All beautiful on the western front

Given that the current week represents the beginning of the new school year for our family and countless others in our region and state, we decided to head to the North Carolina mountains this past weekend for a final summer journey.

Since this is a business blog focused on transportation, you will be spared most of the photos that our family took, but not all of them.

For this week’s post, I celebrate the Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s longest linear park, and invariably among the visited portions of the National Park Service in the country.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The roadway provides beautiful access to much of “WNC”, including Boone, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls and Gorge, Mount Mitchell, Asheville, Hendersonville, Pisgah National Forest, and more.

This won’t be the highest speed road you will travel on — the road is posted at 45 MPH or lower for its entire two state, nearly 500 mile journey, and the route is anything but straight.

Of course, when it comes to the Parkway, the journey is truly the destination, so you won’t care.

The vistas are beautiful, and they come one after another. Depending on when and where you go, you may see for miles from an overlook, or not at all — and in fact you may experience both levels of visibility during the same day, often within minutes of each other. Some portions are at elevations greater than 6,000 feet; the entire corridor is gorgeous and a celebration of western North Carolina (and Virginia).

From a transportation mobility standpoint:  the Parkway has no traffic signals, so there are no interruptions to a sublime travel experience. It also has no stop signs, except one:  at the southern terminus, where it intersects US 441, at the entrance to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a gem for North Carolina, a national treasure, and one worth visiting and revisiting.

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation



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