So after a number of days of driving we are here … one of the entrances to the blue ridge parkway are within spitting distance. You would think with the parkway being such a big tourist attraction it would be easy to find and we’ll signposted … unfortunately it wasn’t and it took us over two hours of circling the city before we finally got onto the right road.
After all the stress of finding the road the parkway itself is remarkable calm. With a top speed limit of 45 miles and hour and everyone of there for the same reason … to enjoy the views the beautifully winding road was heaven.
Ben handed over control of the car to me and so my first ever drive in America was this beautifully winding road. The parkway skirts the top of a series of mountains in both North Carolina and Virginia. It’s America’s longest parkway with a total length of 755km’s. We ended up doing about three quarters of it starting in Roanoke and finishing in a small town called Front Royal.
The parkway is the most famous park of the drive but it’s actually split into two parks the Sky Line Drive to the North and the Blue Ridge Parkway to the South. Our plan was to drive the Parkway up on day 1 to Waynesboro and then on day 2 tackle the sky line drive. The parkway is very well set out with a map highlighting the various lookout stops (and don’t worry there are plenty) and many of the hiking trails that are available through the area. We personally did a million lookout stops and one or two hikes throughout the day.
This time of the year is supposed to be peak tourist time with Autumn turning all the leaves beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow however this season it didn’t happen with only about 10% of the trees changing their leaves. While this is disappointing from a viewing perspective it also meant that we had the whole road to ourselves for most of the day with very few cars passing on the road.
One thing I will warn you about is that we found very little food options on the road so would suggest that you stop at a supermarket before you join the road to pick up sandwiches, fruit and salad.
Our inn for the night in Waynesboro was called the Iris Inn and it was lovely. A series of small cabins looking out into the Forrest with a main lodge behind. Our cabin was lovely with a lounge, gas fire, big king sized bed and a spa outside on the balcony.
Even better they have cocktail hour in the main lodge from 5.30 to 6.30 where we met all the other people staying at the lodge. We pulled out a packet of Tim Tams and our cocktail hour turned into a very merry 3 hours and one of the nicest nights so far.
Tomorrow we continue on the Sky Line Drive!