concessioner to the National Park, Forever Resorts is proud to be part of the Parkway family. For one, Forever Resorts operates the Mabry Mill Restaurant. Its namesake, Mabry Grist Mill, is one of the Parkway's most visited and photographed historic spots. The setting is idyllic and the Restaurant's buckwheat pancakes are legendary. It can be a busy spot—or a quite getaway—depending on the season and time of day. Blacksmithing and other skills are still demonstrated at the Mill during summer and fall visitations. Mabry Mill Restaurant is located at Milepost 176; it's closed during the winter.
Visitors should know that time and distance are measured in Mileposts along the Parkway. Mileposts begin at zero at the northeast end of the Parkway in Virginia and continue up to 469 at the southern end in North Carolina. You'll find Bluffs Lodge, Restaurant and Gift Store near Laurel Springs, North Carolina at Milepost 241. Not as historic as the Mabry Mill but is as much "kin" to its mountain valley setting as Mabry Mill is to the Dan River. Some guests return here year after year. No wonder. The Parkway's seasonal splendors unfold—as they have for thousands of years—in the Lodge's back yard. It's a quaint sanctuary with a huge outdoor patio and fireplace. The restaurant is classic 50's look and feel; in fact, generations of locals have served fresh coffee here to appreciative tourists. The unique gift shop, featuring regional crafts and souvenirs, is a bonus—certainly worth stopping for on its own.
Southernmost in the Forever Resorts line up is Crabtree Falls Convenience Store and Gift Shop. This is your typical full–service little grab–a–snack–or–picnic–foods place where you sit and relax, stretch your legs, and breathe in the fresh air. Tourists and locals alike regularly stop to take in a moderately vigorous hike up to nearby Crabtree Falls—with the Store and picnic area serving as both the launch pad and landing site for the hike. Stop in and say HI if you're around Milepost 339.
This is the most spectacular time of the year to visit the Parkway, some people will swear to it. So put on your birthday hats, fill up the car and take a drive along one of the prettiest roads in the world. It's easy to jump on and off the Parkway and explore a chain of incredible towns and attractions along the way.
What's to DISCOVER?
Just for the fun of it, each month Discover Forever will feature a quiz related to Forever Resorts' destinations and/or properties. All entries with the correct answers will be collected and identified as finalists each month. Then, on December 31, 2010 one finalist will be selected at random to win a Canon PowerShot A3100 IS Digital Camera and Canon SELPHY CP780 Compact Photo Printer.
You have two weeks from the time DISCOVER FOREVER is sent to cast your vote. No purchase is necessary to enter. Good luck. Hint: Answers can be found at www.Travel-Forever.com and/or www.ForeverResorts.com.
At the onset, how many seperate construction units were created in order to manage construction along proposed Blue Ridge Parkway?
Answer to August's quiz:
Q: Name the 20th century cave explorer who was trapped and died while exploring the Flint Ridge Cave System?
Click here to find the answer.