Wow, did the weather improve. Bright sunshine and warmer temperatures moved in to make our trip delightful With a little research we found a series of 4 Harvest Host places for the rest of our week; two wineries, one brewery, and a distillery - lots of booze! There is a lot of wilderness in this section of the Parkway and we saw a number of deer, mostly off the road, but we had two close encounters that gave us a scare. The first time I barely was able to put on the brake, but luckily that we just enough to miss the bounding deer across our path by inches - lots of adrenaline followed. The second time the young deer was just stopped in the middle of the road as we rounded a curve with probably Mom on the side of the road. I braked and the deer ran, so all was well. Luckily we kept well under the 45 miles an hour speed limit to enjoy the scenery.
|You can what lovely weather we now had! Every few miles there is an overlook and the road is often on a ridge so there are views in both directions.|
We did a lot of hiking this day. Our first stop was Linville Falls, the spectacular 3 tiered waterfall. We hiked up to the Chimney Overlook and then to another spot at the top of the highest fall. About 2 miles overall, the trail was steep in places but well designed with rock stairs and at times, railings. Our second hike started out with a small waterfall near the road at Grandfather Mountain and then climbed steeply up to a rocky overlook with wooden stairs and decks. Here we could view parts of the Linn Cove Viaduct, the last section of the Parkway, which opened in 1987. This engineering and construction feat was built from the top down to protect the fragile environment
|Linville Falls from the Chimney Outlook. It is so hard to get an idea of the size here. There are people on the rock above the falls but they are just specks.|
|The view from our second hike. You can see the Parkway in the distance.|
We always found a beautiful empty overlook to park right on the edge of the lot, where we set up our chairs and ate our lunch in the sun enjoying the view. Before we climbed up on the Parkway I stocked up the frig with lots of yummy salad ingredients and some great bread - easy lovely lunches. That evening we spent at the Thistle Meadow Winery, another spectacular spot. We enjoyed the wine tasting very much and chose a great white wine to go with our dinner. I made a chicken curry with coconut peanut sauce and rice. We were able to sit outside and enjoy it and the quiet pretty farm.
The next morning was beautiful again - what a treat. Our big stop this day was the famous Maybry Mill which had walking trails around the property connecting many historical exhibits about life in rural Virginia. The mill itself was built in 1903 and had separate flumes to catch the runoff from two local streams. These wooden flumes make quite a jigsaw puzzle above the mill. Normally there is a Visitor Center, gift shop, and restaurant here, but again, everything was closed.
|A view of the Maybry Mill. Those yellow flowers blanket the meadows everywhere and the photos don't do them justice!|
That evening we stayed at Franklin County Distillery along with 3 other RVs. It was quite a contrast to our winery stays as we were right on the highway and had train tracks behind us with an occasional noisy train. Luckily I love train sounds and it didn't happen in the middle of the night and highway noises just form a white noise background for me (Scott doesn't hear a thing once he takes out his hearing aids!). But we really enjoyed the liquor tasting, or rather Scott did. He tried 5 flavors of moonshine - a specialty here and I enjoyed a couple of margaritas - plus a pretty good dinner. That's a nice change for the cook.
|Looking down from Chimney Outlook|
|And that's Scott perched on the edge of the "chimney".|
Even though we had bright sunshine, it was early and
still fairly cold as you see from his outfit.
|A steep section of the trail with|
|A narrow section of the falls between two cascades.|
|The visibility was excellent this day.|
|The engineering of the Parkway is amazing. This|
one section is the most expensive road ever built.
It's a section of the Linn Cove Viaduct.
|Like the viaduct, the trail had wooden stairs and |
bridges to protect the vegetation. Like the top
of Mt. Washington, it faces high winds and hard
|We passed a number of lakes along the Parkway|
and saw fisherfolk with fly rods both there and in
|The distant views are lovely but we enjoyed the meadows and farmland along the Parkway equally. Fences demonstrating all the types used by rural folk in the past are used today to line the road.|
|Scott enjoying the wine tasting at|
the Thistle Meadow Winery.
|The view the next morning from our RV!!!|
|Trees right near the Parkway were often still in |
winter mode but further down the hills were
|For practical reasons land along the parkway remained farm land and we saw lots of cows. Many roads cross or branch off, most small. Larger ones and highways are bridged with access ramps. There is no commercial traffic allowed.|
|Sometimes lovely stone walls line the road, |
especially with steep dropoffs.
|Early violets were a real treat.|
|Another beautiful lake reflecting the blue sky.|
|When we dropped down into lower|
altitudes, spring appeared.
|As you can see here too.|
|And occasionally we enjoyed a fruit tree, here|
with a stone overpass.
|Our walking path at Maybry Mills|
|With old cabins moved there to demonstrate the|
life of early settlers in the area.
|I loved this family enjoying an old-fashioned picnic on the grass.|