Mabry Mill Info
ADDRESS: 226 Mabry Mill Road SE (BRP Milepost 176.2), Meadows of Dan VA, 24120
PHONE: (276) 952-2947
MABRY MILL HOURS: Historic Site & Mabry Mill Trail open year-round
RESTAURANT/GIFT SHOP HOURS: Mon to Fri 7:30AM-5PM; Sat & Sun 7:30AM-6PM. Open through November 5, 2023.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM ROANOKE VA
From Roanoke VA, take US-221 S/Brambleton Ave SW for 41.4 miles, then turn left onto State Route 726. In about 400 feet, you’ll turn right to stay on State Route 726 and go 7 miles.
Turn right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and follow it for 4.2 miles, then turn left onto State Route 603. You’ll see the Mabry Mill parking lot on the right.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM MOUNT AIRY NC
From Mount Airy NC, head north on NC-103 E/E Pine St toward S Gilmer St for 8.5 miles, then continue onto VA-103 N.
Turn left onto State Route 614 and follow it for 9.6 miles, then make a right to stay on 614. In 0.8 miles you’ll make another right to stay on 614, then go 0.4 miles and turn left, then right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Take the BRP for 7.6 miles, then make a right and a quick left onto Mabry Mill Rd SE. The Mabry Mill Restaurant will be on your left in 0.1 miles.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA
Mabry Mill History
Ed and Lizzy Mabry built their mill in the first decade of the 1900s to serve as a corn grist mill for the local communities in Southwest Virginia.
One of the great benefits and challenges of the new mill was the limited water supply.
On one hand, the lack of water hindered the mill’s ability to generate the power necessary to grind corn well.
In order to meet that challenge, the Mabrys built an intricate system to divert water from two nearby streams.
On the other hand, the limited water also meant a slower turn of the mill and a finer grind of the corn.
Local people loved that fine grind, which soon made Mabry Mill one of the most popular grist mills in Virginia.
The Mabrys eventually added a sawmill apparatus to cut logs, as well as a woodworking shop, blacksmithing shop, and wheelwrighting service.
Over time, Mabry Mill became an incredibly important business in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Around 1920, the Mabrys built their house on the property, and lived there until Ed died in 1936.
That home was soon torn down, and the National Park Service took over the property in 1938.
Things to Do at Mabry Mill
Mabry Mill is encircled by the 0.5-mile Mabry Mill Trail, an easy walking trail that allows visitors to explore the buildings and other attractions at the historic site.
Along the trail you can see various items– some antiques, some replicas– that were used in the life and work of the Mabry family.
The massive mill stones and clothes drying rack made from lumber were of particular interest to me. But many Mabry Mill visitors are also drawn to the site of the moonshine still near the creek.
There’s a sign about whiskey distilling that explains how corn and water were combined to create a potent (and famously illegal) elixir.
The grist mill itself is a fascinating site filled with interpretive signs explaining the process of grinding of grain and “planking” of logs.
Visitors can see very clearly how the water turning the mill wheel generates powerful energy to the mill stones and cutting saws.
From Memorial Day through the end of October, the Matthews Cabin hosts demonstrations of early 20th century rural life. Park rangers and volunteers showcase a variety of skills used by Appalachian settlers.
This one-room cabin had no electricity or running water, but included a rustic kitchen, fireplace, and gathering space, illustrating how people lived more than a century ago.
The National Park Service continues to manage and maintain Mabry Mill in VA today, including a number of annual celebrations and living history exhibitions.
Mabry Mill Restaurant & Gift Shop
The Mabry Mill Restaurant and Gift Shop is a terrific place to stop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
But they’re perhaps best known for their pancakes and other hearty breakfast fare.
As an homage to the mill, pancakes here can come in buckwheat, cornmeal, traditional flour, or sweet potato. Don’t miss a chance to try the grits as well!
Lunch and dinner from the restaurant at Mabry Mill offer traditional Southern comfort foods, including pot roast, chicken pot pie, and roast turkey, as well as sandwiches and salads.
