Scenic USA - Virginia

Mabry Mill

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Mabry Mill - Blue Ridge Parkway, Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Photos by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography

   Extending southward through the Southern Appalachians and winding through two major parklands, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most exceptional drives along the east coast. With endless scenic views and scores of historic landmarks, this 469 mile parkway has countless reasons for its popularity. An all season attraction, springtime puts on a showy display of mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea and fields of wildflowers. Summertime's long days and cool nights welcome the majority of parkland visitors, while during the fall season, a few weeks during October may see record numbers of leaf peepers. Winters may see the least amount of visitors, but after a fresh snowfall the barren landscape is smoothed over and brightened with nature's soft blanket of white.
   One of the most popular Mabry Mill in Autumn - Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia stops on the parkway is in Virginia at Milepost 176. Deserving more than just one visit, Mabry Mill is the perfect setting for one of the parkway's outstanding historic sites. One of a long list of structures preserved by the National Parks Service, the mill site also includes a wheel-wright's shop, blacksmith's shop, and whiskey still.
   A fifth generation Mabry, Edwin Mabry began his milling operation a few years after its construction was completed in 1910. The nearby stream lacked enough water flow to turn the huge millstones, but Mabry stayed on and worked hard, a typical trait of the self-sufficient Appalachian people. Mabry built furniture and wagon hubs as a wheelwright and blacksmith. After saving up enough money, he purchased the surrounding property and diverted nearby springs and creeks to supply a steady stream to power his grist mill.
   Ed Mabry died in 1936 and his wife stayed on at the mill until the National Parks Service adopted this wonderful historic site. The grist mill, restored in 1945, is one of the most picturesque mill settings in America, entertaining millions of photographers, artists and sightseers over the years.

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