Blue Ridge Parkway – Mabry Mill

Road Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mabry Mill.

Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 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.


Mabry Mill.

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.

Photography Destination.

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. We also stopped at the Rocky Knob Vistors Center, which can be read about 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.

Outdoor Museum

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 handloom 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.

Mill Stones.

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.

Mathews Cabin.

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.

Road Trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mabry Mill.

I suspect that now that I have finally made my way down there, I shall find myself visiting again.


Let your light shine!


20 thoughts on “Blue Ridge Parkway – Mabry Mill

  1. I have been to Mabry Mill. I e done nearly the entire length of the Blue Ridge, with most of my time on and around it being in Carolina, but, much like the Appalachian Trail, the Virginia sections are beautiful. 😃

  2. Mabry Mill is our number one first stop to take visitors to, so we’ve been there frequently. It’s gorgeous. I’ve also heard really great things about the restaurant from our neighbors (we haven’t made it there for food yet). My mother’s church has a group that goes up there periodically for breakfast. We caught music by accident there one Sunday afternoon and it has always been in the back of my mind to go up sometime strictly for the music. Great shots!

    1. Thank you. We did eat there and were pleased with the food. I saw that they have music, but I’ve not been there for that. I’m much closer to Mill Mountain and saw that they had a sign for music one weekend as well. I need to get out to listen before the winter creeps in. 🙂

  3. I haven’t been to Mabry MIll, and I should like to go. I like mills in general. Mills are common here. Such a pretty place! 🙂

    1. Thanks Joanne! I did love how the light was filtering through the trees. It wasn’t the best time of day for photography and I have a hard time with light. I love it when they turn out the way that I envisioned them!

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