Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog



Some of the displays on the Mabry Mill grounds.



Frost on the grass this morning.


Restaurant and gift shop.

Mabry Mill



The Wanderers


Upper part of mill race.

Lower mill race.

Final part of mill race.

More beautiful scenery today.





Panorama from thanks to Norm Graf!








Big Pano from Norm!

A part of the last panoramic.




The Music Center on the BRP

Inside the Music Center (credits to Norm)

The couple that was entertaining inside the Music Center.

A visitor to the center played a number.

Another visitor performed.

At the Independence, VA halloween celebration - now that's a shopping cart!

Trick or Treat!

Looking good for halloween

A haunted truck!

A pony ride for the kids.

Independence is surrounded by beautiful mountainsides.

The Old Capitol Building - now used as a museum and meeting...


Some photos of the "jam session" held in the hall of the...







(Ron Writing) We left Rocky Knob campground with an empty stomach and headed south on the BRP. After a short drive we arrived at one of the favorite stops on the parkway, Mabry Mill. This exhibit includes the restored mill, many rural-life exhibits, a restaurant and a gift shop. When we arrived the ducks were sleeping on the frost covered grass beside the mill pond. It was cold out so we went into the warm restaurant and enjoyed sweet potato pancakes with sausage patties. After breakfast it was a little warmer and the sun made it feel sooo much warmer.

During the summer season there are people in period costumes demonstrating the mill (it actually grinds corn that you can purchase), the blacksmith shop and several other exhibits. Since last weekend they are no longer doing the demonstrations but there is still much to see on a walking tour. We spent quite a bit of time here a couple years ago. However, the mill itself is so picturesque it is impossible walk past without taking a few photos. It is the most photographed spot on the parkway. I'll bet you've seen a professional photo of this mill on a calendar at time in the past. I hope you enjoy our snapshots.

We continued south on the BRP to the Blue Ridge Music Center. Along the way we had to stop a few times to take some more photos of the spectacular countryside.

The Music Center is quite new and includes a museum of mountain music history of southern VA, an indoor auditorium, an outdoor amphitheatre, and an area inside the visitor center where local musicians play almost daily. We spent some time viewing the exhibits and listening to a couple play mountain music. The gentleman made all of the instruments they were playing himself.

At the music center we learned that there was scheduled to be a "jam session" this evening in the nearby town of Independence, VA. We got back on "The Crooked Road" heading west on H-89 to Galax. Galax is a beautiful medium sized town that has several music venues also, but there wasn't anything scheduled for today. We continued south on H-58/221 to Independence arriving late in the afternoon.

This is a small town in the mountains and there's probably not one level street or lot in the city. We stopped at a parking lot by a supermarket to do some internet work and decide where to spend the night. I saw a city policeman parked nearby so I asked him if he knew of anyplace we could park for the night. He said, "sure, just park in the lot by the court house. And if anyone says anything just tell them Officer Mathew Adams gave you permission." That solved our parking problem!

We then spent some time walking around town where they were getting ready for trick-or-treaters at the businesses on Main St. After dinner we enjoyed the mountain music jam session from 7 PM to 9 PM in the Old Courthouse right near our parking spot.

The jam is held on the courthouse lawn when the weather is nice in the summer. Since it was a little chilly they moved it into the main hallway of the courthouse. There were 9 musicians, 3 women, 5 men, and one boy. They were playing 3 fiddles, 3 guitars, 2 banjos, and one bass. We sure enjoyed this informal music. The musicians took turns selecting a song and leading. Between songs they enjoyed joking around and discussing their music. There were only about 10 people in the audience.

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