As the trees fill in with emerald green leaves and the bulbs force their way through the rich red soil, a weekend drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway found a look back in time at the parkway’s most famous and photographed attraction-Mabry Mill.
Milepost 176.2 is the location about three million people step back in time, nearly 100 years, and visit the spot an active, hard-working couple named Ed and Lizzie Mabry, called home.
It was a time when women wore long sleeved dresses, with gathered bodice and waist and covered the dress skirt with aprons. It didn’t stop Lizzie Mabry from working alongside her husband Ed, to build the gristmill in 1908. The couple would also add a sawmill and woodworking shop.
Visiting this beautiful parcel of land, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is nearly level. A stream cuts through it adding beauty to the green field.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway, the mill itself is a sight to be held. Those who take the time to park and walk the short trail that winds around the mill and connects to various historical exhibits seem to time travel to life in rural Virginia in the early 1930s.
We spent the day walking the trails. It was like stepping back in time. The gristmill is operational. The wheel turns, grinding corn with large millstones. During the season, grits, cornmeal, and buckwheat flour can be bought at the gift shop.
The trail runs behind the mill where you can watch blacksmiths, and see the Matthews Cabin, an example of mountain architecture and workmanship. There is also a sorghum mill, and a whiskey still.
We were fascinated by the beauty and introduced to the Appalachian rural life during our visit to Mabry Mill. It was a day well spent and one we still talk about often.