The Mabry Mill is a historic site near milepost 176.1 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Edwin Mabry began construction of his mill in 1903 and operated it as a saw and gristmill until 1938. The National Park Service acquired the property and maintains it today.
Rhododendron bushes welcome visitors and line a boardwalk to the grounds of the Mabry property. The boardwalk crosses an aqueduct that carries water to the overshot mill wheel. The mill, blacksmith’s shop, and sorghum mill were closed for Veteran’s Day weekend, but glimpses through their walls were glimpses into the past.
The Matthew’s Home isn’t original to the Mabry property but was moved from nearby. After its move, weather proofing lumber was added to aide in preservation. The additional lumber prevented our peering inside, but the exterior alone provided a sobering comparison to our modern living.
The tools of days past were also on display throughout the grounds. A soap-making recipe and cauldron, a mule-drawn plow, and a lumber drying rack give visitors an idea of the labor performed by the Mabry family. The last stop along the walk about of the property is a whiskey still nestled in a hickory bottom at the end of an aqueduct.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a drive into wilderness and history. The Mabry Mill is one of the sites that provide beautiful scenery and an opportunity to learn about lifestyles of the past.
On our way to Floyd, Virginia, for the Veteran’s Day Weekend with my family, we stopped for a late breakfast just outside of Chattanooga. John and I both needed to get some work done, so we chose a restaurant with hearty food and good coffee.
John managed to inhale this entire “Mega Biscuit”. It was full of sausage, spinach, and onions, all with an egg on top. I made a mess of my “Farmhouse Biscuit”. The tomato jam and caramelized onions on top of a piece of cheese were too slippery even for my fork and knife! It caused the whole biscuit to fall apart. The bites that I managed to get all of the ingredients together were delicious.
John and I happened to stumble upon Floyd while on a vacation with my aunt, uncle, and younger cousins. It turns out that Floyd has been voted one of the 'South’s Best Small Towns' by Southern Living. This place turned out to be much more interesting than the prim and proper ladies in the magazine made it out to be.
The self-described underemployed artists of Floyd deemed their town, ”The Republic of Floyd”. Basically, this town seems like a large hippie commune founded soon after Woodstock. That being said, the town was adorable, the storekeepers were all very nice, and the art work was incredible.This town seemed to have a great back story and some interesting residents. John and I hope to come back for the famed “Floyd Fest” and get a true feel for the people of Floyd.
Ever wonder what life is like in rural Appalachia? Spend a weekend in Willis, Virginia, and you can have a small taste. The Buffalo Mountain Getaway is located 30 minutes from the closest city and is part of a local beef farm.
It was the perfect place for John and I to meet my uncle’s family for the weekend. We spent hours playing board games on the kitchen table while keeping an eye on the college football games playing in the living room.
The house’s three bedrooms accommodated the six of us comfortably, and the kitchen was large enough to create wonderful meals each night for dinner. If you are ever looking to visit one of “the country’s greatest small towns” make sure to stay at the Buffalo Mountain Getaway for a rural experience.