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8 great scenic drives

By: Matt Hickman on May 3, 2011, 8:44 a.m.
motorcycle drives past split rail fence

Photo: Associated Press

3 of 10

Blue Ridge Parkway

Where: North Carolina, Virginia

Length: 469 miles

Recommended drive time: Three to four days

Scenery: Boasting majestic mountains, valleys and forests galore, the Blue Ridge Parkway connects North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park via the Appalachian Mountains. Although not considered a national park itself, the parkway — aka “America’s Favorite Drive” — is a National Scenic Byway and one of the most visited units of the National Park System.

Highlights: Humpback RocksCraggy GardensMoses H. Cone ParkMount PisgahLinn Cove Viaduct

Refuel at: Otter Creek Restaurant, Bedford, Va.; The Galax Smokehouse, Galax, Va.; Pepper’s Restaurant, Boone, N.C.

Pull over (for the night) at: Mountain Lake Conservancy & Hotel, Pembroke, Va.; Switzerland Inn, Little Switzerland, N.C.

Stretch your legs at: Mabry Mill

Cultural diversion: Folk Art Center

Required listening: Emmylou Harris, “Roses in the Snow”

Do you remember that town named … Little Switzerland, Meat Camp?