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 glimpes 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 its sites that provide beautiful scenery and an opportunity to learn about lifestyles of the past.