As we traveled around Appalachia, we inevitably stumbled across the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. Our first sight of it was in Roanoke, Virginia, but we didn’t actually get on it until we were in North Carolina.
Known for its winding roads and amazing views, the parkway travels just under 500 miles in Virginia and North Carolina. Both sides of the highway are managed and owned by the National Park Service, and it’s the longest linear park in the United States. Because of its status as both a park and a highway, it’s almost always the most-visited part of the National Park System in the entire country. A little, fun fact for you to share at parties.
We stayed in Haywood County, NC, for over a week, and were therefore right next to this magical and storied road. Naturally, we had to go check it out for ourselves!
The entrance to the parkway was just down the street from our cabin, so we jumped on it one day for a couple hours’ drive, which obviously included a whole lot of stops to see all of this natural beauty.
There’s so much of it, in fact, that we had to start deciding whether or not we should stop at certain places, because we could have stopped about every 100 feet and just stared into the glorious abyss of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.
At every stop, there’s an elevation sign, and we kept thinking we were really high up, only to find ourselves going even higher and at yet another sign with an elevation to beat the previous one.
We eventually ended up at Waterrock Knob, which is one of the highest points on this part of the parkway and home to a National Park Service shop and visitor center, as well as a hiking trail if you’d like to climb up even farther on foot.
I really cannot get enough of this.
All the natural beauty surrounding us is relaxation for the mind and soul. It also strikes a deep yearning somewhere inside of me that makes me never want to leave.
It’s no wonder that people come to this region and stay forever, or repeatedly go back over and over again even though there are so many other things to see and do in this world.
Heck, this was my third time in western North Carolina, and it certainly won’t be my last. The Blue Ridge Parkway – and all it has to offer – really just does that to you.
Check out our other USA road trip posts right here. In the meantime, we’ll be dreaming about a return to Western North Carolina. 🙂
A very special and very big thanks to Anna at the Haywood County TDA, for showing us the ropes, giving us great advice, and for being a wonderful person. Thanks as well to Big John for schooling us at the TDA office. We’ll see you soon!
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Have you ever driven the Blue Ridge Parkway? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!