This looks like a jellyfish, right? It’s got the bulbous
The 470 miles that make up the Blue Ridge Parkway leisurely meanders through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties offering breathtaking sites and historical gems at every turn. The showiest season is fall, when the leaves change to brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges, but the spring and summer offer a heavenly retreat to city-dwellers sick of the heat and the daily grind. If you’ve never been or are planning to go back, take a minute to check out these facts that will make you visit all the better.
1.) The parkway is not only the longest but also the highest continuous route in the Appalachian area. Ranges vary from 649 feet at James River in Virginia to 6,047 feet at Richland Balsam in North Carolina.
2.) Where can you find the largest home in America? On the Blue Ridge Parkway, of course! The Biltmore Estate boasts 178,926 square feet of floor space and was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It’s still owned by the Vanderbilt family today and is definitely a worth diversion on the parkway.
3.) In addition to having the highest mountain east of the Rockies (Mount Mitchell), the deepest gorge in eastern America – Lineville Gorge. For outdoor enthusiasts, you can take a break and hike or camp throughout the gorge, but be warned now; it’s a doozy.
4.) The Blue Ridge Parkway is home to the headwaters of the New River, the oldest river in North America. I sense some irony here…
5.) The Parkway is also home to 9 federally listed threatened and endangered rare species: Northern saw-whet owl and Southern flying squirrel. Yes, the flying squirrel does exist! Squee!!!
6.) Everyone loves a good tunnel! There are 26 tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway with clearances ranging from 18 feet and 21.5 feet. Bonus: Only one of those 26 tunnels are in Virginia. VA gets no love.
7.) The longest Parkway tunnel is Pine Mountain Tunnel, located at mile 399. It is a lengthy 1,320 feet long.
8.) The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited National Park in the US. At over 19,000,000 visitors, the Blue Ridge beats out Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone combined!
9.) You can stop over 250 times on the Parkway and every time will be worth it. With overlooks abound, photo opportunities are numerous and there are plenty of picnics to be had.
10.) Dirty Dancing was filmed just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at a little Lodge on the lake – Lake Lure. Yes, you can stop, stay at, and dance where Baby and Johnny fell in love. *swoon*