Category Archives: Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Closures

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 the following weather related closures are in effect for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • MP 355, NC Rt. 128 at Mt Mitchell State Park to MP 375, NC Rt. 694 at Bull Gap (Ox Creek Road).
  • MP 423, NC 215 at Beech Gap to MP 443, US Rt. 74/23 at Balsam Gap
  • Additional weather related openings and closures are expected. For latest road closure information call 828.298.0398.
  • Most Parkway facilities are closed for the season and will re-open in May 2012. The Peaks of Otter Lodge & Restaurant is open year round. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals near Spruce Pine, NC (Milepost 331), and in Asheville, NC the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382) and the Parkway Visitor Center (Milepost 384) are year round facilities.
  • MILEPOST 232 – 237 – The Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed to all traffic from Milepost 232 at Stone Mountain Overlook to Milepost 237 at Air Bellows Gap beginning July 15, 2011 and continuing until the summer of 2012. This closure is due to the reconstruction of the Parkway’s 32,000 linear feet of historic rock masonry walls in that section. Detour traffic signage will direct Parkway visitors around the closed area via US Highway 21 and NC Route 18 through Laurel Springs and Sparta. Click here for a map of the detour.
  • MILEPOST 388 – 393 -Beginning on November 1, 2011, and until further notice, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed for all visitor use from Milepost 388.3 at US Route 25/Hendersonville Road to Milepost 393.6 at NC Route 191/Brevard Road. This Parkway closure is necessary for contractors to repair deteriorating conditions on the south approach of the bridge over Interstate 26. Repairs are expected to be complete no later than Monday, December 5, 2011. The detour will direct visitors off the Parkway north of the closure at Milepost 384.7 to US Route 74 north, then to I-40 west, then to NC Route 191 south and back to the Parkway at Milepost 393.6 where NC Route 191 passes under. The detour is approximately 11.5 miles long and expected to take approximately 25 minutes to drive. The Parkway will remain open between US Route 74 and US Route 25 for the duration of the project.

Weekly Blue Ridge Parkway Activities


Summer is still not over and below are a few weekly activities sponsored by the National park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rocky Knob Campground, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 167
Evening campfire ranger talks on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Call (540) 745- 9662 for info. Non-campers are welcome!

Rocky Knob Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 169
Open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with maps, information, hiking trails, and a picnic area. Call (540) 745-9662 for more information.

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 176
Provides daily demonstrations of early 20th century Blue Ridge life. Activities include a variety of traditional Appalachian crafts including spinning, weaving, basket weaving, and blacksmithing.  Talks of the mill are led at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, Sundays feature traditional mountain music and dancing.

Blue Ridge Music Center, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 213
The Blue Ridge Music Center is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week through October 30. The Roots of American Music exhibit and Mid-Day Mountain Music (12-4pm) are free everyday!  The center features visitor information, hiking, gift shop, and museum. Call  (276) 236-5309 for more information.

Blue Ridge Music Center

The Blue Ridge Music Center is located at mile 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and opened in 2001. The Center was established by the U.S. Congress and was developed by the National Park Service in partnership with The National Council for the Traditional Arts for traditional music of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Center includes a state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater with seating for more than 2,000 people, picnic facilities, shop, indoor auditorium, hiking trails, and the ‘Roots of America’ exhibit. This new exhibit opened in May 2011 and was designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates of New York, the noted firm which also designed the Holocaust Museum. The exhibit lets children mix and match song lyrics and mix their own version of mountain music.

Visitors will also see examples of the evolution of the five-string banjo since its arrival in America with enslaved Africans. They will see the relatively few changes made in the fiddle, brought with Europeans who migrated here.

Daily and Summer-Long Music
There is free music every day called ‘Mid-day Mountain Music’ from May until October. There are concerts every weekend through September 10 in the amphitheatre, and tickets usually run from $8 to $18. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Concessions are always available and picnic baskets are welcome.

Music Center Hours and Info

April 29 – May 25 9:00 am-5:00 pm daily
(5 Days a Week, Closed Tuesday & Wednesday)

May 26 – October 30   9:00 am-5:00 pm daily
(7 Days a Week)
Last Day Open: October 30

You are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and flashlights. Pets and alcohol are not permitted. Concerts may be moved in case of inclement weather. Call (276) 236-5309 or visit for more information.

