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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted June 1, 2011 10:10 a.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2011 8:04 a.m. EDT

What is your favorite stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway and why? Let’s get a nice conversation going today. 

My favorite stretch of the Parkway is closed right now. Historic stone guardwalls along the scenic route are being repaired due to decades of deterioration mostly due to weather changes. It’s a 28-mile stretch between Highway 21 near Roaring Gap going south past Doughton Park. Be prepared for detours in this area. The good news is the campground at Doughton Park is scheduled to reopen on July 15th. But the Bluffs Lodge and Coffee Shop at Doughton are closed indefinitely due to a contract renewal issue with a private concession company. 

The entire guardwall project in this area is not expected to be completed until May 2012. Right now when you drive up Highway 21 from Elkin, you have to take a detour through Sparta and down Highway 18 until you reconnect with the Parkway. It’s a bit of a hassle for folks with cabins and cottages in the Roaring Gap area, but in the long run, there will be a definite benefit in getting those walls repaired. 

I have a strong emotional attachment to this part of the Parkway. My father used to vacation at the Bluffs Lodge. I’ve attached a watercolor image from one of his trips there back in the 1960’s.