Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021 - BRPG8

PAT & CHUCK BLACKLEY

  MP 85.6 | Peaks of Otter

Tall Coneflower 
(Rudbeckia laciniata)

2-3 feet tall, drooping yellow
petals, green center.

Average Temperatures
Along the Parkway

Winter

Spring

Roanoke
27°- 46°

Roanoke
44°- 67°

Floyd
21°- 42°

Floyd
35°- 61°

Summer

Fall

Roanoke
63°- 85°

Roanoke
46°- 68°

Floyd
56°- 79°

Floyd
38°- 64°

8 BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

PHOTOGRAPHY TIP:

A camera with
autofocus and a
zoom with medium
to longish reach is
useful for capturing
action images of family
and friends. If the
camera is equipped
with image stabilization
technology even better;
otherwise, try to keep
the shutter speed at
least the reciprocal of
the focal length (e.g.
1/125 second for a 125mm
lens). Escalate the ISO
setting to compensate
for dim light - many
cameras have an " auto "
ISO setting that takes
the arithmetic out of the
equation.

mountains, serving travelers
until the late 1850s. The
structure was moved and
reassembled during the
construction of Abbott Lake.
Reach it from the adjacent
picnic area (drive up) or a
short walk from the lodge.
The restored 1930s-era
Johnson Farm was owned by
the John Therone and Mary
Johnson family and occupied
by their descendants until
World War II. The family was
self-sufficient on their land
and for a time found a ready
market for excess produce
and a source of employment
for family members at the
nearby Mons Hotel (1920),
which fell victim to the Great
Depression.
The relatively easy
Johnson Farm-Harkening Hill
Loop Trail takes you past not
only the old Mons property,
but also through the Johnson
Farm and over the summit of
the Peaks' least-known of its
three peaks.

Virginia's Explore Park,
MP 115
Explore Park's 1,100 acres
are among the more
recently developed areas of
the parkway. The original
1980s focus was upon
living history with skilled
re-enactors and period
buildings. That plan was
eventually discontinued,
and years passed before
it reopened in its present
form-an outdoor recreation
destination, under the
management of Roanoke
County Parks, Recreation
and Tourism. Explore Park's
growing list of attractions
includes a treetop aerial
adventure course with
ziplines, as well as camping,
cabins, hiking, mountain
bike trails and a brewpub.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
Visitor Center is open
year-round, with reduced
hours from January through
March. The Illuminights
holiday tour offers one of



Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021

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