Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 429 miles from Virginia to North Carolina, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Since I now live in Roanoke, Virginia, I thought that I should get out and explore more of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
When the hubby and I had a day of exploration along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we knew that the final destination would be Mabry Mill.
Mabry Mill is located at milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was built by Edwin Boston Mabry. He began construction in 1903. At first it was a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, then it became a sawmill. By 1905, it was in operation as a gristmill.
In our four years of living in Roanoke, we have never meandered down to Mabry Mill, even though it is one of the most photographed locations on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Perhaps the fact that it is such a heavily photographed locale is what kept me from venturing down there. A quick Google image search will bring up a plethora of photos of the mill…in every season…in every light…
And I am an amateur/hobbyist photographer. It’s unlikely that I could add anything new to the perspective. We are not in peak fall color season…or flush with wintry white snow…or in the rhododendron blooming phase of spring.
However, I decided to go because what would make the photograph different…. was that it would be mine.
We took our time making it down the Parkway, stopping at the overlooks. If you missed my post on The Saddle Overlook, you can check that out here. Views from the Rock Castle Gorge Overlook can be found here.
By the time we arrived at Mabry Mill, it was around noon. We had some lunch and then strolled through the pedestrian pathways around the mill.
The shot above was one of the first I took, and is probably my favorite. Mostly due to the fact that the perspective is not one you immediately see as you scroll along the image search.
But don’t worry! I took some classic shots as well. The ducks decided to be accommodating and make my photo have a slight uniqueness.
Even though autumn had not shown her glory, there were still some colors to be found along the paths.
There are other buildings near the mill and the area is set up like an outdoor museum.
From Memorial Day through the end of October, there are demonstrations on crafts such as blacksmith, furniture maker, basket maker, and hand loom weaver. The schedules of the demonstrations rotate. The day and time that we were there, the furniture maker was outside of the blacksmith shop describing the process for making a chair.
There is also a collection of Mill Stones.
According to the sign, they are made from a quartz congiomerae (it doesn’t say conglomerate, I checked, so I don’t know if that’s a sign error or the real word) obtained at Brush Mountain Quarry. Blacksburg, VA. They were shaped at the quarry, but the miller “dressed” or sharpened them with homemade “chisels.”
I wanted some of them for my yard! I loved how there were little flowers growing in the center of some.
The Mathews cabin was built near Galax in 1869. It is mostly made of Oak and has one room on each of its two floors. In 1956 the cabin was donated to the National Park Service. They restored the cabin and moved it to this site.
Have you ever visited Mabry Mill?
If you are traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway, then it is definitely worth taking the time to stop and see.
I suspect that now that I have finally made my way down there, I shall find myself visiting again.
Let your light shine!