Julian Price Campground
Moses Cone Park
Mast General Store
Thunder Hill Overlook
Tomkins Knob Overlook
Church of the Frescoes
River Camp USA
Doughton Park Campground
Little Glade Mill Pond
June, 2007: Here are links and info on things we explored along the Blue Ridge Parkway mileposts 200-100, heading north toward Shenandoah National Park.
August, 2017: I’m switching these older html pages to WordPress format and updating links. If there were several pictures to share, I did a separate page, but everything we saw within the 200 mileposts range are included below.
Click all images below for larger size in separate window.
Julian Price Park & Campground
The National Park Service says this is the largest campground on the Parkway with 68 RV sites.
See my separate page for pictures of the different loops and more detailed info. I enjoyed my stay here and would do it again: Julian Price Park & Campground
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
From info sign: The 3,600 acre mountain estate of Moses H. Cone was donated to the National Park Service as a public “pleasure-ground” in 1950. Twenty-five miles of carriage roads in the park offer the hiker and horseman a quiet way through beautiful forests and highland meadows.
Flat Top Manor is the star of this part of the parkway. In the 1900’s Moses Cone bought over 3,500 acres in this area for the healthful benefits of this atmosphere and started building this “mansion in the sky. Now it serves as a crafts center for local artisans and is a perfect stop along the parkway to sit on the rocking chairs on the front porch and take in expansive views such as this.
There’s no entry fee, but there is also no parking area set aside for RVs. We passed by the first time after leaving Julian Price in the RV and while the lot is plenty big enough to turn around in and exit, it was full of cars with no room for even the smallest RV to park. So we came back in the tow car when staying in Boone. Keep this in mind when planning to visit here.
Both seasons were beautiful and next time I’d like to walk more on the Moses Cone Park Trails around here.
When northbound, the roads to Boone and to Blowing Rock are at the same Parkway exit at Milepost 292. To get to Boone, take Highway 221 and it’s about 7.5 miles to downtown. I’d heard it’s a worthy stopping point to explore Grandfather Mountain and Banner Elk, but we’d already been there. I’d also heard good things about the KOA in Boone and also wanted to see nearby Blowing Rock and Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, so decided to make our home base there for exploring them.
123 Harmony Mountain Lane ♦ Boone, NC ♦ 828-264-7250
My house is in the background, next to my nice neighbors, Rod & Becky Schell from Sherrills Ford, NC. They say they return here often for the quiet and solitude, and also because of the friendly people and the fun activities.
It’s obvious that this is a family affair here and not a corporate run KOA. Bob Harmon’s family built this campground 34 years ago and his wife, Joan, has worked with him for 21 years. She says her real enjoyment comes from meeting people from all over. She really shows a genuine enthusiasm for making her guests happy.
Area K has sites out in the open with the added perk of being able to see contented cows grazing in the upper field. Or take a walk to the pen and feed the goats.
The park is only 5 miles from downtown Boone and even though the last mile up Ray Brown Road is a bit steep, it’s doable with no real trouble and the reward of staying on the mountain makes up for that, too.
Only negative for me since I couldn’t get satellite TV is having no cable TV (they’re a bit too far removed for that at this time) and only one local channel came in with halfway decent reception. My Verizon cell phone worked fine and I was able to get online with my Verizon air card. They do have wi-fi that you can pick up if you’re in the vicinity of the office.
432 The Rock Road ♦ Blowing Rock, NC ♦ 828-295-7111
Like many natural things not easily understood, a legend is told to explain the Blowing Rock. You can read about the Chickasaw maiden and the Cherokee brave who are memorialized at The Legend of the Blowing Rock.
Apparently even today some believe this legend because the workers are often asked where the Indians are buried.
The views are incredible from here. A brief rain shower passed while we were there and it was cool to be at the same level as the clouds. We got a kick out of watching this little boy working so hard to climb this big rock.
Mast General Store
Highway 194 ♦ Valle Crucis, NC ♦ 828-963-6511
There are now 6 Mast General Stores, including one in Boone. But it all started with this original one in Valle Crucis that opened in 1883, so this is the one I wanted to see.
It really is a trip back in time to walk in to see the old timey post office and original counters where everything from “cradles to caskets” were sold and bartered for.
Charles Kuralt traveled through and said “All general stores are satisfying to visit, but one of them, the Mast Store, is a destination.”
I really did enjoy my visit here, and got a great pair of light hiking boots on sale, but what I really wished is that I could still fill my gas tank at a pump that can’t even count more than 99.9 cents per gallon!
Mom enjoyed rocking on the back porch and she said she fit right in because she was an antique, too! I accused her of flirting with that guy, but she denied it. 🙂
Thunder Hill Overlook
Even when taking pictures in panorama mode, there’s no way to capture the vastness of this beauty that seems to go on forever into the distance with each layer of mountains getting hazier and dreamier. And even when it’s cloudy, it’s worth stopping to see them.
