East Coast

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway
Take scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the Smokies. Credit: Pixabay

Blue Ridge Parkway

The carful of kids wake up in Asheville, North Carolina, after spending the day exploring Memphis, Tennessee, on our quest for the Canadian Maritimes. We will continue north via the Blue Ridge Parkway where we left off two summers ago.

We have explored Asheville before when we visited The Biltmore Estate and drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the first trip, we earned our Blue Ridge Parkway Junior Ranger Badge, this trip the carful of kids will continue earning their Blue Ridge Parkway Patch, with three more stops.

We enter the Parkway north of Asheville at Oteen, North Carolina, mile marker 382, and make our first stop at the Craggy Gardens, mile marker 364, to walk among the Rhododendrons. Next stop is Crabtree Falls, mile marker 340, for another quick hike. With every bend of the road, your eye meets miles of rolling smoky-blue mountains covered in verdant foliage.

A Rhododendron bloom along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Museum of North Carolina Minerals, mile marker 331, is chock-full of cool mineral samples from the state’s mining heritage–a great stop for rock-hound kids. Then on to Linville Falls, mile marker 316, I just can’t say no to a waterfall.

The next stop is the Linn Cove Viaduct, mile marker 304;it’s built to hug Grandfather Mountain and was the last section of Blue Ridge Parkway to be completed, winning countless engineering awards.

The carful of kids continue north to Moses Cone Manor House, mile marker 294, to explore but it is closed already, where did our day go. It is a large, white Victorian Neo-Colonial home, completed in 1901, that houses the BRP craft center.

The carful of kids spend the better part of the day exploring and we are no where near our destination of Waynesboro, Virginia. Melissa does a quick search and we discover we are still 275 miles away.With the sun hanging low in the sky, we have exit the Blue Ridge Parkway and have to race up the interstate to get to our room.

A waterfall along the BRP
A waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker


Know Before You Go

The Blue Ridge Parkway has a  45 mph speed limit with lots the curves so the driving is slow. If short on time, drive from Asheville to Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It’s approximately 100 miles and will take you three hours without stops.

Up next: Shenandoah National Park and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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