The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina on the crest of the Appalachian Mountains between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are scenic overlooks every few miles, cars move leisurely along, and it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
The parkway was begun in 1935 and the last section finished in 1987. The land and views along it are protected, with no advertising or commercial businesses, and since the altitude was 3200 feet to 4300 feet, the air was cool and fresh.
Ah, just what we needed!
Grandview Overlook, 3200 feet
Milkweed in bloom, Stony Fork
We drove down a primitive one lane, steep (and scary!) Pisgah National Forest road to a parking area and hiked out to Wisemans Bluff Overlook. This view shows Table Rock, Hawksbill, and Shortoff Mountains.
There were two overlooks built out on rock cliffs where you can safely walk out over the edge to photograph.
There were blackberries along the trail but birds
or other hikers had gotten to the ripe ones first.
At the bottom, some 4000 feet down, is Linville Gorge and waterfall.
The bushes in the foreground with the red cone shapes at the top are sumac. You can make a sort of lemonade-tasting drink from them and it's very good. Pretty too as it is a bit pink.
On the way back to our inn we stopped here to see if we could buy some horehound candy and sure enough, they had some!
Horehound is an herb in the mint family and it has a taste somewhere between root beer and licorice. It soothes your throat and when I was a kid my grandpa would pull some out of his pocket, wrapped in twisted brown paper, and dole out a piece if you were a good girl.