Since we were driving home from Pittsburgh once again, we thought we’d try to take some of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We drove the North Carolina portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting at the entrance nearest I-77. I had read before we chose our entrance point that if you have limited time, the North Carolina bit is more scenic than the Virginian because it is much more mountainous.
We spent about 7 hours on the parkway from I-77 to Asheville, where we called it quits.
For the most part, the drive was really lovely, but we are still really spoiled by our recent trip to Oregon. After about an hour or so on the scenic route, I stopped asking to pull in to every single photo area.
Actually, that is something I really loved about this parkway. It’s slow! We’ve been on other scenic byways where we feel like we’re holding up normal traffic when we drive at the speed limit, but the speed limit on the parkway never got above 45 and there were spots to pull off and take photos everywhere.
I think because it’s so slow (and many portions of it seem to be in the middle of almost nowhere), there is not a lot of traffic on the road. Or maybe it was because we were driving on a Monday…
Our first stop on the road was to the Blue Ridge Music Center. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it had a nice museum inside, a gift shop, and there was a band playing bluegrass outside to complete the mood. Definitely worth a stop!
Once things started getting really mountainous, it was tunnel city out here. There was even a “Twin Tunnel”, where two tunnels are separated by maybe 20 feet.
There were quite a few places to hike, though with all the time it was going to take us just to get to Asheville, we weren’t very prepared for hiking.
I’m a sucker for pictures of old buildings and there were tons of old barns and buildings along the detour routes we had to take. Be sure to check for road closures before you go so that you’re aware! We weren’t surprised by ours and the detours were still fairly scenic, so it wasn’t a big loss.
I’m honestly not sure I’d take this route again just because it adds so much time to a trip, but maybe if I was staying in North Carolina or Virginia for an extended period of time and had nothing else going on, I’d make a day out of it. If you live there, definitely give it a try!