North Carolina-Blue Ridge Parkway-October 9

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-October 9

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Tourism is big business in North Carolina. No this is not going to be a post on HB2 and the impact to tourism. One big part of our tourism revenue in the state is going to the mountains in the fall and seeing the leaves turn their reds, yellows, and orange colors.

One of the best places to see the leaves do their transition in North Carolina is the Blue Ridge Parkway.


The parkway is a route that extends 469 miles through the Virginia and North Carolina mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway has remained what historian William Powell describes as a travel experience “never to be forgotten”.  Its elevation goes from 680 feet to over 6,000 along its route.

Colonel Joseph Hyde Pratt first suggested the parkway in 1912, but the complete mountain highway was not finished until 1987.  Pratt shown below.


Pratt who headed the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey in the 1910s wanted the road—approximately 350 miles–to transverse through the Appalachian mountains, beginning in Marion, Virginia, and ending in Cornelia, Georgia.

As a public road free of industrial development and a park showcasing mountain views of the Blue Ridge, the parkway remains one of western North Carolina’s most popular tourist destinations and cultural attractions. According to the National Park Service, the first step in construction occurred on September 11, 1935, when workers started on a small part of the road near the Cumberland Gap.

Today the number of visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway just in North Carolina approaches close to 10 million. I tell everyone that I meet that has moved to North Carolina experience two things the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Outer Banks.






  1. It is truly a special place to visit. And I hope that you and your family are safe and well after the hurricane.

    1. Went 4 days without power and still no water but safe. I am blessed.

  2. The fall color is one thing I miss living my part of Texas … we really don’t seem to get that. The parkway is truly a treasure – we took at least one trip up to the mountains every summer, and were often on the parkway. I remember when they completed the viaduct … how excited I was to be able to drive over it for the first time!

    Also hope all is well with y’all (and your friends down in Robeson County, particularly)!

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