Amazing views here overlooking Yadkin River Valley, where Daniel Boone made his home. The next pulloff at Milepost 285 is Boone’s Trace. They say this is maybe where Daniel crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains. Looking back over these photos, I can’t quite remember what little point-and-shoot camera I had at the time, but I do know that digital cameras have improved since 2007 and I’ve learned at least a little about taking better pictures than I did then. 😉
No false advertising here! Another of my crude attempts to do a panorama. And another grand view of the Yadkin Valley, where the beautiful mountains and valleys seem to ramble on forever. Daniel Boone hunted here and his Camp Branch lies down below in the valley.
Tomkins Knob Overlook
Jesse Brown Cabin – Cool Spring Baptist Church
A half-mile trail will lead you to Jesse Brown Cabin from this overlook. The cabin was built in the late 1800s and sits beneath a large red maple tree. Built as a residence for local preachers, the cabin is known for its sharp inclined roof. The church and the cabin are in close proximity and you can look through the windows of the church and view the cabin.
From Culture of the Blue Ridge Parkway: The Jesse Brown Farmstead, consisting of a cabin, spring house, and the relocated Cool Springs Baptist Church, is believed to be pre-Civil War and contains interesting examples of early pioneer log construction.
Downtown West Jefferson
This is a quaint town set against a picturesque mountain backdrop. Look for the murals that cover some of the downtown buildings – like this tribute to the mountain music this area is known for. Also visit Sally Mae’s Emporium and Todd General Store to browse through the memories of mercantile gone by. Ashe County Cheese Store was one of my favorite stops here where you can see cheese being made in their viewing room and buy wonderfully fresh varieties of cheese, butter, fudge and other goodies.
Churches of the Frescoes
There are two churches that feature these frescoes. We visited them when we were staying in Boone and due to parking, etc., I think it’s best that way instead of trying to park near them in an RV. Exit from Parkway is at Northwest Trading Post (Milepost 258) heading toward Glendale Springs. Go past the first stop sign, turn right and go 1/2 block to the Holy Trinity Church. You can pick up a map there to the other church, a few miles away.
The 3 fresco paintings here at St. Mary’s are the “Mystery of Faith”, “John, the Baptist” and “Mary, Great with Child”. There is a bumble bee that is immortalized in the John the Baptist fresco because it “bugged” the artist so much while he was painting! At Holy Trinity, the “Last Supper” covers an entire wall of the Church.
2221 Kings Creek Road ♦ Piney Creek, NC ♦ 336-359-2267
When researching where to stay heading south on the Parkway in October, I found them and loved the idea of being in the mountains of NC during fall colors. That and the New River were enough to convince me.
Here’s the link to my page about my October 2007 stay there and my very first kayak trip ever when two of the nicest camp hosts ever, Ruthanne and Frank, took me out. I loved being able to park my motorhome right at the river’s edge and watch the other kayakers go by.
West Jefferson, the Churches of the Frescoes, and New River State Park are easy commuting from here.
Doughton Park Campground
National Park Service – 25 RV Sites. I had planned for this to be my next stop after leaving Boone during my summer trip heading north in June, but when we got there about 1 pm, it was hot and sunny and the only site open that was big enough for me was just too hot and too sunny. So I decided to press on to Rocky Knob Campground, about 80 miles further up the road. But by the time I got almost that far, I decided to check out Meadows of Dan Campground in order to have quiet electricity. Info on that coming.
But when I drove through in the fall, I decided I’d like to check this out next time I come through here. And I want to check out the Doughton Park, too, and learn more about the Appalachian history there.
RVParkReviews.com – What campers say about Doughton Park.
Little Glade Mill Pond
Parkway Boundary of NC and VA
Milepost Guide for VA and NC (Blue Ridge Online) – Mile Post 0 is located at the entrance to the Syline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park Va. MP 469 is located at the Cherokee Indian Reservation in The Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina.
Virginia Experiences by Milepost (Blue Ridge Parkway.org)
North Carolina Experiences by Milepost (Blue Ridge Parkway.org)
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall – Virginia (Travel-Experience-Live)
These two shots were in the 200s Mileposts range, but I can’t remember which pullout. That’s why I suggest looking at them all! 🙂
I particularly enjoyed how the Christmas tree farm contrasted with the fall colors.
Plan Your Visit: National Park Service info on planning a day from Mileposts 218-331.
Next Stop: Mileposts 100 or go back to Main Blue Ridge Parkway page.
It’s all about sharing what we know with other RVers, so if you have anything to add about your stay on the Parkway, I’d love to hear from you in Comments below!