Things to Do at Center In The Square in Downtown Roanoke VA

Center in the Square in Roanoke VA

Encompassing 43 square miles, with a population right around 100,000, Roanoke is the largest city on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with loads of great shopping, museums, and other attractions. In our eyes, Roanoke is one of the must-see mountain towns for anyone taking a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip. Downtown Roanoke is home to Virginia’s … Read more

The 10 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA

Appalachian Trail hiker on McAfee Knob at Sunrise

With a population of around 100,000 people, Roanoke is both the largest city along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the largest in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region. Extending its size, the Roanoke metropolitan area incorporates the neighboring city, Salem, as well as several small historic villages. It gives the whole scene a “mountain metro” kind of … Read more

Exploring the Blue Ridge Music Center Near Galax VA (Blue Ridge Parkway MP 213)

Blue Ridge Music Center Sign on Blue Ridge Parkway, VA

The Blue Ridge Music Center was established by an act of Congress in 1985 to celebrate the rich cultural history and ongoing musical traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 17,000-square-foot facility is particularly immersed in the Round Peak style of the North Carolina mountains and the Galax and Grayson County style of Virginia.  But the museum … Read more

Things to Do at Grandfather Mountain State Park in Banner Elk NC

View from the Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain

For me, the monolithic majesty of Grandfather Mountain preceded itself. On a few occasions in the past, my wife Emma and I visited friends who had a distant view of it from their mountain cabin. They were always thrilled to point the iconic summit out as a centerpiece of the High Country landscape. In a … Read more

The 10 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hotels & Cabin Rentals in NC

View From the Lake at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock NC

When we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina for the first time, we didn’t have much time to plan our trip because a plumbing issue forced us to vacate our home for 4 days. Starting at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Milepost 469.1), we gradually made our way north … Read more

Things to Do at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Near Blowing Rock NC

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from just east of Boone NC to just west of Blowing Rock is particularly packed with special sites and things to do. Over this 36-mile span, you’ll see the monolithic landmark of Grandfather Mountain, stunningly colorful mountain lakes, and jaw-dropping scenic vistas from the lofty NC High … Read more

The Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest (Near Brevard NC)

Entrance to Cradle of Forestry in America

The Cradle of Forestry in America was originally known as the Biltmore Forest School. It was founded in 1898 by Carl A. Schenck, a German Ph.D brought in by George W. Vanderbilt to manage his 100,000+ acres of forests around the Biltmore Estate. The goal of the school was to teach responsible forest management to … Read more

North Carolina Wildflowers Guide (& Where to See Them in Western NC)

North Carolina Wildflowers

Western North Carolina is truly stacked with natural beauty. From the misty hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the towering trees of Pisgah National Forest to the countless waterfalls scattered throughout the area, it’s easy to find yourself awestruck by the scenery that greets you nearly every which way you turn.  Though fall colors … Read more

The 10 Best Boone NC Hiking Trails to Explore

Best Boone NC Hiking Trails, Image via Canva

The Blue Ridge Mountain town of Boone NC is best-known for its Christmas tree farms and outdoor recreation opportunities, offering everything from mountain biking and rock climbing to whitewater rafting and snow skiing. The county seat of Watauga County has a population of around 20,000, which is pretty big for the Western North Carolina High Country. … Read more

The 15 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfalls in North Carolina

The Best Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfalls: Soco Falls in Cherokee NC

North Carolina waterfalls are both plentiful and stunning as they cascade down the state’s ruggedly majestic peaks, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Balsams, Black, and Craggies. In fact, the waterfalls of North Carolina are flowing all over the western side of the state! Of course, if ever there were a perfect scenic road for … Read more