It has been a few years since I have driven on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now with spring weather just around the corner — at least I hope so — in a few weeks I might take some time to travel at least a few miles of it again. Now probably isn’t the best time to explore the parkway since the leaves are off the trees and the weather is unpredictable this time of the year.
Sometime in the future I would like to travel the length of the Parkway — all 469 miles of it. Of course on my next visit to that famous road, I’ll probably only enjoy a few miles of the tranquility and scenic beauty that makes the Blue Ridge Parkway so special.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Parkway. Work began on it in 1935. It was a public works project that was a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” After 52 years, the parkway was completed in September of 1987. All but 7.5 miles of the parkway were completed by 1967. That short distance around Grandfather Mountain presented a particular problem.
It was thought necessary to connect the gap in the Blue Ridge Parkway with the least damage to Grandfather Mountain. The solution ultimately was to build a bridge around the mountain. It was an enormous undertaking. Due to the innovation and ingenuity of the project, it is called one of the world’s greatest engineering feats.
When my wife and I traveled to Asheville several years ago via the parkway, the Linn Cove Viaduct hadn’t been built. Of course, we’ve been on the road since then but only short distances either north or south from our entry point off 421 a few miles from Boone. I have never seen the Linn Cove Viaduct or driven on it. I’ve seen pictures of it and it is fascinating to me to think of all the work, material and challenging construction techniques that were necessary to build the viaduct.
Perhaps in late spring or summer of this year we’ll enjoy another trip on that famous parkway and this time we’ll traverse the Linn Cove Viaduct.
Another attraction of interest to me is the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park that is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If I remember right the park has a number of carriage and horseback riding trails. The mansion, called Flat Top Manor, was built around 1900. The beautiful 20-room home was built by Moses and his wife Bertha Cone. The mansion now has a craft shop and bookstore. I remember that it was good to sit on the front porch of the mansion and look out over the vast estate. A nice lake can be seen from the porch.
Moses Cone was an industrialist who became wealthy in manufacturing of denim and other textile enterprises. He came to be known as “The Denim King.” Cone and his brother Ceasar were first in the wholesale grocery business. They gradually moved into the textile business — first in sales and then in manufacturing.

While I’ve visited the Cone Mansion several times, I haven’t explored the park itself. The park encompasses 3600 acres. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds for almost 2.5 miles through the park. It is interesting to note that Cone’s father Herman came from Germany to Jonesborough, Tennessee in the 1840s and lived there for 16 years. It was there that
Moses was born in 1857.