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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Bill Leslie: Blue Ridge recommendations

Posted October 17, 2019 7:23 a.m. EDT

Autumn sunrise

— Gosh! Thanks for all of the great recommendations on my upcoming trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ve offered dozens of terrific suggestions for our 469-mile journey from near Cherokee, North Carolina to Rockfish Gap, Virginia.

Cindy and I are putting the finishing touches on our itinerary.

Mary Alice Taylor Dowless said: “Find Pisgah Inn!”

We did, Mary Alice! We are spending a night there and hope to hike Mount Pisgah trail as recommended by Dan Lowman.

We wanted to thank Justin Deutsch for reminding me to take Cindy up Flat Rock Trail near Grandfather Mountain. Flat Rock was the first mountain trail I remember hiking as a boy, and the view at the top is absolutely stunning.

Linn Cove Viaduct is just north of Flat Rock Trail and “T.O.” gave a strong endorsement for the Rough Ridge Trial in that area near Grandfather Mountain.

Rebecca Carpenter says she is partial to Doughton Park near Sparta, North Carolina. Rebecca, we are as well! Bluff Mountain in Doughton Park may be our all-time favorite trail!

Jeffrey Porter put in a plug for Nikola’s Restaurant in Roaring Gap, just a few miles off the Parkway. That’s near our cabin in Alleghany County where we plan to spend one night. We haven’t been to Nikola’s in a while and would like to return.

Paul Kelly suggested hiking in Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. That may be a little too far off our path, but Grayson is definitely one of the finest state parks in America.

Beth Marcom recommended Mabry Mill in southern Virginia. We will definitely stop there for a photograph of this iconic landmark and then have lunch nearby at Chateau Morrisette. A number of you suggested this wonderful winery and restaurant.

Jean Cook is encouraging us to stop in Floyd, Virginia. Jean describes Floyd as “a cute little town.” Yes, it is, and it has some great bluegrass music!

Foggy fall

Jean and Nancy Lindquist O’Neal said a full-length drive of the Blue Ridge Parkway would not be complete without a stop at Peaks of Otter Lodge in Bedford, Virginia. Well, we will spend our next to last night there and really look forward to it.

Tim Coles had me laughing with this post: “After you’ve seen one town, you’ve seen them all. After a while you get tired and want the convenience of a city."

Well, our last stop will be Charlottesville, and that’s big enough for me!