Blue Ridge Parkway presents They Call Me Aunt Orlene

Blue Ridge Parkway Call Me Aunt Orlene

The Blue Ridge Parkway presents the play “They Call Me Aunt Orlene” on Sunday, June 19. The play portrays the life of Aunt Orlene. “They Call Me Aunt Orlene” is based on extensive research including National Park Service oral histories and interviews with many surviving family members.

Aunt Orlene will once again step out of the old cabin at milepost 190 and tell of her life as a mountain mid-wife around the turn of the 20th Century. Aunt Orlene is portrayed by Phyllis Stump, a local author and poet. Stump is a retired English and speech and drama teacher, who has many years of experience as an actress and director with Community Theater.

The event is on Sunday, June 19 from 2 until 4 p.m. Participants should bring a chair. The presentation will be repeated on four additional Sunday afternoons: July 17, August 14, September 11, and October 9. For more information, call the  Rocky Knob Visitor Center at 540-745-9662.

Annual Fall Blue Ridge Parkway Gathering


The annual fall gathering at Mabry Mill will take place on Saturday, Oct.
16 and 23 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Demonstrations include apple butter making and other activities that early settlers accomplished to prepare for winter. Mabry Mill is at milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. through October. The water wheel is turned on for demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The last scheduled bands at the mill for the popular Sunday afternoon music and flatfootin’ will be Mac Traynham and the Blue Ridge Thunderbirds on October 17 and Mountain Ivy on October 24.

Everyone is invited to the Rocky Knob Campground on Saturdays at 6 p.m. for a campfire talk. The final talk of the season will be on Oct. 30 and will feature the ranger staff telling spooky talks for Halloween.

Further south at milepost 213, The Blue Ridge Music Center will have the mid-day mountain music presentations every day in the breezeway starting around noon through October 31. Two Fall Heritage programs will be presented at 2 p.m. in the indoor auditorium: The Slate Mountain Ramblers on October 17 and Songs of Eastern Kentucky with Rich Kirby on October 24. Because the theater is small, please call ahead to the Music Center at (276) 236-5309 and reserve a seat. The Fall Heritage Series is presented free of charge through support from the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway organization.

For more information, call the Rocky Knob Visitor Center between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at (540) 745-9662.

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Blue Ridge Music Center Presents: Fall Heritage Series

The Blue Ridge Music Center presents its ‘2010 Fall Heritage Series’ showcase in the center’s intimate indoor theater. Seating is limited for the Fall Heritage Programs. Advance reservation recommended by calling (276) 236-5309 x112. The Music Center also has free afternoon performances each day through Oct.

Sunday, October 10 from 2pm-3pm

Concert: Pilot Mountain Bobcats, Free Admission

The Pilot Mountain Bobcats have been entertaining dancers and festival goers with their infectious brand of old time stringband music since 1989. This Surry County-based ban has played for many regional and national events and include Nancy Sluys on fiddle, Jacki Spector on fretless banjo, Allin Cottrell on guitar and Bill Sluys on bass.

Sunday, October 17 at 2pm

Concert: Slate Mountain Ramblers; Free admission

The Slate Mountain Ramblers are a renowned family stringband from Ararat, Va. that is one of the most popular in the region for their traditional sound and great dance music.

Sunday, October 24 at 2pm

Performance-talk: Eastern Kentucky History Through Song; Free admission

Rich Kirby will lead a tour through eastern Kentucky’s history as reflected in its traditional music, from the pioneer days through the Civil War, the coal mining era, and the challenges of the present. In particular, he will feature songs from his grandmother, ballad singer, Addie Graham.

Blue Ridge Parkway Ranger Talks

Evening ranger talks are offered 6:30 pm at Bluffs Lodge on Fridays and Saturdays starting October 8. These programs are free and all are welcome.

Bluffs Lodge is at milepost 241 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Doughton Park visitor facilities, like most on the Blue Ridge Parkway, close for the season in November.

For more information, call the Ranger office at Doughton Park: 336-372-1947.

