Today we are going to start our drive North along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will drive as far North as Boone North Carolina where we will stay for the night before finishing the parkway tomorrow.
The road has 2 designations. It is a National Scenic Byway and it is an All American Road. The All American Road designation means that there are features along the way that are not seen anywhere else in the USA. Some traditionalists will say that we are starting at the wrong end, but you know what… you do it any way you can, and South to North works for us on this trip.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park and is 469 miles long. The road took 52 years to complete as segments were stitched together. It became one continuous stretch of road in 1987.
We arrived at the beginning of our journey at mile marker 469 to find a parks official painting the sign.
We will pass through 25 tunnels today on our journey, I won’t bore you with photos of each and every tunnel, but believe me when I say we did get photos of each and every tunnel. They all pretty much look the same style and design, a tunnel is a tunnel.
Here are 3 and you can see all of them on our FLICKR site.
There are dozens and dozens of overlooks along our route to day. I will just show you a few of the overlooks.
There is a Visitors Center at Waterrock Knob Overlook, so this was one of our many stops.
As you can imagine, it is a very scenic, windy, twisty, uphill, downhill kind of a road, just the sort of road we love to drive on. Why take the Interstate when you can drive along at 35 - 45 mph and enjoy this kind of scenery.
We stopped at the Richard Balsam Overlook which is the highest point we will reach along the total length of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Lots and lots of wild flowers and butterflies. This is Green Headed Coneflowers, Bindweed and a Pipevine Swallowtail.
At the Glassmine Falls overlook, if you look just above the sign you can barely see the falls, but with a little zoom action from our camera, the falls come into view.
We stopped at the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center. This viaduct was the last structure to be built and connected the completed North and South sections of the parkway. We walked along the trail underneath the viaduct.
Price Lake was very picturesque.
Our hotel for the night is in Boone NC. We went to Hardee’s for dinner. This has become my new favourite fast food chain, the hand scooped ice cream shakes are the best. Their burgers are also very good.
Tomorrow we will continue North along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
To see all of the photos from today (around 300 or so) they are all on my FLICKR site.