Tag Archives: Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks Farm 2017 Free Concert Series

If you’ve not been to Humpback Rocks Farm’s concert series, plan to visit the Blue Ridge and get lost in the music of the mountains! Wander the historic farmstead, hike Humpback Rock trail, picnic, and soak in the beauty of Virginia while you kick back to listen while talented musicians entertain guests under the big old tree near the cabin.

And it’s all FREE on select Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm on the farm located at Milepost 5.8. Bands will include some old favorites and several new ones. Power and sound equipment has been upgraded, thanks to some generous donations, and there will be more concerts this summer than ever before.

June 18 – Farm Use String Band
July 2 – The Lovell Coleman Band
July 16 – The Bill Wellington String Band
Aug 6 – Harmony Hill
Aug 20 – Grassy Ridge
Sep 3 – The Mutton Busters
Sep 17 – Blue Mountain Sunrise
Oct 1 – Uncle Henry’s Favorites

This is possible through Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway — Humpback Rocks Chapter. Roles for volunteers are available: help with set-up, table attendant(s), clean-up, and parking attendants to help with the overflow crowds, all while enjoying fabulous mountain music! Follow the Humpback Rocks Chapter Friends on Facebook for the latest on participating bands.

Mark your calendars and then join in the fun! Bring a chair, lunch or snack, and be ready if clogging breaks out. Most of all, come prepared to have fun. See you on the mountain!

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St. Patrick’s Day at Peaks of Otter

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Spend your St. Patrick’s Day in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia! Peaks of Otter has a menu planned for your getaway.

St. Patrick’s Day Buffet

Friday, March 17, 2017

4:30 – 9:00 PM

$19.95 – Adults

$9.95 – Children (12 years & under)

Prices subject to 5.3% State Tax, 4% Local Tax, and Gratuity
Beverages Are Additional

Groups of 6 or more are encouraged to call ahead,
540-586-1081.

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Peaks of Otter, Blue Ridge Parkway Offer Winter Solitude

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As old as the hills . . . Peaks of Otter has drawn settlers and travelers to the region for more than 8,000 years. The community whose vestiges remain to be explored today had its beginning in 1766 when Thomas Wood arrived from Pennsylvania.

The wife of one of Wood’s descendants would open her home as the area’s first lodging for travelers in 1834. By the late 1800s, Peaks of Otter would be home to some 20 families, a school, a church and a resort hotel.

In the mid 1900s, the location was selected for special attention as the National Parks Service developed recreation and service areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Abbott Lake was constructed and Peaks of Otter Lodge opened in 1964.

The peaceful solitude of winter is found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia. A short drive up the mountain from Bedford, rustic and quaint Peaks of Otter Lodge, open weekends now through mid-March, is surrounded by hiking trails and thousands of acres of nature. With national park lodges closed for the season along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Peaks of Otter offers rare on-site accommodations along the Blue Ridge Parkway in winter.

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Saturday’s National Parks Centennial celebration at Humpback Rocks Farm

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The one-room log cabin anchors the mountain farm, an outdoor museum of cabin and outbuildings like those found all along the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains in the 1890s.

Humpback Rock
Humpback Rock is visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located 0.25 mile from Humpback Rocks Farm, it is a very popular hike with expansive scenic views from the top that overlook the Shenandoah Valley.

Humpback Rock Visitor Center
Humpback Rock Visitor Center, adjacent to Humpback Rocks Farm, has a small gift shop to purchase trail maps and informational books and restrooms.

If your family is looking for something to do this weekend, take a drive to the Blue Ride Mountains and help the Park Service celebrate the Centennial of America’s National Parks. This free event will take place Saturday, August 20, 2016, from 11am until 4pm, at Humpback Rocks Farm, located just six miles south of I-64 and Afton Mountain.

We have visited this historical farm in all seasons — the barn, various outbuildings, fences, rock walls, garden, and everything else that made up a way to survive in the isolation of these mountains. It’s a beautiful location in all seasons inclding spring, fall, winter, and summer — and even foggy days.

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Black bear breaks into vehicle on BRP near Humpback Rock

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Mother black bear with cubs at Loft Mountain. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

After a weekend of aggressive bear activities including a black bear breaking into a vehicle, the Appalachian Trail has been closed in the Humpback Rock picnic area (MP 5-ish). This comes on the heels of Thursday’s bear encounter at MP 5 of the Skyline Drive just south of Front Royal when a hiker’s dog was chased and killed by a bear.

A notice went out Sunday afternoon about the bear encounters and trail closures. By way of Appalachian Trail friend Rockfish to Reeds:

Received via email (AT TRAIL & CAMPING CLOSURES – between Paul Wolfe Shelter and Dripping Rock – 9.5 miles):

Good afternoon everyone,

We wanted to advise you that the Blue Ridge Parkway has experienced a number of bear incidents this weekend in the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area on the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The picnic area itself has been closed for the past week due to bears approaching visitors looking for food.

This afternoon a bear broke into a car at the Dripping Rock Parking area north of Humpback Rocks. In addition, two hikers along the Appalachian Trail near Humpback Rocks saw two bears which refused to leave the trail.