As is customary in the Blue Ridge region, you can also choose from a variety of vegetables to accompany your meal, or choose them as a meal unto themselves.
Did you know that macaroni and cheese can count as a vegetable? It definitely does here!
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Staunton VA
Things to Do Near Mabry Mill
Just south of Mabry Mill at BRP Milepost 177.7 lies the unincorporated community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. This small hamlet is well worth a stop, with some of our favorite places to visit listed below.
READ MORE: 20 Beautiful Butterflies in VA
Jane’s Country Café
2588 Jeb Stuart Highway, Meadows of Dan VA • (276) 952-1112 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon 11AM-4PM; Tue-Sun 11AM-7PM
This restaurant’s humble red cinder block building belies excellent food and amazing service.
There’s no breakfast service. But their burgers, fries, sandwiches, and entrees (including BBQ pork, grilled chicken, and baked ham) will satisfy the biggest of appetites at lunch or dinner.
Don’t miss the desserts at Jane’s. Their cakes, pies, and puddings change regularly, but all are superb!
READ MORE: The 15 Best Virginia Waterfalls for Hiking
Poor Farmer’s Market Country Store
2616 Jeb Stuart Highway, Meadows of Dan VA • (276) 952-2670 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon-Sat 6AM-8PM; Sun 7AM-8PM
One of my absolute favorite places to stop near the Blue Ridge Parkway, this quirky general store offers up anything from dried beans and canned jams to cast iron, pickling crocks, and biker vests.
That doesn’t even cover the fresh seasonal produce, or the small grill in the back.
My best advice? Grab a cold Blenheim Ginger Ale and two scoops of ice cream, then head out to the store’s back porch to sit for a spell.
Primitive Coffee Antique Market & Bakery
2677 Jeb Stuart Highway #4, Meadows of Dan VA • Official Website
HOURS: Mon, Tue & Fri 8AM-2PM; Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun 8AM-4:30PM
A recent addition to the Meadows of Dan community, this coffee shop offers up excellent brews of all types, including your requisite cappuccinos and lattes.
But Primitive offers much more. Look into the cold cases and you’ll find dairy and meat products from Virginia farms.
Go further down the line and you’ll find local roasted gourmet coffee, plus local bitters and simple syrups for the cocktail aficionados in your life.
There are even a few antiques, and baked goods as well! In our experience, Primitive is well worth a stop.
READ MORE: The 10 Best National Parks in Virginia
Mayberry Trading Post
883 Mayberry Church Road, Meadows of Dan VA • (276) 952-2155
HOURS: Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM; Sun 10:30AM-5PM
Further south from Mabry Mill and Meadows of Dan sits the Mayberry Trading Post, which is located between Milepost 180 and 181 off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Mayberry Trading Post was established in 1892 and has seen four generations of ownership. It was most recently remodeled and reenergized in 2022.
Part general store and part gift shop, the shop is filled with local crafts and other basic goods.
On my most recent visit I purchased a locally made walking stick, a book on Appalachian culture, and the best fried sweet potato pie I’ve ever eaten.
Living history demonstrations happen here throughout the year. My personal recommendation is to come for the sorghum syrup making.
It’s also important to know that this is the original Mayberry!
Griffith’s grandparents grew up a stone’s throw from this store. Local legends suggest Andy would spend summers with them as a boy, playing along Mayberry Creek and coming into the store with some regularity.
Rocky Knob Recreation Area
The Rocky Knob Recreation Area is located north of Mabry Mill, around BRP Milepost 169. It’s an excellent place for nature lovers to explore.
For experienced hikers, I recommend the Rock Castle Gorge Trail, This taxing 10.8-mile loop takes you into the gorge and river below the Blue Ridge Parkway, then back up again through heavily wooded and rocky terrain.
For the casual hikers, there are less taxing sections can be accessed at various points along the trail.
If you’re a photographer, don’t miss the various Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks in the Rocky Knob area, which offer expansive views and lovely spots for picnics.
My personal favorite is the Rock Castle Gorge Overlook, but the Twelve O’Clock Knob Overlook and the Saddle Overlook are also superb. -by Travis Feezell; lead photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett