Saturday, June 1, 2013

Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway and Our Stay at the Pisgah Inn

Morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway Our Outdoor Travel Stories
Morning View of the Mountains on the Blue-Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic drive. Even though the drive is beautiful to admire, you must keep your eyes on the road. The many twists, turns and steep grades of the road can be very hazardous. Also, you need to keep a lookout for bicyclists and wildlife. We saw a couple of turkeys and deer on our drive. Needless to say, my jaw was clenched tight and my knuckles were white while I gripped the steering wheel. Motorcyclists were passing me by. To tell you the truth, I was ready to get off the road after the first night. It was quite nerve racking for me, but I always wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and I was going to complete it. I believe now after driving the parkway, that one should not schedule their lodging a head of time. Do not get me wrong; I loved the places we stayed at. It was just that we felt rushed to hurry and get to the next accommodation. If we could have had more time, I would have been able to stop at more mile markers and admire the views. It was very hard to judge the timing. The speed limit on the parkway is only 45 mph in most places and can be less in others. Then you should allow time for storms you may encounter. I learned very fast how the weather could change in a heartbeat.

Driving the Blue-Ridge Parkway Our Outdoor Travel Stories
Driving Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Keep in mind when driving the Parkway, that gasoline is not available. Gas is available not too far off the parkway at certain exits. Also know, that on some of the exits, you may have to drive a ways to located gas. It is best to exit on a milepost that leads to a big city like Ashville. The gasoline will be close to the parkway.

As we start our journey on the Blue-Ridge Parkway we begin at milepost 469.1. The mileposts will be located on your left hand side and they are small wooden posts. I am not going to name every milepost, but I will name the ones that are more popular and the overlooks. If you go to the Blueridgeparkway.org you can obtain a free copy of their directory and travel planner. It tells you every milepost, about the flowers you will see, wildlife, camping, etc. It is a very informative brochure and I had it by my side for the whole drive.
  • 461.9 - Big Witch Overlook
  • 451.2 - Waterrock Knob Parking Overlook - This has a great view, Restrooms and a Visitor Information Center
  • 431.4 - Richland Balsam Overlook - Elevation 6,047 ft.
  • 431.0 - Haywood-Jackson Overlook - Hiking trail can be found here
  • 422.4 - Devil’s Courthouse Parking Area - Hiking trail can be found here
  • 418.8 - Graveyard Fields Overlook - Hiking trail can be found here
  • 417 - Looking Glass Rock
At milepost 408 you find the Pisgah Inn. We have finally reached our destination for our first night on the parkway.

View of the Mountain Fog from our room
View from Our Room of the Fog
 Pisgah Inn is located right on the parkway at an elevation of around 5,000 feet. As soon as we entered the lobby to the Inn, we were greeted right away with the best customer service. The staff was very friendly and did not treat you like an idiot. They showed me on a map that at mile post 393.6 would be a good place to get gas. (This is the exit that will bring you to Ashville) This rustic inn was built in 1964 and has numerous hiking trails close by. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at their restaurant. Windows surround the dining area offering a beautiful view to admire while you eat. The rooms are big and comfortable. They are not luxurious, which is ok by me. There are televisions in the room. Each room has its own private balcony overlooking the mountains with two wooden rocking chairs. We loved it! 

view after the fog lifted in the mountains
View After the Fog Lifted
After, we brought the bags up to our room and got situated, we were going to head over to the dining room and eat. Well mother nature had other plans. It started raining and the fog was rolling in. I was watching the rain out the window when I noticed that it was not rain that I was looking at, it was hail! Luckily it was not golf ball size, it was more like ice shavings. I was glad I was not driving on the parkway in this. The hail did not last long. The sun started to come out again and we headed over to eat. We were starving now. 

A Chipmunk at the Pisgah Inn
A Chipmunk

When we entered the restaurant, we were seated right away next to the big picturesque window. What a view! The menu was a bit pricey, but hey, we are on vacation and in a nice restaurant. Nadia ordered a hamburger for about $8.95 and I got the Vegetarian Grill, which was a spinach wrap for $11.95. Our meal was very good.

wildlife viewing at pisgah inn
A little bunny
After dinner we headed back to our room and sat on the balcony overlooking the mountains. Nadia and I were looking for wildlife. We saw a bunny and a chipmunk. The fog started to roll in again. Nadia went back inside to watch her cartoons that she was not able to see for three days. I continued to sit outside, admire the view and read my book. The temperature started to drop a bit. By 8:00 pm, it was so foggy that if you did not know it, you would think there were no mountains in front of you! I decided to head back inside and study my Blue Ridge Parkway Guide to see what was in store for tomorrow. The next morning after we packed up our bags and loaded up the car, we went to eat breakfast at the restaurant. The office will give you a voucher in the morning for free breakfast. There are only certain items that you can order with the free voucher, but it worked for us. Again it was good meal with a wonderful view.  

After we checked out, we started to head north on the parkway to continue our journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Below is my newest book that is available on Amazon that was written about this road trip along with some added bonuses



Below is my first travel guide



Blue Ridge Parkway Music - Find CD's to listen too while you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway 

Books on the Blue Ridge Parkway - Find books at amazon for further reading on traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway