The main reason for our blue ridge parkway trip, was to visit Craggy Gardens!
It's not your typical garden, it consists of miles of rhododendron bushes, many of which were planted 70 years ago when the parkway was first built. The oldest ones have become craggy over many years of living in the harsh mountain climate. Hence the name, Craggy Gardens!
We discovered Craggy Gardens a few years ago. We were up in the mountains visiting family and decided to take a drive on the parkway before we went home. It was dusk and the clouds were low, we came to this sort of valley, where there was a drop on either side of the road and it was sandwiched between two mountain peaks. At this point we pulled the car over as fast as we could because the clouds were flowing right over the road through the valley! I'd never seen anything like it! Sadly I did not have any camera with me. We knew we had to come back and visit it again! The picture above kind of shows the road and little parking lot where the clouds were flying over.
We visited it last year and the had just missed the rhododendron blooms, this year when we visited we were a little too early. Maybe we'll hit it right next year!
Here is a mix of photos I took on the last two visits.
You can climb up one of the mountain peaks to craggy pinnacle and have a 360 view of the mountain ranges. It's one of my favorite things ever.
Right before you get to the top, there is a little trail that leads to this grassy meadow.
And I want to live there.
This is a view of black mountain, named for all the dark pine trees, and somewhere over there is mount Mitchell,which is the highest point on the east side of the US! We climbed it on our trip last year, it was really neat.
I thought that was a little house, but the ranger said it was a resting spot for hikers on the mountains-to-sea trail.
You can see where they sliced into the mountain to build the road!
And here is a little video I took of the crazy clouds!