The Blue Ridge Parkway

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life you should take a drive on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway takes you back to a time when traveling was about the journey, not just the destination. The sign marking the commencement of construction for the Blue Ridge Parkway is an unassuming gray roadside plaque, a few hundred yards from the North Carolina-Virginia border near Cumberland Knob. The low profile seems appropriate in this circumstance.

On September 11, 1935, about 100 workers started clearing and grading land on Pack Murphy’s farm, beginning the parkway’s initial 12.5-mile-stretch from the Virginia- North Carolina border south to Cumberland Knob. It was the first of 45 segments of the parkway, which traces 469 undulating miles from the northern entrance at Rockfish Gap, Virginia, where it connects to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park, to Cherokee, North Carolina, and the eastern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Planners envisioned the parkway as a new kind of road. “It is the first use of the parkway idea, purely and wholeheartedly for the purposes of tourist recreation distinguished from the purposes of regional travel,” wrote Stanley W. Abbott, the landscape architect whose vision guided the parkway’s design and central themes.

Along the two-lane road, there is not a single billboard, stop sign or traffic light. Utilities are buried. Signs are few. Only the mile markers are a constant. Entrances to the parkway appear regularly, but they are unobtrusive with no hint of civilization in sight. The parkway succeeds in fulfilling Abbott’s desire to eliminate the “parasitic and unsightly border development of the hot-dog stand, the gasoline shack, and the billboard” so that the natural scenery prevails. Cruising along at the speed limit of 45 miles per hour is like taking a step back in time.

Visitors should be aware that there are no gas stations on the Parkway. There are, however, many entrances and exits to nearby communities. One of these communities is the town of West Jefferson in Ashe County. West Jefferson is quaint small town known for its arts district and centrally located in the middle of the county. A1 Mountain Realty is located in downtown West Jefferson in the center of town. Visit us and let the dedicated and knowledgeable staff of Ashe County Realtors assist you in finding that piece of Ashe County NC Real Estate of your dreams in our beautiful mountains.

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