Chris and I recently spent a few days in Gatlinburg, Tenn. A few Saturdays ago, we headed out down the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469 driving trail that winds through the mountains and valleys of the North Carolina and Virginia mountains.
The sun shone brightly for our leisure trip down the parkway and autumn leaf colors were just beginning to show among the light and dark green foliage.
We like to drive down the parkway, which has posted speed limits of 45 mph, and stop at various locations along the way.
The first two stops we made were at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and Julian Price Memorial Park. Both are located adjacent to each aother near Blowing Rock, N.C.
The Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is 3,500 acres featuring 25 miles of trails and Flat Top Manor, a 20-room, 13,000 square foot mansion built in 1901 by Moses Cone. Moses Cone was a textile entrepreneur, conservationist and philanthropist.
The home now houses the Parkway Craft Center, which sells handmade crafts by regional artists. Visitors can walk, bike or ride horses on eight different trails around the estate.
We didn’t have time to walk around the trails, but from the porch of the home, you could a small lake with and a trail that loops around it. The view was gorgeous with the sunlight sparkling on a small lake. Some visitors did take advantage fo the trails, including one small group that brought their horses for a stroll.
Many people had stopped at the home to look at the various crafts, which ranged from jewelry to fabric dolls. My favorite was the computer elves — female creatures made of fabric with wildly colored hair and clothing that will sit on top of your computer monitor and help you with all your computer falfunctions.
Visitors are limited to the front of the home and to the first floor. I would have loved to seen what the rest of the house looked like, but it’s not open to the public.
From the estate, we traveled a few miles to a picnic area at the Julian Price Memorial Park. We ate sandwich and chips we had packed from home beside a small stream. Many people were enjoying picnics too and many families played frisbee or ball with children and dogs.
The Julian Price Memorial Park is adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and features 4,300 acres and a small lake.
Recreational activities include hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping and guided walks and evening campfire programs.
We didn’t get to enough any of the recreational activities at either site, but we’d love to. These are one of the many places we decided we want to go back and visit.
Next stops were Mount Mitchell and Linville Caverns. I’ll write about those in a future post!