Out of an abundance of caution we would like to implement a trail closure and closure to all camping along the Appalachian Trail between the Paul Wolfe Shelter and Dripping Rock (approximately 9.5 miles). We realize this will be an inconvenience for many hikers using the Appalachian Trail through this area, however, based upon the current bear activity we feel we must err on the side of safety.

The National Park Service is in the process of reviewing the alternatives for managing the 2-3 bears we believe responsible for most of the on-going activity.

Any thing you can do to help get the word out about the above closures would be greatly appreciated. We will be posting signs at the effected trail-heads along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Best regards,

Tom Davis
Natural Resource Specialist
National Park Service
Blue Ridge Parkway
1670 Blue Ridge Parkway
Floyd, VA 24091

Black bear activity has caused trail closures the past several years in Shenandoah National Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is not to alarm but a heads-up to be safe and alert.

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The winter woods have returned to Afton & Blue Ridge Parkway

By Lynn R. Mitchell

After a particularly colorful autumn leaf show, the winter woods have returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Howardsville Turnpike can now be seen through the leafless woods from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love the winter woods … trees are bare and you can see the forest floor. This time of year there are few people on the Parkway so it offers solitude with only the sound of the wind and the dry, rustly leaves on the ground to keep you company.

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Embracing Virginia’s fall colors along Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter

By Lynn R. Mitchell

38The autumn leaf color was somewhat muted Saturday under overcast skies but the golds, reds, and oranges were still vibrant along the mountain ridge tops of Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall colors have been running about a week behind this year and so we have been able to stretch leaf season longer to embrace and squeeze out ever bit of this once-a-year event. Because it is fleeting, it is treasured.

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Autumn travel and leaf peeping in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell
Originally published in the Washington Examiner, October 4, 2010 – Updated

17Now that autumn has arrived in the Shenandoah Valley, October’s calendar is full of festivals and events for those who wish to enjoy cooler temperatures and colorful leaves. If waiting until the fall color show hits its peak, be sure to check out Virginia Tourism’s Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-424-LOVE or check the Fall Color report.

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Weather causes closures on Blue Ridge Parkway

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By Lynn R. Mitchell

From Virtual Blue Ridge website:

Due to heavy rain, high winds, and the threat of historic flooding, many sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed through this weekend or until further notice.

View the complete list of closures and cancellations before planning your Parkway excursions, and check back regularly with our Real-Time Road Closures Interactive Map.

They advise that, above all, be smart, use extreme caution, and stay safe.

Most of the closures are in North Carolina and some are in Virginia so be sure to check the website for up-to-date information.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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It feels like fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains

By Lynn R. Mitchell

9The Blue Ridge Parkway around milepost 4 in Virginia. Fall-like temp at mid-day was 53 degrees — sweaters and sweatshirts were on tap on this mid-September Sunday.

10Looking over Stuarts Draft / Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley. In the distance are the Alleghany Mountains.

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Black bear ambles into Humpback Rock picnic area

By Lynn R. Mitchell

6Sunday afternoon in Humpback Rock picnic area, as families grilled and set up picnics on tables scattered throughout the wooded mountainside on the Blue Ridge Parkway, an unexpected — or perhaps not so unexpected — visitor showed up to sniff the air and look for hand-outs. The young black bear had discovered easy pickings in an area populated by people and … food.

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Late summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains

5Hazy Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in late summer.

By Lynn R. Mitchell
August 2015

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Random act of kindness in the midst of tragedy

By Lynn R. Mitchell

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Tragedy hit at 6:45 a.m. EDT on Wednesday morning southeast of Roanoke, Virginia, when the WDBJ-7 TV shooting exploded onto news networks and social media. Horrified viewers watched the on-air murders of television reporter Alison Parker and camera man Adam Ward who were ambushed while on a remote live-broadcast location on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, a popular resort community.

As morning news shows dropped regular programming and reported minute-by-minute updates, law enforcement officials were in hot pursuit of the gunman.  The gruesome images along with gripping details rippled out into surrounding communities in the Commonwealth and across the nation as the shooter, a disgruntled fired WDBJ-7 employee, led a chase that began at the lake. It continued to the Roanoke airport where the gunman changed cars before speeding north on I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley.

Listening to the news as it broke that morning, we were snugged in our corner of Augusta County, safely away from the tragedy that was unfolding about two hours southeast of us. Or so we thought.

My Richmond sister Lori and cousins Faye and Sharon were in the Valley to visit for the week. Our plans on Wednesday were to meander and explore the Blue Ridge Parkway from Afton to Peaks of Otter where we would enjoy lunch at the lodge overlooking Abbot Lake and Sharp Top Mountain, and then return home in the evening.

However, before we could leave the house we found ourselves drawn to the TV screen as we watched the horror of the unfolding news. As a result, it was late morning before we left, driving through historic downtown Staunton on our way to I-64, Afton Mountain, and Milepost 1 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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That was when, while continually monitoring Twitter and Facebook on my iPhone, we saw that the police chase of the shooter had entered our area with law enforcement searching I-64 east to Fishersville and Afton Mountain in Augusta County, and I-81 north to Verona, also in Augusta County. Area schools were on lock-down. We decided to stay on Route 250 as we drove to Afton instead of taking a chance of getting caught up in any kind of police action that could take place on the interstates.

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