A Safely Social Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We always enjoy drives in our beautiful, western North Carolina mountains, and even more so with our MINI clubs.  We actually belong to two, one based in North Carolina and one based in the Upstate of South Carolina.  This time, the Upstate group planned a safely social drive where the route came very close to our home.  So, instead of driving an hour to get to the start, we waited for them to come by us and then joined the group.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We jumped into the line about eight cars down, with another 12 or so behind us.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The route ran on pretty roads around the Hendersonville area, out to Brevard, then on Hwy 64 to Cashiers.  Heavy overcast skies kept the temperatures cool.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Our drive leader led us to Whiteside Brewing for lunch.  They have a large outdoor space, more than enough for us to have our lunch with safe spacing.  Several large cable spools more than eight feet in diameter served as tables, so we could sit on opposite sides and have a nice conversation.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

More MINIs.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

After lunch we were off again, heading towards Cullowhee and the Valley of the Lillies.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Clouds threatened as we drove alongside the Tuckasegee River, a native American word for ‘place of the turtle’.  This river is entirely contained within the state of North Carolina, beginning near Brevard and emptying into Fonatana Lake on the western border.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Locals call this river the “slow moving turtle”.  The drive followed the river for quite a while, and we still had the top down on our MINI, as did several others.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Driving by pastoral scenes of old barns and grazing cows, we ran out of luck with the rain.  Tops were put up quickly on several convertibles, and we were on our way again.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The mountains are beautiful, even in the rain.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

On the way, our drive leader pointed out this church.  This is Riverview Baptist Church, an historically black church, which has not been in service for many years.  Doing research on it, there is no record of the date it was built, however, according to the research of high school student, Tara Hinton, the church reflects the style of architecture prominent between 1880 and 1920.  It is originally a wood structure, with a brick overlay added later, and a stamped metal roof overlay.  See her very well researched youtube video –Black Church Restoration to Build Inclusive Narratives of WNC.  It is slowly deteriorating, but there are currently no plans to restore it.  Ivy is growing across the weathered red bricks, but you can still see the stacked stone along the foundation, and the interesting curved shapes above the window and door.  The property is being maintained, as the grass was mown, and the trees have been cut back a bit from where they were in a Google maps view.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

On we went to the next stop on our day long drive.  The apple trees of Barber Orchards in Waynesville.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Of course, I had to have another shot of most of the MINIs parked across the street from the market stand.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Ah, the colors of August again, ripe peaches…

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

and baskets of tomatoes and cabbages.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Back on the road, we made the turn up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The parkway was foggy, but we did stop briefly at the highest point for a photo.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The rock formations on the side of the road are so interesting.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We couldn’t see long vistas at the top due to the rain.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I did manage to get one shot a little farther down, layers of mountains with fog in the valleys stretch as far as the eye can see.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Lots of tunnels are on this part of the BRP.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The end of a fun day, the caravan of MINIs left the parkway in Mills River, and we broke away to head home while the rest of the group continued back to SC.

Blue Ridge Drive AMM at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We had a fun day in spite of the rain, lucky that it wasn’t raining during our lunch or farm stand stops.  Many thanks to Bill and Mary Lou for a fabulous route, and safely social event.

Where have your safely social outings taken you recently?

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39 thoughts on “A Safely Social Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

  1. Rita C.

    What a great day trip! That would satisfy my urge to want to be out and travel quite well. The BRP is gorgeous. The church photo, awesome. Love the farm stand seasonal goodies too.

    1. Donna Mae Clarke

      This Western Canadian used to drive the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway sometimes in the early 70s while living in Florida. It was breath-takingly beautiful! I live close to the Rocky Mountains now. I so enjoyed the pictures of your trip.

  2. Thanks for all the photos. Peach season is over for us in the Houston area. Local peaches are the best, of course. It seems that by the time we get peaches in our stores they are just not the same quality. Glad you got to get out. It looks like you had a fun and enjoyable day. The club person coordinating the outing did a fine job of finding a place for everyone to eat! I clicked on the link about the black church restoration. It was well worth my time to listen. I was so impressed with this high school junior who had started on a journey of abandoned buildings and ones in disrepair to finding this old church. She apparently has done a lot of research and I am sure she will follow through. One thing I also observed was that she had surely begun her journey about this black church long before the latest black lives matter came around this year. She proved to me that white people do care and want to make a difference. Unfortunately, we are seeing the “bad apples” on tv news. Thanks for including the link.