Brinegar Cabin Harvest Day Festival – Oct. 2

Come to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the fall and the Harvest Day Festival on Oct. 2 at Brinegar Cabin. Activities include applebutter making, food preservation demonstrations, and workers will be helping to put the garden to bed for the winter months. Ian Schnider will bring his Suffolk Punch, an English breed of draft horse dating back to the 1500s, to plow under the Brinegar garden.

Brinegar Cabin is located at milepost 239 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is open Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm throughout October.

For more information, call the Ranger office at Doughton Park: 336-372-1947.

Blue Ridge Parkway Symposium

Learn about the Blue Ridge Parkway’s impact on the communities it passes and how you might be a good steward to this important resource.

On Oct. 14-16, Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment in cooperation with Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc. will host this conference designed to assist community supporters of the Parkway how to realize their importance as a Parkway neighbor.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Symposium will be held at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Va. Speakers include Gerard Baker, former assistant director for the American Relations with the National Park Service and featured in Ken Burn’s film series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; Peter Jenkins, author of A Walk Across America; and Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Registration deadlines are Sept. 20. To register, visit the Blue Ridge Parkway 75 Symposium Web page.

75th Anniversary Events for Blue Ridge Parkway

The upcoming Blue Ridge Parkway celebrations on Sept. 10 – 12 has something for everyone. Events will take place at Cumberland Knob (Milepost 217.5) and the Blue Ridge Music Center Blue Ridge Music Center(Milepost 213). Expected to be at this event is traditional music, exhibits, history, history films, artists, crafts people, storytellers, and theater. Other activities include heritage craft demonstrations, jamming tent, quilt displays, tin can tourist exhibit, luthier shop, food court, birthday card exhibit, history tent, and ranger-led meadow walks.

Some of the visual artists at the Blue Ridge Parkway Anniversary event include Teresa Pennington of Waynesville, NC and P. Buckley Moss of Waynesboro, Va. Both artists are attributed for their renderings of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both artists will be at the Blue Ridge Music Center signing prints at various times during the weekend.

On Sept. 11 at 2 p.m., the one-women show “They Call Me Aunt Orlene” will be in performance at the Blue Ridge Music Center. This production highlights the life of a mid-wife of the 1900s in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Storytelling will be held throughout the weekend, from Cherokee stories to regional Blue Ridge folklore. Renowned writer and storyteller Charles Maynard will be at the festivities. On Sunday, the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th festivities include storytelling at Cumberland Knob and more music at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Traditional music will be on the main stage at the Blue Ridge Music Center along with history discussions and films in the small auditorium of the Blue Ridge Music Center.

Throughout the weekend, an ongoing children’s area will be held at Cumberland Knob. National Park Service rangers will be hand leading activities in biology, botany, natural history, geology, Parkway design, and Appalachian crafts.

All events and activities are free. Parking is available at the Blue Ridge Music Center with shuttles to Cumberland Knob.

So, pack you your backs and visit the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend.

Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 Events

Cumberland Knob

Storytelling at 11am, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm

Blue Ridge Music Center

10am     9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

11am     Laura Boosinger & Josh Goforth

Noon     A New Community of Stewards, Part I

1pm       Junior Appalachian Musician (JAM) Showcase

2pm       A New Community of Stewards, Part II

5:30pm Flat Foot Workshop by Phil Jamison

6:15pm A New Community of Stewards, Part III

7pm       Gala Concert featuring Dr. Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys

Blue Ridge Music Center (small auditorium)

11 am    The Blue Ridge Parkway: 75

Noon     Hands-On the Parkway (Panel)

1pm       America’s Favorite Journey (WRAL Film)

2pm       Life Along the Blue Ridge Parkway (Panel)

3pm       Blue Ridge Parkway: America’s Favorite Journey (NPS Film)

4:30pm Round Peak Music Panel Discussion

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010 Events

Cumberland Knob

1pm       Jack Tale Players from Ferrum College

3pm       Stage Closes

Blue Ridge Music Center

11am     Shaped Note Singing Workshop

Noon     The Churcmen

2pm       Festival Finale

Blue Ridge Music Center (small auditorium)

All-Day Jam