Thursday, September 3, 2015

Explore the Blue Ridge Highlands & Blue Ridge Parkway

blue ridge parkway deer

You'll find that there's a lot to do in the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway! Whether your tastes run to Bluegrass Music and barbeque or fine wine and Shakespeare, you'll find that you can have it all in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge 469 miles from Waynesboro VA (just outside of Staunton) all the way down to the Native American reservation at Cherokee, NC. Gorgeous scenery, hiking trails, live music, festivals, food, watersports, wineries, and more will keep you busy and entertained.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Saltville VA: A Coastal Salt Marsh in the Mountains

blue heron saltville va
As I sat on a bench looking over the marshland, a Blue Heron gently landed on the shore. The reeds in the marsh swayed in the breeze, and the smell of salt water filled the air, reminding me of similar scenes growing up on the Chesapeake Bay. But I wasn't on the Bay; I was 400 miles inland in the town of Saltville, VA.

Saltville is a bowl-shaped valley between several mountains in Smyth County in Southwest Virginia. Geologists surmise that at one time there was an inland salt water ocean in North America that covered what is now the Mississippi River Valley. The geologic upheavals that left the Appalachian Mountains and the Coastal Piedmont left the saltwater basin that is now Saltville.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blue Ridge Mountain Fences

Groundhog Mountain overlook VA

At about mile marker 189 on the Virginia side of the Blue Ridge Parkway you'll find the Groundhog Mountain Overlook.

Here the US Park Service has built a display of pioneer fencing types. One of the most interesting points about these fences (to a former city boy like me) is that they were built without any nails. As one drives the Parkway, these fences can be seen for almost the entire 450+ mile length of the road. Typically, the lumber used to build them is Chestnut.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is it Bluegrass, or Old Time Mountain Music?

Old time stringband
Last Sunday Jill and I drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mabry Mill for their afternoon live music program. Parkway traffic is heavy on Sunday afternoons during "the season", and the visitors center at the Mill was crowded with tourists.

We came in behind the Mill and set up our camp chairs on the grass facing the performers pavilion. There were four performers playing banjo, fiddle, guitar, and upright bass. A sheet of plywood had been thrown on the grass, and several dancers were flatfooting.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Make Authentic Southern Cornbread

What's Wrong With My Southern Cornbread? How to Make Great Cornbread
Guest Post by K. A. Miller

Southern cornbread is a great favorite in the South of the United States. It is also popular around the world. I have had request for my recipe from Germany, India and the Philippine Islands. I suspect that many of these request are from Americans living in these countries. But probably, not all.

You can go on the Internet and find dozens of recipes for Southern Cornbread. Unfortunately, most are not authentic Southern recipes. It saddens me that many people use these recipes thinking they are cooking the real deal when, in fact, they are not. So, let us first determine what is real Southern Cornbread.