Late Spring on the Blue Ridge Parkway

by Heidi Obermeyer

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The second to last day on the road to Chapel Hill for graduation was our Blue Ridge Parkway day. On the recommendation of our friendly (and rather old-ish) innkeepers in Virginia we opted to skip a chunk of the parkway via the interstate and got on at Blowing Rock, North Carolina. If you haven’t been to the thrilling town of Blowing Rock, I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you- the average age of anyone walking down the street is probably about 60. After some very unsuccessful boring shop browsing and one pretty tasty break for lunch, we stopped in the tourist office to get exact directions onto the parkway from Main Street. There, the guy sitting at the front desk in the building that was otherwise entirely devoid of other people said what everyone else was already thinking- “You guys are like 50 years too young to be hanging out in this town!” After a little more ribbing, he gave us quick directions and a short hike recommendation, which brought us to the sprawling granite vista pictured above.

The Parkway itself was actually quite stunning. It takes a lot to impress a Coloradoan mountain-wise, and the Appalachians along this chunk of the drive definitely exceeded my expectations. Since we went in the off season- there was neither extensive fall foliage nor blooming rhododendrons while were there (unfortunately for us on that last one- they’re supposed to be beautiful!) we pretty much had the place to ourselves and next to no traffic until we were within just a few miles of Asheville. I haven’t said before that I’ve really enjoyed a drive, but the gentle curves and scenery along the parkway made the actual act of driving the road a pleasure. It would be great to get up there with a really nice car.

By the time dinnertime rolled around we had just arrived in Asheville- the little stretch of the parkway we did was just enough scenic driving for us and both Katelyn and I were glad we hadn’t done much more. We finished off the evening with wandering around Asheville, visiting the Screen Door (an antiques store) and Tupelo Honey Cafe for dinner. Overall, I’d say it was a successful day 🙂