As we travel the Blue Ridge Parkway, most of us capture the awe-inspiring scenes with a camera. But if you’ve been exploring the park recently, you just might have encountered one of the many artists working en plein air, a French expression meaning “in the open air,” to capture the wonders of the mountains on canvas.
Sitting in front of small easels with brushes and paint-smeared palettes in hand, these artists leave the walls of the studio behind to experience painting amid the landscape and fresh air.
Mother Nature was gracious and parted the rain clouds just in time for the third annual Denim Ball on Friday evening at Chetola Resort. The event raised $115,000 for repairs and improvements at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park thanks to an outpouring of support from individuals, sponsors, local businesses, and the community. More than 230 people attended to celebrate the remaking of history at the estate located at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
To kick off the auction bidding during the third annual Denim Ball, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is hosting an online auction featuring three fantastic items. It’s a great opportunity for those who can’t attend the event to get in on the auction fun and support Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.
Each year, the Foundation works closely with the National Park Service to identify initiatives on the Blue Ridge Parkway that need your support. You can give to the projects that mean the most to you or the overall protection of the park. No matter how you choose to give, you’re investing in the future of one of the most treasured landscapes in our country.
The Find Your Pint beer series is back for its third year and you can now participate throughout the year. Originally a two-month event, Find Your Pint has expanded to partner with breweries and cideries throughout the year to raise funds for the Blue Ridge Parkway with special beer releases and events.
The Blue Ridge Parkway leaves each of us with special memories and a deep connection to the mountains. For Doris Luening, that bond was made when she and her family lived near Mount Mitchell as her father and uncle helped build the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s. Here is her story:
Doris Luening was only five years old when she spent a year on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but even today she can direct you straight to the site of the camp that she and her family called home while her father and uncle helped construct the new roadway.
We are pleased to announce the election of six new members and a new slate of officers to serve on our board of trustees.
At the Foundation’s board meeting in November 2017, Cynthia Evans Tessien of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was elected chair of the board of trustees, taking over for Jack Betts. Betts will continue to serve on the board as past chair. Alfred G. Adams, also of Winston-Salem, was appointed vice chair, while Rebecca Reeve (Asheville, N.C.) and Craig Lancaster (Fletcher, N.C.) were appointed as secretary and treasurer, respectively.
Not long after public historian Mike Ryan became an interpretative ranger for the Blue Ridge Parkway in its Plateau District headquartered near Rocky Knob, he was asked if he might develop a program about Rock Castle Gorge a few miles south of the knob. Ryan had hiked the gorge a number of times, had seen the ruins of long-collapsed cabins there and knew that once upon a time, the gorge must have been a growing community of families who somehow coaxed a living from the steep hillside and rocky soil.
Cold but dreamy snowfalls punctuated by balmy, hurry-up-and-hike days made for an unpredictable winter on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but according to the calendar (we had to check twice), it’s officially spring. Soon campgrounds, visitor centers, picnic areas, and historical sites will be ready for the influx of travelers. In 2017, more than 16 million came to experience the mountains and the communities along the way.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the life and work of Bertha Cone. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, may bear the name of its philanthropist and conservationist founder, but after his untimely death a mere 10 years after the estate’s completion, his widow, Bertha, took up managing its 3,500 acres for nearly 40 years afterward.
Each spring, Flat Top Manor at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is one of the first sites on the Blue Ridge Parkway to open, thanks to the fine folks who run the Parkway Craft Center. Right now, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes activity at the home in preparation for opening day on March 30.
The National Park Service has announced it will close the Linn Cove Viaduct for repairs this spring. Here is the official release from the Blue Ridge Parkway:
Iconic Linn Cove Viaduct to Receive Facelift during Upcoming Closure
The Blue Ridge Parkway leaves each of us with special memories. We invite you to share your experiences, remembrances, and the favorite places from your journeys. Tell us your story.
Carrying forward a family tradition and legacy
National Park Service maintenance personnel are conducting boom axe operations in multiple locations along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors should anticipate intermittent and temporary closures in active work zones. 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.
Closure areas are as follows:
Last week, we were so happy to welcome guests to celebrate 20 years of protecting the Blue Ridge Parkway and honor just a few of the extraordinary people who make up our Community of Stewards during a lovely evening at Lioncrest at Biltmore.