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Publication: Weekend GetAways
The Blue Ridge Parkway

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       WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, October 26, 2007
    Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!

Greetings Getaway Lover,

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic corridor 
that runs through the southern Appalachian Mountains 
from Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia, to Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park, on the North Carolina-
Tennessee border. It has much in common with these 
parks -- notably motor-vehicle access to hiking, 
camping, and picnicking opportunities; cultural and 
historical attractions; and modern lodgings nestled 
in some of the most striking mountain scenery in the 

Conceived in 1933 as a Great Depression-era public 
works effort, the Blue Ridge Parkway was begun in 1935 
-- the first rural national parkway -- and finished in 
1987. Its aim was to link the parks and to fight the 
area's dire unemployment. Today the parkway attracts 
more than 20 million visitors. 

Happy Trails,


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--DESTINATION: Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge's attraction is its elevated views of the 
wooded mountains and valleys that typify the Southern 
Highlands: modest peaks cloaked in a lush, leafy canopy 
of oak, hickory, and maple, with an occasional evergreen 
highlight of hemlock, spruce, or fir. With the exception 
of North Carolina's 6,684-foot Mt. Mitchell, the highest 
mountain east of the Mississippi, only a few Blue Ridge 
summits peak above 4,000 feet, but, the Blue Ridge 
Parkway reaches its highest point at Richland Balsam, 
which is 6,047 feet. Enveloping this expanse is the 
bluish haze that allegedly gave the Blue Ridge its name. 
Originally a product of moisture given off by the forest, 
today's haze is frequently infiltrated by airborne pollu-
tion that occasionally restricts views and has damaged 
some of the high-elevation foliage. 

More than six decades and 600 million visitors after it 
first opened, the parkway attracts a steady but uncrowded 
flow of weekday visitors from April through September; 
highest visitation is on summer weekends and during 
October's peak fall foliage, which usually occurs the 
second or third week of the month. In particularly popular 
areas, such as Virginia's Mabry Mill (Milepost 176.1), the 
traffic can sometimes resemble a big-city traffic jam -- 
the parkway is the most visited area in the 368-unit 
National Park System. Few travel the road in winter, and 
sections are frequently closed due to ice and snow. 

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Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum 
Museum/Gallery, Brevard 
One more piece of evidence in the case that there's a 
museum for everything, this installation features those 
tacky aluminum trees from the 1950s and '60s. Among the 
tackiest: the Elvis tree and the Tammy Faye Bakker tree. 
The museum, open annually from Thanksgiving to New Year's, 
is the creation of Brevard resident Stephen Paul Jackson. 
The venue varies from year-to-year. In 2003, the museum 
was at Kris Klassics store, 36 W. Main St. If you are in 
the area around Christmas, for time and place check with 
the Brevard Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Information 

Address: 35 W. Main St., Brevard, NC, USA
Phone: 828/883-3700

Audie Murphy Monument 
Memorial/Monument, Blacksburg 
On May 28, 1971, America's most decorated World War II 
veteran, who later became an actor, died when his plane 
struck Brush Mountain amid thick fog. A peaceful half-
mile ridge-top walk leads to a simple monument, built by 
the Christiansburg Veterans of Foreign Wars, that marks 
the site of the crash and summarizes Audie Murphy's life. 
An overlook below the monument has a fine view of the 
Craig Creek Valley. Although the path to the monument is 
relatively smooth, the road to the top of Brush Mountain 
is winding, steep, and rocky; the monument is also 
accessible via a steep 4-mi Appalachian Trail climb. 

Address: Forest Service Rd. 188.1, from Blacksburg, follow 
Mount Tabor Rd. [Rte. 624] 12 mi east, turn left onto Rte. 
650 at the sign, follow it 5 mi as it becomes a forest 
service road to the dead end on top of Brush Mountain, 
Blacksburg, VA, USA

Ash Lawn-Highland 
House/Mansion, Charlottesville 
Two miles from Monticello, the modest Ash Lawn-Highland 
is marked by the personality of the president who lived 
in it. But the building is no longer the simple farmhouse 
built in 1799 for James Monroe; a later owner added on a 
more prominent two-story section. The small rooms inside 
are crowded with gifts from notable people and with 
souvenirs from Monroe's time as envoy to France. Ash Lawn-
Highland today is a 535-acre farm where peacocks and sheep 
roam. The outdoor Ash Lawn Opera Festival, during which 
one of the country's top-ranked summer opera companies 
performs, draws music aficionados July through August. 
www.ashlawnhighland.org. COST: $9. OPEN: Apr.-Oct., daily 
9-6; Nov.-Mar., daily 11-5. 

Address: 1000 James Monroe Pkwy., Rte. 795 southwest of 
Monticello, Charlottesville, VA, USA
Phone: 434/293-9539

Other Places of Interest:

Asheville Urban Trail 
Tour, Asheville 
This 1.7-mi walk developed by the City of Asheville has 
about 30 "stations," with plaques marking places of 
historical or architectural interest. The self-guided 
tour begins at Pack Place Education, Arts & Science 
Center. To enhance your experience, you can rent an audio 
guide at the Asheville Art Museum, which is part of the 
Pack Place complex. From April to November, guided group 
tours are usually scheduled at 10 and 3 on Saturday, 
weather permitting. www.urbantrails.net. COST: Audio guide 
$5, tour $5. 

