Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mabry Mill: Most Photographed Spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I stumbled upon this lovely article by Rose, she's from Colorado, now they have mountains, but she chose to see our. You should visit too, and stay at Mountain Song Inn, we are only 15 miles off the parkway. Thanks Rose, come back soon.


Blue Ridge Parkway: Mabry Mill site depicts the region's cultural heritage.


Mabry Mill served as a gristmill and sawmill in the early 1900s.
Photo: David Muenker
Sparkling water tumbles over the wooden paddles on theMabry Mill waterwheel, and then spills into a pond. Ducks glide across the water. Beyond, musicians play toe-tapping Appalachian music under the shade of tall pines. This inviting historic setting on the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwest Virginia attracts both travelers from distant places and locals from neighboring villages.
On weekends, the site bustles with activity as park staff and volunteers demonstrate many of the tasks typical on a 19th-century homestead. In a log cabin, women attired in period clothing spin wool and weave yarn into a bedspread on a 150-year-old wooden loom. As visitors run their fingers across fabric samples, they feel the difference between wool and linsey-woolsey, which is made of flax linen and wool. On October blueweekends, volunteers cook apple butter over the open fire.
At the gristmill, bins show samples of corn ground to various grades of fineness for grits and corn meal. Known to their friends as Ed and Lizzy, Edwin B. Mabry and his wife Mintoria built the mill in 1910. They ground corn for their neighbors for nearly 30 years. Their property also boasted a blacksmith shop, sawmill, wheelwright shop and a two-story frame house.
While volunteers describe how the gristmill operates, they reveal the origin of some common sayings. For example, the amount of space between the grindstones was critical for product quality. If the stones were too close together, they would create friction that would burn the corn. To make sure that didn’t happen, the miller would put his “nose to the grindstone” to check for the smell of smoke.
The Mabry Mill site also has a restaurant and gift shop where visitors can sample ciders and enjoy a meal before continuing their journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
How to Get to Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Denver, Colorado
To start at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, take Interstate 70 east to St. Louis, take Interstate 64 east to Waynesboro, VA, and continue east 3 miles to the parkway entrance. Drive south on the parkway to milepost 176 to access Mabry Mill.
To start at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, take Interstate 70 east to St. Louis, Interstate 64 east to Lexington, KY, Interstate 75 south to Knoxville, TN, Interstate 40 east to Kodak, TN, and Tennessee State Hwy. 60 to Gatlinburg, TN and across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the parkway entrance. Drive north on the parkway to milepost 176 to access Mabry Mill.
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