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Old 26th October 2010, 07:16   #1
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Default Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)

Warning: I am no photographer and I use a 6 year old abused P&S camera, which I love but it is past its age!!!

------------------------------------
I have been waiting to go on a drive to enjoy fall colors since the trees shed their leaves last fall.

Well this was one trip where only planning I did was taking a lot of books from the library and sleep on them. What else can you do, if you borrow 6 books just 2 days before you start.

But I would definitely recommend this book if you are not travelling in a hurry...
Moon Handbooks: Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains by Deborah Huso | Our State Magazine
The book focuses only on the NC stretch (the parkway traverses thru Virginia and NC). You can download the Blue Ridge guide and an excellent map from the Blue Ridge website - Blue Ridge Parkway - Home
There are enough information centers for you to pick one (if the information center has not ran out of them).


Blue Ridge Parkway (America's own Nilgiri, but similarity ends there) is roughly 460 miles starting south of Shenandoah National Park up to Smoky Mountains. It is part of the larger Appalachian Range (something like Niligiri Hills are part of larger Western Ghats). On I-64 the exits are marked so it should be pretty easy to take the correct exit. As we were coming from Richmond, we took exit 99 (Waynesboro).

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8918.jpg

The weather gods were pretty much in our favor. The forecast was sunny and temperature in 50-60 range. A little chilly but the warmth of our excitment made it just right.

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8919.jpg

The road ahead is filled with colors, fun, etc...

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0267.jpg

To be continued...
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Old 26th October 2010, 07:41   #2
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I did BR Pkwy end to end last summer in a convertible. It was one of the best drive I had ever taken. How far you had traveled down south on BR?

Keep the pics rolling..!!!
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Old 26th October 2010, 07:59   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idlebrain View Post
I did BR Pkwy end to end last summer in a convertible. It was one of the best drive I had ever taken. How far you had traveled down south on BR?

Keep the pics rolling..!!!
It was indeed beautiful out there. I couldn't find a convertible to rent in Richmond and that's the only regret I have.

More pics coming soon.
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Old 26th October 2010, 08:03   #4
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I'm never tired of seeing the cleanliness & visuals of US. Though I've witnessed the fall only once at Minnesota, I still love it & the memory remains fresh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akbaree
I have been waiting to go on a drive to enjoy fall colors since the trees shed their leaves last fall
^^^ is the only thing I love to keep watching tirelessly. Did you see anything in crimson red & blue? Pls do share them, I'd love to watch. Tks.
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Old 26th October 2010, 09:11   #5
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Akbaree,
I am hooked full time man! I have been longing to do the Blue ridge between Grand father Mountain and Gatlinburg. Do tell in detail, how are the fall colors there and when are they expecting it to hit peak?
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Old 26th October 2010, 09:58   #6
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I traveled quite a few times on the blue ridge parkway this year - the latest being couple of weeks back.
The fall color is nice - but this year due to warm weather and low rainfall, the colors aren't expected to go on full bloom.
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Old 26th October 2010, 10:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
^^^ is the only thing I love to keep watching tirelessly. Did you see anything in crimson red & blue? Pls do share them, I'd love to watch. Tks.
I have crimsom, red and blue (sky). To enjoy blue/purple at Blue Ridge one should go in early spring. I have heard and read that at that time the valley is lush with blue/purple rhododendrons. In falls I could only manage these wildflowers.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9111.jpg

Other pictures coming up soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sindabad View Post
I am hooked full time man! I have been longing to do the Blue ridge between Grand father Mountain and Gatlinburg. Do tell in detail, how are the fall colors there and when are they expecting it to hit peak?
@sindabad - don't wait for this thread to complete, you should go as soon as possible if you want to enjoy the colors this fall. I went on October 15th weekend and they were at 80% peak then.
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Old 26th October 2010, 12:46   #8
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This travelogue reminds me of my own trip to Shenandoah valley in fall 2001! Thanks for rekindling the same!!!

Last edited by naren_gs1 : 26th October 2010 at 12:48.
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Old 26th October 2010, 12:46   #9
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Good start the pics are good.Keep the pics coming
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Old 26th October 2010, 17:36   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
I traveled quite a few times on the blue ridge parkway this year - the latest being couple of weeks back.
The fall color is nice - but this year due to warm weather and low rainfall, the colors aren't expected to go on full bloom.
You are right it may not be in its full grandeur this year, but it is still great. As the parkway is 460 miles long, one gets enough opportunities of experiencing colors.


________________


Let me take a step back (sorry)...

The fall colors were around us even when we were leaving Cincinnati for Richmond (1st week of October)...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8861.jpg

The drive between Charleston and Charlottesville (around 250 miles on I 64) is itself quite scenic as the Interstate cuts horizontally thru the Appalachian valley. At one of the rest areas...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0166.jpg

And if you are travelling I77 or I64 in West Virginia, don't miss Tamarack.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8917.jpg
More information can be found at their websiteTamarack - The Best of West Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8876.jpg

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8878.jpg

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8887.jpg

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0169.jpg


Although it is more like a shopping arena with a huge selection of hand made/natural (by people of West Virginia and has Appalachian) items, conference center, etc...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8889.jpg
More information can be found on their website

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8898.jpg

Everything is expensive, this table was 16,000 USD
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8901.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8905.jpg

But naturally made honeys, jams and jellys were very tempting...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8899.jpg

A few more...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8910.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8912.jpg

But I don't want you folks to go there for just shopping. I have had the best set of grilled vegetables and meshed potatoes (with some trademark onion gravy) at the restaurant their. Don't miss it, the food is awesome.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8893.jpg

P.S.: some pictures are taken by my wife with Canon Vixia HF S21 (camcorder). It is our recent purchase and this was the first outing for the toy.

