We are pleased to welcome George Ivey to our team this month as a Development Officer. In his new role, he will support community outreach and fundraising in the greater Asheville area.
Ivey has a lifelong appreciation for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Born and raised in Asheville, he grew up less than two miles from the Parkway. As a teenager, he worked as a busboy at the Pisgah Inn restaurant. An avid cyclist, he rode the entire 469 miles of the scenic route in 2004.
Volunteers are valued members of our Community of Stewards. By generously sharing their time and talents, they reflect a deep commitment to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We can’t thank them enough for choosing to work with the Foundation to make an impact. Here are just a few of the many people who contributed their time in 2019.
Spreading the Word
With 369 miles of hiking trails, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers abundant treks for First Day Hikes to celebrate New Year’s Day in 2020. Whether you want to kick off a new fitness goal or just enjoy the peace of the outdoors, the Parkway has you covered. Here are a few trails to consider for your adventure:
Start a Family Tradition
Just in time for the holiday giving season, we're announcing a matching grant for our new Trails & Views Forever Fund for the Blue Ridge Parkway. An anonymous donor is offering a challenge grant of $300,000 to jump-start this initiative to repair trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, overlooks, and other amenities.
It is an all-or-nothing challenge grant, meaning donors must give a total of $300,000 by the deadline of June 30, 2020, or the gift will be forfeited.
Ray and Laura Pease shared a love story, and not just with each other. The Blue Ridge Parkway wove its way into their hearts, and became a touchstone in their life together.
After discovering the Pisgah Inn during a visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1979, the couple returned each October to explore the Parkway. “Every year we would come and discover new trails and take some of the old trails,” Laura says. They weren’t shy about asking for recommendations for their next hiking or picnic spot. “Being Southerners, we talked to everybody.”
For so many people who enjoy fond memories of Bluffs Coffee Shop, the stories go beyond the ham biscuits, pan-fried chicken, and berry cobbler. A big part of the charm of stopping in for a home-style meal was the welcoming staff, including server Ellen Woodruff Smith, who worked at The Bluffs from the day it opened on May 31, 1949, to the day it closed on November 1, 2010.
We are so thrilled to announce that the Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Carolyn Ward, was recently honored with the William C. Everhart Award by the Clemson University Institute for Parks in recognition of sustained achievements that provide creative insights and that foster an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage.
As the sun set on Zealandia on Friday, October 11, guests arrived for an evening of art, jazz, food and drinks, and for an exclusive first chance to view and purchase Blue Ridge Parkway-inspired plein air pieces. The historic mansion on Beaucatcher was the venue for this year’s Of Valley & Ridge: A Scenic Journey Through the Blue Ridge Parkway, an art show benefiting the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and presented by First Citizens Bank.
Dozens of community members, project donors, and representatives from National Park Foundation and National Park Service joined our staff on October 3 to celebrate the replacement of the old flume at Mabry Mill and installation of new shake roofs on additional historic buildings at the site.
Do you want to reopen a beloved restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Here is your chance! The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, in cooperation with the National Park Service, is looking for a visionary partner to operate The Bluffs Restaurant. Renovations to the restaurant will begin this fall, and the reopening is slated for 2020. The restaurant at milepost 241 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Sparta, N.C., was a favorite among travelers and locals alike.
With Flat Top Manor as the backdrop, the fourth annual Denim Ball welcomed more than 200 guests on Thursday, August 22. It was the first time the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation hosted the event at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Thanks to our guests, the sold-out event raised more than $200,000 to fund continued restoration efforts at the historic manor!
The evening was more than a fundraiser; it was truly a celebration of the community’s deep commitment to this estate listed on the National Register of Historic places.
Bolstering rare plant populations. Archiving and sharing photographs of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s past. Revealing obscured views at overlooks. Repairs to a historic mill. We are asking donors to support these projects and additional initiatives that will enhance the scenic route and share its stories with millions of visitors.
Each year, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation works with the National Park Service to select projects that will connect visitors with the park’s natural wonders and history and sustain the park for generations to come.
The Blue Ridge Music Center is hosting an exceptional lineup of performers for the Roots of American Music summer concert series with shows in the outdoor amphitheater at 7 p.m., Saturdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day, at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax, Virginia.
Update (January 28, 2019): With the enactment of the continuing resolution, staff along the Blue Ridge Parkway resumed regular winter operations beginning Monday, January 28, 2019. The National Park Service reminds visitors to remain patient as Parkway staff begin to assess road conditions on the sections of Parkway that remain closed due to debris and winter weather conditions.
Update (January 25, 2019): The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is paying for National Park Service staff members to reopen the Visitor Center in Asheville at milepost 384 on the Parkway for three weekends. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, January 26-27, and Friday through Sunday, February 1-3 and February 8-10. We are also requesting donations and recruiting volunteers to assist with the recovery work that will be required after the partial government shutdown ends.
Thanks to your gifts, the new roof at the former Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park is complete! The facility at milepost 241 near Sparta, N.C., is now one step closer to reopening. The concrete shingles were replaced with Enviroshake shingles, which are easier and less costly to maintain.
The rehabilitation effort at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is in for a big boost. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and National Park Service are pleased to announce that three projects focused on repairs to Flat Top Manor, milepost 294, have been selected to receive Centennial Challenge grants awarded by Congress.
An announcement from the National Park Service:
(NC/VA) –National Park Service maintenance personnel are conducting boom axe operations in multiple locations along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway between now and the end of the year. Visitors should anticipate intermittent and temporary closures in active work zones as indicated.Both lanes of the Parkway will be closed to all activity (cars, bicycles, and hikers) in active work zones to ensure the safety of the maintenance workers as well as Parkway visitors.