Scenic USA - Virginia

Johnson Farm

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Johnson Farmhouse - Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia

Photos by Roger Gillette

     America's Blue Ridge Parkway, crossing the rugged Appalachian hilltops of three states, is well known for its winding mountain roadway, Flat Top Mountain - Peaks of Otter hundreds of scenic overlooks, wildlife sightings and old growth forests. The Peaks of Otter, near milepost 86, is one of the highlights on the 469 mile Parkway. The site of a 19th century community, the nearby Peaks of Otter consist of three Sharp Top - Peaks of Otter main peaks, Sharp Top, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. Ranging in elevation from 3300 to 4000 feet, the footprint of these three peaks is arranged in a triangular pattern with Abbott Lake resting in the center.
     Aside from many beautiful mountain panoramas and intriguing hiking trails, the National Park Service has also preserved many Appalachian pioneer structures along the popular route. Here at the Peaks of Otter site, Parkway visitors will find only a few reminders of a Johnson Farmhouse small community made up of 22 families. The Peaks of Otter village supported a school, a church, two mills, an Odd Fellows Lodge and the Hotel Mons. The Johnson Farm, one of the few reminders of the old community, supplied fruit and vegetables to the hotel. John T. Johnson bought this farmstead in 1852, having been carved from the wilderness 85 years earlier by Thomas Wood. While a large number of families moved out of the area during the Great Depression, the Johnson family continually worked the farm for 90 years. The Johnson Farm Trail Loop, a two mile roundtrip, takes visitors to the farm, where the farmhouse is open for seasonal visitation.

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