To be continued...

Last edited by akbaree : 26th October 2010 at 17:44.
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Old 27th October 2010, 16:49   #11
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Fast forward to 10/16:

We entered the Blue Ridge Parkway at the very beginning - 0th Milepost. And our aim was to drive thru the entire 460 mile stretch and reach Smoky's.

Day 1
The goal was to cover around 280-300 miles on day 1 and retire for the day at Blowing Rock.

Our first overlook...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8921.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0178.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0177.jpg

Our second overlook...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8928.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0184.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0186.jpg

Then the third...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0189.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0192.jpg
If you are thinking why are we stopping at these overlooks, we too didn't had a clue. But this drive is for fun and we are doing it for the first time, we don't know if we should stop or pass the overlook. But soon we realized that we have covered only 5 miles in 1 hour and there are more overlooks than the mileposts.

Our next stop was Sherando lake but only after taking couple of more stops for photo ops...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8931.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8934.jpg


The Forest department charged us a 8 USD entry fee for driving upto Sherando lake. The lake is a few miles off the Parkway and falls under George Washington National Forest.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8935.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8938.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8941.jpg
And with my son, that's my colleague - Giri, who generously gave in to my demands to join us on this drive.

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8942.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8944.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8945.jpg

To be continued... (we are somewhere near milepost 15...)

Last edited by akbaree : 27th October 2010 at 16:55.
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Old 28th October 2010, 08:36   #12
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Day 1 - Continued...

Leaving Sherando lake behind, we were back on the Parkway and immersed ourselves in the beauty of Applachian - one overlook after another...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8946.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8947.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8953.jpg

The colors were not as dashing as we expected them (so far) but for such occasional busts

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8956.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8960.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8961.jpg

At around 65th milepost we took another detour for visiting Natural Bridge.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8962.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8966.jpg

@18 USD per head, the entry fees was pricy. And then a mile long trek brought us to this waterfall
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8972.jpg
To kill my frustration (time and money), only thing I could do, was to experiment with my camera - in ths case trying out the slow shutter speed technique for shooting waterfalls. It kinda worked.

The detour however followed the banks of River James and was quite scenic. And so we decided - ofcourse - to have another photo op.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8980.jpg
The downsizing surely takes away the minute details. There were 5 canoes in the picture above (at the edge of the river) that are not visible after downsizing. I had used them for showing size perspective.

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8982.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8986.jpg

Once back on the Parkway, the colors started improving

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8988.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn8999.jpg
I realized only after I downloaded the pictures to my laptop, that I have taken a lot of pictures seeing up in the sky. So there are quite a few of this type to come. I really enjoyed the beatiful color and light the trees (with fall colors) created while looking up.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9003.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9006.jpg
That's the sharp top mountain (at around 85th milepost, part of Peaks of Otter). There's a shuttle that takes you to the top (peak) of the mountain from where one can enjoy nice views of the valley.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9008.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0198.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-img_0204.jpg

To be continued...

Last edited by akbaree : 28th October 2010 at 08:46.
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Old 28th October 2010, 09:09   #13
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Day 1 - Continued...

At around 5:00 PM we reached Roanoke mountain. There we decided to take a 4 mile one way loop drive to the top of the mountain - to enjoy views of Roanoke city.

It may be interesting for the people of Roanoke to enjoy viewing their city from a mountain top. For us, it was just okay. We could have used that time elsewhere.

However we had a larger problem at hand. We were at 120th milepost with just 30 minutes of sun left for the day. And we were miles away from our targeted destination - Blowing Rock. After some discussion we decided to ride till 9:00 PM.

Ofcourse we coundn't resist a few more photo ops. The evening sun created some dramatic colors - check out this golden haze
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9014.jpg

The sun eventually went down but we were not complaining- we had a great day with lots of fun and colors.
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9024.jpg
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-dscn9027.jpg

If you are wondering why I haven't posted enough pictures of the beautiful valleys (from hundreds of overlook we stopped at) - my camera just couldn't capture the beauty. And I thought that Panorama is not my cup of tea - no tripod, in hurry to go to next outlook, and in 6 years, I never stitched one (although I have taken a few during my previous travels). This time too, I took only two Panoramas - just to experiment. And boy, it is such a breeze to stich them - I had installed the Nikon supplied software this time. So this is my first stitched Panorama (two pictures only) in 6 years of ownership of this camera...
Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall 2010 (A photologue)-stitched_001.jpg

After the sunset, the Parkway transformed into a ghost road. We had only a few cars coming across in a 100 mile drive. And thru that thick vegetation, it all looked Halloween'ish. I must add that every few miles we can see a huge of cluster of lights in the valley down indicating good population density. No wonder, 2/3 of the land around the parkway is privately owned and the region earns 1.4 billion US dollars just from tourism every year.

We had our dinner at Fancy Gap (around 200th milepost). It was a nice family run restaurant. We got to see the average american and were served nice food. We retired for the day after driving an hour more (at 230th milepost) at a motel in Sparta county.

Coming Up: Day 2

Last edited by akbaree : 28th October 2010 at 09:15.
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Old 28th October 2010, 09:19   #14
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Awesome set of pics; loved the fall pics & I hope there're more to come Are there anymore pics taken in the evening? I love to see them.

And good to see the rail tracks & I hope its being used too. Any idea if they're meant for goods or passengers?
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Old 28th October 2010, 12:07   #15
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Very nice! The places are awesome and couple it with the fact that they are spanking clean! Creates a wonderful charm.
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