Blue Ridge Parkway

One Day Getaway on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Reviewed by: Ashlee VanMeter

The Blue Ridge Parkway is over 450 miles long, winding through Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, but some of the best dining and picturesque sights on this famous scenic drive are located just right down the road. If you're looking for a getaway but only have one day, many of the Blue Ridge Parkway's most unique offerings are close by. The stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 170 and 178 is full of interesting stops.

Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed places on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a water powered grist mill originally built in 1910. Bring your camera and pull off at milepost 176 for a beautifully preserved piece of history as well as live demonstrations of old time skills such as basket weaving, spinning and apple butter making. Walk the Mountain Industry Trail at Mabry Mill for a glimpse of what rural life was like in the Appalachia with its sorghum mill, soap kettle, old time whiskey still, and blacksmith shop. To experience more of Southwestern Virginia's heritage, the Mountain Meadow Farm and Craft Market is nearby off Squirrel Spur Road. Stop in to see the work of local artisans, craftsmen and purchase fresh produce from local heritage farmers who use farming methods that preserve the traditions of the old days.

Be sure to allow plenty of time for Chateau Morrisette because you may get there and find yourself perfectly content to stay all day. It absolutely exceeds anything you would expect to find off an old mountain road in what seems like the middle of nowhere. Chateau Morrisette, located between milepost 171 and 172 features a tasting room and gift shop where you can sample and purchase any of their many varieties of wine. The gift shop also features pottery, photography, and paintings by local artists as well as home and garden art and a wide variety of wine accessories for the wine enthusiast. Take a tour of the winery and learn more about Virginia's wine making history.

Chateau Morrisette has garden areas to stroll through and comfortable seating with a view in the winery courtyard. Unwind in the courtyard on Sundays in June - October with live music, a glass of wine and a selection of fine cheeses and crackers. Every third Friday of the month Chateau Morrisette hosts Friday Nights Live! with rock & roll and alternative bands out in the courtyard. The winery puts on several festivals each year including the Black Dog Wine and Blues Festival and the Black Dog Wine and Jazz Festival.

Villa Appalaccia is only one mile from Chateau Morrisette and I would definitely recommend visiting both while you're out there. Their wine offerings are vastly different and allow you the opportunity to sample the wide variety of wines that can be made here in Southwest Virginia. The Italian-inspired atmosphere at Villa Appalaccia is like entering a whole other world and has an entirely different feel than Chateau Morrisette. You could easily spend an afternoon here walking the gardens, playing bocce ball, and enjoying wine and cheese out on the patio. We stopped in to see their wine selections and stayed a while to play on the bocce ball court. Their wood-fired brick oven and Italian music garden is open on certain dates for live music and pizzas by Dogtown Pizza. They have special tasting events where guests can experience diverse wines, cheeses, and learn about pairing wines with various foods.

There are many unique, vibrant communities surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enrich your journey by exploring the little places that are "off the beaten path" and discover some of the many hidden treasures of Southwest Virginia's gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.