Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Picnic on The Blue Ridge Parkway

      The Blue Ridge Mountains are beautiful in every season. They surround our home and provide us with an outdoor playground that all levels of abilities can enjoy. Anything from simple walks to challenging mountain climbs and everything in between can be found here. Even a short drive in the car enables us to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. 
     A drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of my favorite leisurely past times. We have driven it for an entire day, all the way down to Blowing Rock, NC. But even within a short, thirty minute drive we can look out over spectacular mountain vistas and picnic in one of dozens of overlooks. The Peaks of Otter is a tourist destination within that distance. I began to take it for granted and avoid it over the years of living here. On a recent drive, we decided to stop and reacquaint ourselves with this pretty area. I was reminded of the beauty and serenity of the place, even amidst crowds of people. Normally I like to steer clear of crowded places in the great outdoors. I prefer the quiet and serenity of nature. However, walking around the lake at Peaks of Otter during this social distancing pandemic reminded me of what it looks like to see happy people enjoying the great outdoors in a carefree way. As I observed people fishing, sitting on the grass, and walking around the lake I thought to myself, "How normal everything is!" 
     Our drive and picnic were the simplest of things but it couldn't have been more uplifting for me that day.
An overlook with a dizzying view!

I wasn't expecting to see The Devil's Marbleyard. It's the white, scarred area off to the right. We hiked it several years ago. The climbing portion of that hike was a challenge for me but the view from the top made it worth the effort. Some of the boulders on that rock field were the size of cars.

Boulder strewn woods

Well look at that! The white blaze shows that we found ourselves on the Applachian Trail.
Abbott Lake at Peaks of Otter

This view on Abbott Lake shows the Peaks of Otter Lodge. It's not a very attractive structure, being made of cinder block, but a friend told me they updated the guest rooms. I peeked in the restaurant and it was very busy this day.

There is a one mile walking trail the circumference of the lake.

Polly Wood's Ordinary served as a roadside Inn in the early 1800's.

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