Every one told us that Boone was the place to go in the northern Appalachians of North Carolina. We both felt like it was a bust, having liked the intimacy and slow pace of small town Blowing Rock more. We gave it a shot though and walked through some of the numerous shops along the main street. However, we just couldn’t avoid the feeling of a bustling college town.
Our first stop of the day was Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, which was only 10-15 minutes north of the Julian Price campground. This is an absolutely gorgeous old mansion with an even more beautiful view of the rolling Blue Ridge foothills. What was nice about this park is that the mansion has been turned into a local artist co-op, where only Appalachian artists and crafters are allowed to sell their work. They also try to have a resident artist located in their closed in porch, whom is performing and explaining their work to those of us who take interest. I might have even found my future wedding band here.
After deciding to not spend another minute in Boone, we got back on the BRP and continued north into Virginia stopping here and there including one of the six locations of the Blue Ridge Frescoes. is home to “The Last Supper” fresco. It is in a humble old church that doesn’t look like much on the outside, it probably wouldn’t surprise you if it wasn’t in use, except for the nicely manicured lawn. But once inside, this church becomes quaint and beautiful due to the intimacy, natural light and woodwork.
After crossing into Virginia it didn’t take long to get to Mabry Mills. Having been here once before, the previous winter it was nice to see it in a different season. This mill is in total contrast to Mingus Mill from the beginning of the trip. It has a picturesque pond and waterwheel, with a weathered stone foundation. Also the BRP has a small stone arched bridge in the background which compliments this historic mill. There are some nicely paved paths that go to a few other historic buildings, some of which are in their original locations, and others where moved here from a nearby farm. All of which have a small sign board describing what it is you are looking at, so if you go in the offseason it is still a pretty informative stop.
After the mill we continued on the BRP to Roanoke, to meet up with a friend. After a brief reunion we all headed up to the top of Roanoke Mountain for the sunset. Unfortunately most of the overlooks had been fairly grown over so it was difficult to get a clear view of the city combined with the sunset, it almost seem to be a choice of one or the other. After some good hot chocolate and nice conversation we called it a night.