  3. karenfae

    what a nice drive – I love driving through that area the few times we have been there – when things are back to normal it is one place to see again

  4. Oh, the lush greenery, the fog and rain and the produce! Along with the visual delights, I was having olfactory sensations of the smell of the farmstand and the rain. Mmm, mmm! Even though we are in a moderate drought here this summer, our local peaches are just delicious. Such a treat after this hot summer! Thanks for another beautiful post.

  5. Linda B

    Such a lovely day! Have to ask though…were there any problems finding/. accessing bathrooms along the way? Inquiring minds and all that, LOL!

  6. Donna Weeks

    Road trips and casual drives are a great break from everyday events. The BRP is always beautiful. Thanks for sharing your trip with your readers.

  7. What a fun relaxing time you were blessed with. the farm stand looks really good…hope you got to get some of those .peaches…when will the apples be ready?

  8. Thank you for taking me on this amazing ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains. I felt like I was with you all along the way. From those adorable mini’s, to the lush greens and old barns, mountain vista’s, lakes and summer bounty to the abandoned church – this was the perfect Sunday read 🙂

  9. Julie

    Thanks for the vicarious journey through the mountains. The scenery was lovely, I enjoyed the fog banks & rivulets on the windshield, beautiful produce, and Tara’s video about the abandoned church.

  10. Lovely ride through the mountains! I love the mountains! The beach, not so much…except for the seafood! We did have an outing a couple of weeks ago and drove down and at some delicious seafood and rode along the Gulf. Not many people out, which is a good thing and those that were were practicing good social distancing!

  11. Mary Ed Williams

    Those Cooper caravans look like so much fun! I grew up in the mountains near the BRP in VA so we went there often. Have you been to Mabry’s Mill?
    Mary Ed

  12. manasotavacation

    What a delightful day you had! Thanks for sharing it with us! Still looking at MINI’s longingly…..It’s been 8 yrs since I said goodbye to my beloved MINI and I still miss it.

  13. Sharon Vrooman

    What a wonderful drive and get together even if the weather turned. Enjoy seeing the cars in a line – driving and parked – as we just don’t see the minis in our area.

  14. Joan Sheppard

    Magical, mystery tour…..wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a wedding in that historic church! Drive up in a carriage, baskets of flowers…. My kids were baptised in a church from 1865 (the church not the boys). Love the magic of the mist in the mountains, even sounds magical. Then add the smell of the peaches. And me? I walked the dog. But we finally tore out all the bushes that suffered from the Polar Vortex then the cicadas and am planning the new shrubs and plants. I want it to look as colorful as my quilts! Thanks for the “mini” vacation. I feel like I was right there.

  15. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole, I am glad that you and your husband got to go on another great social drive! Such beautiful photos you shared with us! I enjoyed each and every one of your pictures. Plus, all of the details you included in your post! You write such a fabulous blog, I am thrilled to be a part of it! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! Have a spectacular day!!

  16. Renee Bidstrup

    It was so fun looking at the photos of your Mini Rally! I am on my 7th Mini Cooper – got my first the year they came out. I could not love a car more. You just slap it on your butt & go. I hope you all had a great time and wish I could have been there!
    Renee Bidstrup Corona, CA.

  17. Mary

    How you must have enjoyed your road trip! With a bunch of people who love doing the same thing. Your photos are a delight. I thought the little church was fascinating and do hope somebody somewhere will feel the urge to restore it to its original beauty.
    I think people who live outside the USA only think of the country as big cities but there is so much that’s beautiful outside the cities. That’s where I would like to explore.
    Thankyou for sharing your ‘day out’. :))

  18. I enjoyed reading and seeing your caravan. What a marvelous day out! You were in our area for a while, and it was fun to recognize some of the views. We haven’t been to the orchard yet this year, but we must go soon.

  19. Jill King

    A suggestion. As a lover of the Mini you may enjoy a NZ Movie called Goodbye Pork Pie. It is an oldie and is really funny. I love your posts. Thank you.

  20. What a wonderful way to spend a day. Lovely to have a change from being at home. And of course I love that scenery in that area. AND I remember those delicious baskets of peaches from last year..

  21. That looks like a wonderful route and I still find it so interesting that there are groups of people who do things like this. How does the lead driver communicate to the whole group to look at the church, for example, or what the plans are for the stops?

  22. Susan Nixon

    A wonderful drive. I love going through the mountains in the rain – eastern or western mountains. Always beautiful views. The Smokies were very smoky as I was leaving TN for OH on Monday. As I was alone, I couldn’t take pictures, though. That is a beautiful old church, and a wonderful market place.

  23. Sue H

    I tracked your route on Google Maps. What a fabulous round trip! There’s beauty in the rain & clouds too. That farm stand look delicious!

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