For a long time, I had these romantic visions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I just knew it had to be this serene, beautiful drive. I was thrilled to find I had been correct.
But here’s the thing if you’re the driver: You don’t see much but the road. Sure, the road in itself is kind of amazing, twisting and turning and winding its way up and down mountains (if you have a weak stomach like me, avoid the backseat on this trip). The speed limit is slow, rarely pushing more than 35-40 MPH, but even then, I was often too afraid to venture a look to my left or right for fear that I’d leer a little too long and find ourselves with a one-way trip down the mountain—and this isn’t the kind of off-roading I had any intention of doing.
So I was thankful for J’s enthusiasm with the camera, hanging it out the window and snapping away. Him: Wow, Britt! Look at that, it’s amazing! Me: I’ll have to catch it on the video or in the pictures!
Thankfully, opportunity to stop and really get an eyeful of the views is plentiful. There are many overlooks—over 200 of them, actually—for you to pull the car off, park, get out, gaze, eat, record, post to Instagram (I totally did), or whatever you want. Some of them even offer trailheads, the gateway to some decent hiking. A full list of all of those, here.
While the overlooks provide the most miraculous of views, there are a couple of pretty great things about being on the road, too: Tunnels are one. Driving a rental, it took me at least four tunnels to figure out how best to quickly flick on the lights, but since there are 26 of them in total, my odds weren’t too bad.
The other sight best seen on the road as opposed to pulling over? Fog. There was so much of it on our trip, coming in and out, obstructing views before evaporating into thin air. When the fog rolled in, driving through it was eery, but oh man, so beautiful, too. It was funny, how sometimes fog so thick could make it troublesome to see a few feet ahead of us, but then it’d disappear, leaving behind the most breathtaking of views. Like this scene, from the Simpsons Movie. Because what is life if not a series of Simpsons references? Not one I’m interested in living, I say.
I’m already trying to scheme up an autumn trip to do it all over again. Maybe not this year, but sometime soon. Though the Blue Ridge is most famous for its spectacular views of the fall foliage, it certainly doesn’t disappoint with the summer ones, either. It’s kind of ridiculous that spending so much time in the car could be this much fun, but it was. Just pack a killer playlist and plenty of snacks, and you’re good to go! That thing about enjoying the journey and not just the destination? That made a whole lot of sense this time around.