I was pleased to see this great (Fair and Balanced) travel
feature about the Blue Ridge Parkway
on Foxnews.com. The Blue Ridge Parkway is
a national treasure — the most visited unit of the National Park Service — so
any time travel writers wish to rave about it, it's OK with me. Especially
great travel writers like Eileen. I've followed her on Twitter for a long time and
always enjoy her insights. I am not writing today to disagree with anything in
Eileen's article. In fact, I think every American should see Monticello. I
merely wish to add my own two cents worth based on my experience of living near the
Blue Ridge Parkway.

Just south of the Peaks of Otter, Route 43 is a winding
road that descends from the Parkway into the town of Buchanan, Virginia. There
you will find Twin River Outfitters, the masters of all things related to the
Upper James River Water Trail. Most people think of Richmond or Jamestown when you
mention the James River. The fact is that it begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains
where the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers meet. The first 41 miles are part of
the Upper James River Water Trail, an innovative and highly successful tourism
initiative that has introduced many people to the joy of canoeing, kayaking or
tubing on the "Mighty James." The guys at TRO in Buchanan can help you enjoy a safe
day on the river.

A little further south is the Fishburn Parkway that
connects the Blue Ridge Parkway to downtown Roanoke, but not before going past
the iconic Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain. From the observation deck you look
out across the City of Roanoke and the ring of mountains that surround the
valley. In the distance you can watch planes take off and land at the airport. Thanks
to a handy sign at the overlook, you can also identify the mountains and ridges
along which the famous Appalachian Trail runs. Head down the mountain towards
Roanoke where right at the bottom where Fishburn Parkway turns into Walnut
Avenue you will find a mom and pop ice cream shop called HITS (for Homemade Ice
Cream Treats). Stop in and enjoy a banana split. After all, any summer road trip is better if it includes some
fun on the water and ice cream, not necessarily in that order.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

facebook-icontwitter iconyoutube icon
© Mikula-Harris