August 28 and 29
Once again Google Navigation found a route I would not have picked using the atlas, but it worked nicely. Driving the smaller, secondary roads is always more scenic and enjoyable. Our first stop of the day was at Booker T Washington NM, near Hardy, VA. He was born a slave on this farm in 1856 and went on to be a great educator, believing that education was the great emancipator. There are few remaining structure, some rebuilt, but a lot of the land is natural. The morning we were there a group of bird watchers were heading out.
Over hill and dale and we were at Guilford Courthouse NMP, back to the Revolutionary War, and a battle in March 1781. Nathanael Greene was the commander of the Colonial troops, British general Cornwallis won this battle, but suffered significant losses. Seven months later Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, VA ending the Revolutionary War and the birth of the United States. Today this site is an active recreation area, with trails throughout the park and connecting to regional trails.
Crossing into South Carolina we arrived at Kings Mountain National Military Park, a Revolutionary War battle in the Fall of 1780. One of the key concepts displayed at this site is the division of local citizens, how neighbors chose sides during the war. Were you going to be a Patriot or stay British?
Not far away is Cowpens National Battlefield, another Revolutionary battle, this one in January 1871 and is part of the Overmountain Victory Trail which covers Tennessee, Virginia, North & South Carolina. This was the trail that the patriot militia followed as part of the Kings Mountain campaign.
Continuing west we stopped at Carl Sandburg Home NHS in Flat Rock, NC. This is where the famous writer, folk singer, social activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer Carl Sandburg lived and worked with his family. Mrs. Sandburg, Lillian, owned and operated a premier goat dairy from 1935 to 1965. A goat herd is maintained and you can visit the barn.
Home - under restoration
After spending the night near Asheville, NC we picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove it south to the terminus at Great Smoky Mountains NP. We love driving this parkways, but it takes a lot longer! On previous visits we have driven the entire length, either late Spring or early Fall is the best time, especially for camping, as well as flowers or colorful leaves. The visitor center near Asheville has a large, horizontal map of the entire 470 mile route. I moved the magnifier to highlight Mabry Mills - besides a beautiful mill, the restaurant serves great regional meals.
While driving through Great Smoky Mountains National Park we noticed a large increase in attendance, parking lots were full. I did get a photo of a large flower I had seen throughout the trip, which I initially thought was milkweed, but later discovered to be Joe Pye Weed, a native plant that is part of the sunflower family.
We returned to my sister's house in East Tennessee for a relaxing evening.