Address: 2 S. Pack Sq., at Pack Place (Asheville Art 
Museum), Asheville, NC, USA
Phone: 828/258-0710

Appomattox Court House  
Historic District/Site, Lynchburg 
Twenty-five miles east of Lynchburg, the village of 
Appomattox Court House has been restored to its appear-
ance of April 9, 1865. It was on that day that the 
Confederate General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern 
Virginia to General Grant. There are 27 structures in 
the national historical park; most can be entered. A 
highlight is the reconstructed McLean House, in whose 
parlor the articles of surrender were signed. The self-
guided tour is well planned and introduced by exhibits 
and slide shows in the reconstructed courthouse. Inter-
preters cast as soldiers and villagers answer questions 
in the summer. COST: June-Aug., $4; Sept.-May, $3. OPEN: 
Daily 8:30-5. 

Address: 3 mi north of Appomattox, on State Rte. 24, 
Lynchburg, VA, USA  Phone: 434/352-8987
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200 South Street Inn 
$130 to $250, Charlottesville 
Two houses, one of them a former brothel, have been com-
bined and restored to create this old-fashioned inn in 
the historic district, one block from the Downtown Mall. 
Furnishings throughout are English and Belgian antiques. 
Several rooms come with a canopy bed, sitting room, 
fireplace, and whirlpool. www.southstreetinn.com. 16 
rooms, 3 suites. In-hotel: public Internet, no-smoking 
rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Continental breakfast. 

Address: 200 South St., Downtown, Charlottesville, VA 
22902, USA
Phone: 434/979-0200 or 800/964-7008
Fax: 434/979-4403

Alpine Motel 
Under $80, Abingdon 
The spacious, modern rooms of this clean motel have 
striking views of Virginia's highest mountain peaks: 
Mt. Rogers and Whitetop. The motel is set far back 
from the road and is therefore popular with families, 
as well as traveling salespeople. The Barter Theatre 
is nearby. 19 rooms. In-hotel: public Internet. AE, D, 
MC, V. 

Address: 882 E. Main St., Abingdon, VA 24210, USA
Phone: 276/628-3178
Fax: 276/628-3179

Banner Elk Inn Bed & Breakfast and Cottages 
$80 to $250, Banner Elk 
Here, less than ½ mi from Banner Elk's only stoplight, 
you have the choice of either traditional B&B rooms in 
a restored 1912 farm house or spacious cottages with 
kitchens. Even if you opt for one of pewter-gray, newly 
constructed cottages at the back of the main house, you 
can get a full B&B breakfast on weekends, or a con-
tinental breakfast weekdays. Owner Beverly Lait also 
offers several vacation rental houses nearby. 
www.bannerelkinn.com. 6 rooms, 3 cottages. In-room: no 
a/c (some), kitchen (some), no TV (some). MC, V. Full 

Address: 407 Main St. E, Banner Elk, NC 28604, USA
Phone: 828/898-6223 or 800/295-7851

Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company 
Pizza, Under $7 to $14, Asheville 
Locally known as the "Brew 'n View," this funky eatery-
cum-movie theater is extremely popular. Grab a micro-brew 
beer and a pizza with portobello mushrooms and fresh 
spinach, and watch Star Wars from the comfort of an old 
sofa. MC, V. 

Address: 675 Merrimon Ave., North Metro, Asheville, NC, 
USA Phone: 828/254-1281

Best Cellar 
American, $7 to $30, Blowing Rock 
Surely this is the only log cabin restaurant in North 
Carolina with valet parking, an oyster bar, and an 
extensive wine list. Don't let the rustic cabin fool 
you -- the Best Cellar is among the best restaurants 
in the High Country and has been since 1976. The menu 
isn't particularly daring, running to upscale standards 
like steak au poivre, roast duck, and veal marsala, 
with seasonal seafood dishes such as soft-shell crab. 
The martinis are ice cold and huge, and the seafood 
appetizer sampler, featuring oysters Rockefeller, crab 
cakes, boiled shrimp, and other goodies is almost a 
meal in itself. Reservations essential. AE, MC, V. 
Closed Sun. No lunch. 

Address: Off U.S. 321 bypass, Blowing Rock, NC, USA
Phone: 828/295-3466

C&O Restaurant 
French, $7 to $30, Charlottesville 
A boarded-up storefront hung with an illuminated Pepsi 
sign conceals one of the best restaurants in town. The 
formal dining room upstairs, the lively bistro downstairs, 
and the cozy mezzanine in between share a French-
influenced menu that has Pacific Rim and American South-
west touches. For a starter try the veal sweetbreads 
simmered in cream; the entrées include steak chinois 
(flank steak panfried with soy sauce and fresh ginger 
cream). The wine list is 300 strong. 
www.candorestaurant.com. AE, MC, V. 

Address: 515 E. Water St., Downtown, Charlottesville, VA, USA
Phone: 434/971-7044


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