Day 2
After a light breakfast and good conversation with my RV friends, I rode north on the Parkway up the long hill to Blowing Rock. I had a second, larger, breakfast at Blowing Rock, having learned a lesson on my first day of Parkway touring: Eat where you can find hot food - places to eat are few and far between. The section of the Parkway I was riding is less spectacular but more lush than the section from Mt Mitchell to Grandfather Mountain. Lots of flowers and pretty rural scenery. The Parkway actually runs beside farms in the middle of this section. Other parts include really nice views looking out towards the Piedmont.


At Benge Gap, the Park Vista Motel, Store, and Restaurant just west of the Parkway. This is one of the few commercial establishments that is right on the Parkway It is a good place to eat and, although I haven't stayed there, I think it would be a good overnight stop. I stopped for lunch on this trip. A little farther north I passed the Northwest Trading Post. This is another commercial establishment which features home made crafts and baked goodies. Since I'm not into crafts and it is only nine miles past the Park Vista Restaurant, I've never stopped there.

Continuing north, the parkway climbs into Doughton Park. This is a great climb with a neat view of the Parkway where it is literally cut out of a rock face. Doughton Park itself is quite pretty with lots of hiking trails and places to stay (camp sites as well as cabins). It also has a good restaurant where I stopped for a desert.

Coming down from Doughton Park is great (and climbing up is a challenge) going in either direction. Going north you can see into Virginia as you descend almost 1000 feet in the next five miles. I did get rained on briefly in this stretch before I stopped for the night at the Mountain Hearth B+B which is located a few hundred yards east of the Parkway at about milepost 231.5. I had a great supper (trout), a marvelous breakfast, and a good night sleep listening to thunderstorms roll through.

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