Scenic Mountain Drive

Trip Start Apr 15, 2008
Trip End Apr 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Monday, July 14, 2008

The Blue Ridge Parkway
This is a continuous road which runs 469 miles from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
There are no shops, no traffic lights and no intersections, just nature. The drive winds its way through mountain meadows and past seemingly endless vistas. Split-rail fences, old farmsteads and historic structures complement spectacular views of distant mountains and neighbouring valleys. The majority of the route runs at an altitude of 3500ft, with the highest point (Grand Father Mountain) reaching 5305ft = 1 mile above sea level.

Building the Parkway through mountainous terrain was a monumental labour. Authorised in the 1930s as a Depression-era public works project, the Parkway was more than a half-century in the making. It was America's first, and ultimately longest, rural parkway (Scenic Drive).
It is an amazing route to drive with twists and turns every mile. It can be a bit hard on the concentration, especially as we had to keep dodging white tailed deer and squirrels, but it's worth it. The road is relatively quite, but it's very popular with bikers of all ages, lots of Harley Davidson's and soft top sports cars too. That's the way to do it if you're not on a budget!
It took us four days to drive the route, stopping off at three really lovely mountain towns.  Asheville, Blowing Rock and Roanoke, all set in a valley setting surrounded by forested mountains. Each town has an historic centre and can be walked around quite comfortably. The parkway was relatively cool at 75f however as soon as you drive down into the valley these towns are real suntraps and the temperatures soar into the 90's.
Walton's Mountain - The TV series was filmed in these here mountains and it doesn't take much to visualise the family living here.......... night John boy! 
The Skyline Drive
The Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. It is the only public road through the park.
The maximum speed limit is 35 mph so we were able to really enjoy all the views. The park purposely leaves the roadsides un-mowed giving the wildflowers a chance to put on a spectacular show.
What Next?
No time for resting, Urban life beckons! Having spent the last week getting back to nature we will be ditching the car next week in favour of public transport! Making our way up the Eastern Seaboard by train we will visit Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston......
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