One peaceful drive: Blue Ridge Parkway from Blowing Rock to Asheville

Scenic view Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville NC

Although we’re living in stressful times in America right now and travel to faraway destinations seems a distant memory, we’ve found an antidote to fill our urge to get out and about: a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Billed as “America’s Favorite Drive” by the National Park Service, this beautiful winding highway offered at no charge to guests meanders through some of the South’s prettiest forests and mountainous areas, open and accessible to all with numerous entrances and exits along the way.

Blue Ridge Parkway, early spring morning
Early morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway

After a short bed-and-breakfast stay in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, west via the Blue Ridge, entering the parkway at Milepost 293, abiding by (willingly!) the 45 mile-per-hour speed limit, and rolling down the windows for fresh spring air as we traveled 91.2 miles to Asheville.

Walkway to cemetery, Moses Cone Memorial Park
Walkway to the cemetery at Moses Cone Memorial Park

Our first stop: Moses Cone Memorial Park. Named for Moses Cone who, along with his brother Caesar, established a thriving textile business in the late 19th century, the estate offers walking paths in and around Flat Top Manor (now being renovated) which was home for Moses and his wife Bertha.

Flat Top Manor, Moses Cone Park, Blowing Rock, NC
Cone Manor, now under renovation

You can stroll past the carriage house and on to the cemetery on winding paths through apple orchards. Once the central location of the Parkway Crafts Center, Cone Manor is now closed to the public, and there are currently no craft exhibitions. But visitors (thankfully!) are free to roam the grounds and enjoy the peacefulness of this very special park.

Carriage House, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway
Carriage House, Moses Cone Memorial Park
Carriage House at Mose Cone Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, NC
Closed to the public now, but the Carriage House once offered rides to the public and glimpses inside.

The Blue Ridge pParkway offers spectacular vistas no matter where you stop.

Beautiful skies, Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock NC
A grand view from the Blue Ridge Parkway: spring greens, dark rolling mountains, and cloud formations overhead.

So, pull over frequently, rest a while, and take as many photos as you want. Look closely to see fresh, new spring growth or gaze as far as your eyes can see at rolling mountains and layers upon layers of color. Early spring-flowering trees, tender new buds, and gentle waterfalls just add to the ambiance.

Spring flowering tree, Blue Ridge Parkway

Thanks to good signage, you stay informed of elevations, locations and names of special places like Table Rock Mountain. At this pull-out, we spotted the sign first. Then, when we got out of the car, we looked left for the full-on sight.

Table Rock Mtn, Blue Ridge Parkway, sign
Table Rock Mtn, Blue Ridge Parkway
Majestic: Table Rock Mountain as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Another favorite area, Craggy Gardens lived up to its name as menacing forms seemed entangled and almost human trees reached eerily against the sky.

Foliage near Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway
Area known as Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Old tree, Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway
An almost-human form seems to reach out to the mountains of Blue Ridge

Of course, our favorite past-time — other than the slow, winding drive — was just taking in the beauty of the mountains.

Dark shadows along Blue Ridge Parkway
The mysterious beauty of “smoke” on the mountains and the layers of color along the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you’re thinking of driving the Blue Ridge Parkway this fall, prepare early. Book your stops and map out your distances. As you can imagine, travel in the U. S. is even more popular now, and the mountains are calling. But what a marvelous place to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the area!

It’s one peaceful drive: the marvelous Blue Ridge Parkway.

Travel slowly,

Rusha & Bert

26 thoughts on “One peaceful drive: Blue Ridge Parkway from Blowing Rock to Asheville

  1. Amy

    What an enjoyable drive! Thank you Rush for taking us there through your beautiful photos. Images of the Early morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway and and the layers of color are breathtaking.

  2. rkrontheroad

    Thanks for this tour through Blue Ridge Parkway. I was through there as a child, when my father drove us from New Jersey to Florida with a scenic detour. The photos are wonderful.

      1. rkrontheroad

        I do the same thing, take too many photos. But I think if I try to be more judicious, I might miss the best ones. There’s only a handful that are that good. ☺️

  3. Oh, the Places We See

    So glad this sparked comments. We saw motorcyclists but not many bikers. The steep hills may be the challenge. Whatever you decide, though, you will have an awesome experience. It’s truly one of our best parkways.

  4. Klausbernd

    Dear Rusha and Bert,
    thanks a lot for taking us to the Blue Ridge Parkway and showing these fine pictures.
    By the way, Dina just sold her vintage convertible – a Mercedes. We drove it in the German and Austrian Alps a couple of years ago. That was GREAT! Pit would have loved it.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Pit

      Dear Klausberd,
      You know me so well! 😉 As I already commented here: driving along that absolutely fantastic road in an open (vintage) convertible [I’m thinking of a Shelby Cobra a T-Bird, e.g.] is still my dream, especially after we drove the Cherohala Skyway [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-1wI] in 2018. And I would rather go slower than the 45-mile speed limint, even if I became a “Verkehrshindernis”, as we’d say in German. Just now, btw, I’m even thinking of bicycling (parts of) the Blue Ridge Parkway. It wpuld have to be an e-bike, then, though. I’m not up to a “normal” bicycle any more for something like that. What makes me a tad reluctant of bicycling there is te fact that there aer no bike-lanes, not even wide shoulders.
      Have a wonderful Sunday afternoon and evening in the little village near the big sea,
      Pit

      1. Klausbernd

        We did that several times. Best is in autumn when there is snow on the mountain peaks and passes. Our dear Master loves to drive on snow.
        Wishing you a happy week
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. WanderingCanadians

    The Blue Ridge Parkway looks like an incredibly scenic drive. It looks like those rolling hills go on for as far as the eye can see. I can imagine this place is quite popular in the fall when the leaves are changing colour.

  6. Rose

    Driving slowly and stopping at all the ‘Viewing’ sights, is the best way to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s something so peaceful and life-affirming about a spectacular view from the top of a mountain.

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