Easter Vacation – Day 3 of 5: Blue Ridge Parkway (Humpback Rocks to Rockfish Gap) and Back to Waynesboro
Bob and I spent three nights (April 17-20) in Waynesboro, Virginia. Waynesboro is located near where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins. Our original plan was to stay in Waynesboro for four nights, but we departed a day early. I will explain why we left Waynesboro a day early in a future blog post.
The highlights on Day 3 (April 19) of our Easter vacation included a visit to Natural Bridge, walking on a swinging bridge in Buchanan and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. My blog posts last week provided photographs and details about our visit to Natural Bridge and about our brief stop in Buchanan VA. From Buchanan we took Route 43 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We entered the Parkway at Milepost 90.9, Bearwallow Gap, and exited at Milepost 0, Rockfish Gap. Our 90-mile drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway yielded many photographs. My blog posts this week have shared those photographs. In Tuesday’s blog post (4/29/2014) I shared photographs from Milepost 90.9, Bearwallow Gap, to just before Milepost 63.8, James River Visitor Center. In Wednesday’s blog post I shared photographs that were taken at the James River Visitor Center. In yesterday’s blog post I shared photographs from Milepost 63.8, James River, to just before Milepost 5.8, Humpback Rocks. In today’s blog post I will share photographs that were taken from Milepost 5.8, Humpback Rocks, and back to our hotel in Waynesboro.
Upon reaching Milepost 5.8 we parked at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center.
Adjacent to the Visitor Center is an outdoor farm museum. A sign at the entrance to the farm museum reads: “This was originally a Land Grant tract granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia to induce pioneers to settlers the Blue Ridge Mountains and establish the border of the Western Frontier. Later it became known as the William J. Carter Farm. The original buildings have long since disappeared, but replaced with other authentic structures moved from nearby.” The farm museum consists of a single-room log cabin and a series of outbuildings that represent elements of regional architecture of the late 19th century. The buildings were assembled here in an arrangement that allows for an easy stroll along a pathway.
The first building that you come to as you walk along the pathway is a one-room log cabin. Near the log cabin a sign reads: “A man’s home is his castle. The log cabin has always been associated with the American frontier, but the idea of homes built from logs came from immigrants from northern Europe. The early southern highlanders adopted this type of construction and found it well suited to their needs. Using the mountains’ most abundant resource, trees, a log cabin could be built quickly with only a few tools.”
The next building that you come to is a “gear loft”, where the family stored their “plunder” (supplies and equipment).
Continuing along the pathway, you will come to a barn surrounded by a stone-walled pig pen.
Note the pig pen behind the barn. Farmers had razorback hogs that ran wild in the forest. In the fall, the farmers would round up the best hogs and put them in this pen. This was a bear-proof pig pen. The “x” supports held the logs in place and kept bears out of the pen.
The last building along the pathway is a spring house.
If we are ever in the area in the summer, it would be worthwhile to return to the farm museum. During the summer months costume interpreters provide demonstrations of weaving, basket making and gardening.
Leaving Humpback Rocks we made one more stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We stopped at the Afton Overlook. This northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway becomes the Skyline Drive from this point north through the Shenandoah National Park.
We talked about returning to this overlook early the next day, in the hopes of seeing the sun rise. As it turned out, we didn’t make it back to this overlook the next morning. We didn’t watch the sun rise; however, we did see a beautiful sunset in Waynesboro.