By Laverne Sutton © 1983
Issue: November, 1983
Editors Note: Mrs. Laverne Sutton sent us the following account of her recent first visit to the “Heart of the Blue Ridge.” Thank you, Mrs. Sutton, we’re glad you came and hope you’ll come back soon.
Recently my husband moved this Florida country girl to the town of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Down home, I sat for hours and listened while my husband and Virginia friends talked about the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mabry Mill. In my travels, I’ve missed a lot, one being the Virginia Mountains.
Sunday my husband says, “Let’s fill our coffee jugs and ride to the mountains.” (We always carry our coffee.) Before long, we were entering the Blue Ridge Parkway at Meadows of Dan, Virginia. A mile or two down the road my husband says, “I know I turned the wrong way, I just know I did. I should have gone the other way.” Up the road on the left, a block or so off the Parkway stood an old white building with people milling around at the side. “I know this is wrong. It’s the other way. Let’s turn off here and ask someone.” (Mayberry Trading Post)
As we climbed out of the cab of our pick-up, the air was filled with the sweet scent of apple butter being made in a huge pot over an open fire under a lean-to. (Next week it’s cane syrup) Being a country and Bluegrass lover, my ears picked up the sound of good ole country style bluegrass. We were greeted by an old timer who had “lived here all his life.” Sorry! We didn’t get his name. We were treated with friendliness, not as new comers, like so many folks treat strangers. All too soon we had to tell our new found friend farewell and backtrack.
Mabry Mill took me back into history as I walked around inside the old log cabin, watched the blacksmith at work, and toured the old mill with its huge water wheel that once ran a sawmill as well as grinding corn into mill. (There was also down home bluegrass being played here.) There was a quick dash to the gift shop for a post card to send to my Virginia friends down home, just to prove I was there. On our way back to the parking lot, I noticed the “General Lee.” Sure glad I didn’t run into “Bo and Luke” since I had forgotten my camera. (A very bad mistake.)
The scenery was magnificent, as Mother Nature in her early stage of autumn was turning the leaves to red, orange, yellow and brown. There were several stops made to look out across the miles of mountains and valleys stretching out to meet the sky, like a miniature toyland.
If you like nature, history or just want to get away for awhile, there’s no better place than the mountains of Virginia.
If you are entering the Blue Ridge Parkway at Meadows of Dan, please make a wrong turn! (Head south) Say hello to our old timer, smell the apple butter or cane syrup cooking, fill your ears with the sound of country bluegrass, take home a jar of apple butter or cane syrup. You won’t find any better, anywhere else than in the Virginia Mountains. As my husband said to our old timer, “We’ll be back.”