Cumberland Knob, North Carolina is the birthplace of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Virginia is only a couple of miles to the north. It's such a fitting place to start construction of this monumental project, close to the border of the states that share the beauty of America's Highway.
In a couple of years time, the planning and preparation paid off. On September 11, 1935, the work quietly started. Brand new heavy equipment had been shipped in via the railroad station in Galax, Virginia. 100 unemployed men started clearing brush and timber.
The time was right, during the Great Depression, for a large public works project to create jobs for unemployed laborers and engineers. Contracts were awarded to private companies.
There are several nice picnic areas with both shaded and open tables and grills. Behind the visitor center is a picturesque overlook. Families come to picnic and enjoy each other's company in this quiet mountain setting.
The more robust path is Gully Creek Trail. This difficult loop trail is published as 2.0 miles (3.2 km), but the sign says 2.5 miles (4.0 km). The path descends from the visitor center to Gully Creek. It follows the creek, where it passes by a small waterfall and cascades created by boulders. The loop returns by the large open picnic area.
While visiting Cumberland Knob, make sure you go to the Blue Ridge Music Center. It's just 4 miles north in Virginia at milepost 213. Established in 1985, it's one of the newer facilities on the parkway. The interpretive exhibits and mountain music just add to your parkway Appalachian experience.
Today, this blue ridge mountain parkway is mature and beautiful. With uncompromising attention to detail, the landscape architects were able to turn a highway into an amazing parkway. The road, with its rock bridges and walls, enhance the natural beauty that surrounds visitors.
Put Cumberland Knob on your list of Blue Ridge Parkway stops. Here, where it all started, you'll gain a new appreciation for this engineering marvel.
2010 - 2013
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