Blue Ridge Parkway: Blowing Rock to Floyd

This middle stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway spans North Carolina and Virginia. As you head north the mountains get less rugged and the valleys between them wider.

Blowing Rock looked like a nice little town, from what we could see through the fog and with most of the businesses closed for the pandemic.

Our second day on the Parkway once again brought lots of clouds to add drama. But not as much rain, which allowed us to do some hiking. 

Our first stop was at the Cascades, where a nice easy trail goes through the woods and along a stream to a waterfall. 

While the mountains were still rugged, we were starting to see some open, grassy areas. 

In fact our next stop was at The Lump, a large grassy, well, lump, on the east side of the parkway. 

A steep but otherwise easy climb up the slope led to a nice view. In the second photo you can see our truck down in the parking area. 

Our last extended hike of the day was about half an hour up the parkway at Jumpinoff Rocks. Another nice walk through the woods, this time to an overlook; look for the spur trail to the left. A trail continues on through the woods after that. Good for stretching your legs, but we didn’t see anything exciting. (We weren’t exactly sure if we’d made it to “the” overlook or if there was more to come.)

The next stretch of road offered waterfalls right up next to the road, thanks to all the rain we had the day before. And more amazing mountain views, of course. 

The lone cabin at Doughton Park dramatically illustrates how remote settlements were in this area. This cabin is the lone survivor of a mudslide that took out the rest of the buildings in the valley.  The rock face is pretty impressive too. 

Doughton Park is where our car broke down the last time we tried to drive the parkway, so getting past here was kind of an achievement. Oh, and we found where they store the picnic tables!

More mountain views on the way north, past the Stone Mountain area and crossing from North Carolina into Virginia. 

We saw lots of arched stone bridges on the parkway. This is a rare double arch: one arch for the road and one for the waterway next to the road.

Our first major stop in Virginia was at Mabry Mill, one the most photographed places in the park. It is quite picturesque. 

I have to talk about one of the nicest places we’ve ever stayed, the Pine Tavern Lodge in Floyd, Virginia. The pictures above should give you some idea of how nice it was. They went out of their way to call and personally confirm our reservation, and since everyone else had canceled, they gave us a free upgrade. The room we booked would not have been as spacious but it would have been as nice. He also provided a detailed list of which restaurants were open and recommended the Dogtown Roadhouse, which we also recommend. 

Essentials​

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Lodging

Boxwood Lodge Blowing Rock, North Carolina

We stayed at the Boxwood Lodge in Blowing Rock, in a very pleasant room complete with both an indoor and an outdoor seating area. Convenient to the parkway and to local restaurants and shops. 

Pine Tavern Lodge Floyd, Virginia

Just stay here! It’s one of the best places we’ve stayed ever. We may have to come up with another reason to come this way just to stay here again!

Dining

Floyd looked like a cute little town. We were only there for one night so we didn’t have time to explore.

Town Tavern
Blowing Rock, NC
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Good burgers and a bonus free appetizer.
Dogtown Roadhouse
Floyd, VA
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An apple butter base for a pizza? Gotta try it. It was seriously good with sausage and onion, and so was the more traditional but just as good Italian pizza.
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Transportation

You need a vehicle for the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s very twisty and has lots of tunnels. We wouldn’t want to do it towing our small travel trailer. 

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