Blue Ridge Beauty

Purple Mountain Majesty
Purple Mountain Majesty | Source

It is hallowed ground to me. The peaks whisper their secrets on the tails of the wind with the soft breath of history. The Blue Ridge Mountains are nothing less than nature's art with God's autograph attached. They paint the horizon with hues so deep in contrast and so vivid with stroke, my heart flutters in its magnificence. These mountains are rich in life and untold stories. They celebrate the splendid best of earth's offerings. Albert Einstein once said "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

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The Cherokee word "Gadalutsi" is roughly translated to mean "wave upon wave" in reference to the way the mountain vista seems to go on forever. The Cherokees believe they have always lived here in these mountains. The finely crafted tools and spearheads found by geologists confirm that an ancient people lived here indeed as far back as 11,000 years ago. This land furnished all their needs from food to medicinal herbs to material for shelter, clothing and tools. The Cherokee governed themselves democratically and lived in harmony with the awesome nature that surrounded them.

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The earliest settlers in the Blue Ridge Mountains were the Scots-Irish. These pioneer farmers introduced a variety of crops from their homeland including apples, sweet potatoes and tobacco. They raised cattle, sheep and hogs. They also brought with them a wealth of music tradition in the form of ballads. Instruments played were mostly the banjo and the fiddle and the settlers managed to preserve their music heritage for years to come. These English ballads had a huge impact on what eventually became known as bluegrass music. To this day this music tradition is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.

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The raw beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains has inspired artists and writers for generations. Artists such as Rudolph Ingerle and Amelia Watson were motivated not only by the picturesque scenery but by the mountain lifestyle. They were able to capture the spirit of place. Many writers have also found their muse in the vistas. Carolyn Tyree Feagans and Thomas Wolfe crafted stories that celebrated the character of the mountain people in all their glory. John Keats once said "The poetry of the earth is never dead".

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The Blue Ridge Parkway had its birth over 75 years ago. Construction began in the latter part of 1935 and was initially a product of the New Deal's efforts to put people back to work after the Great Depression. It was an enormous task considering the terrain, reluctant homeowners along the way, extreme weather and the lack of maps. Despite all this, construction of the scenic highway forged slowly ahead. Crews took great care to design and build the roadway so that it would blend in with the natural surroundings. The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long and was finally completed in 1987, fifty-two years after the ground breaking. Twenty-six tunnels were blasted through the mountain ridges and dozens of bridges were built. It's highest point is at 6000 feet at Richland Balsam overlook in North Carolina and the lowest at just 600 feet at the James River in Virginia. The Parkway has seen over 600 million visitors since its completion.

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Thomas Jefferson to Maria Cosway in 1786 - "...where has nature spread so rich a mantle under the eye? Mountains, forests, rocks, rivers. With what majesty do we there ride above the storms! How sublime to look down into the workhouse of nature, to see her clouds, hail, snow, rain, thunder all fabricated at our feet! And the glorious Sun, when rising as if out of a distant water, just gliding the tops of the mountains, and giving life to all nature."

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They say there are many haunted places in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In Abingdon, Virginia, a young woman haunts the Martha Washington Inn looking for her lover. Passing over Lovers' Leap bridge in Independence, Virginia you might see the ghost figures of a young man and woman holding hands and jumping over the bridge. George W. Vanderbilt is said to still be hanging around in the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. They say if you leave pink flowers on the grave of a woman buried at Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church in Marion, North Carolina, you will see her walking down the road with a knife in her hand the following day. These are just a few of the local ghost stories.

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Alice Walker from The Color Purple (1982) - "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.....People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it's always trying to please us back."

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"There's an old ma, sittin' in a rockin' chair

He's got the best beagle dog in the county I've been told

But his shotgun done got too rusty

That 'ole beagle dog he done grown a little too old

As he stares up into heaven, I'm sure I know the reason why

He's thinking about that promised land in them Blue Ridge Mountain skies"


The Marshall Tucker Band (from Blue Ridge Mountain Sky)

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Comments 47 comments

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Love the Blue Ridge Mountains and your photos of this beautiful landscape are stunning. Thanks for also including interesting facts and history of the region. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thanks, HBN. This is not my usual type of Hub but I do love these mountains.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Your love of the Blue Ridge Mountains shows in your photographs and your writing! The pictures are beautiful, and I enjoyed reading bits of history in between the pictures from ghost stores to famous writers and artist. Thanks for a lovely hub!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Beautiful photos!I've never been there but it sure looks nice.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

The Blue Ridge mountains are the definition of majesty and beauty. Your photos and writing area lovely tribute to them.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This is one of your best hubs ever, Suziecat!

Wow! Spectacular is the word that comes to mind. Voted up, and everything but funny.

Shared on Facebook and Twitter.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Stephanie - I just checked out your old car Hub and you are an amazing photographer. I am humbled by your compliment.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Great hub and beautiful pictures. I am lucky to live in the Blue Ridge mountains...I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world. Thanks for sharing your hub.


raakachi profile image

raakachi 4 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

Thanks for the nature's feast that couldn't be described in words. With the superb photos, you have given the apt quoting. I really enjoyed much. Voted up! Beautiful.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Very good and great pictures. I can almost feel like I am standing there, which I have many times and that same dizzy sensation. I have a friend that lives right in the middle of all that. It is beautiful and scary, lol. Just my phobia I guess. Voted up!


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Dahoglund - It is nice. Thanks so much for reading.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Very beautiful hub, Suziecat. Thank you.


Daffy Duck profile image

Daffy Duck 4 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

I love the pics. There are some beautiful, colorful photos.

It's interesting you brought up the Cherokee natives. I am part Cherokee. I don't really know much about them except for what's in the history books and a little I've learned in college. It's nice ot read something about them even if it is just a little bit of info.

Voted up and beautiful.


Attikos profile image

Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

Beautiful article, beautiful pictures, Suzie. You've caught the spirit of my favorite hiking region, the home of the heart, the Southern Highlands. Thank you.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

Absolutely gorgeous~! Love the leaves falling and then the winter scene most of all. Rated up and enjoyed my little virtual tour~~


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thanks, Hyphenbird.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

The Blue Ridge Mountains are so beautiful. It's been some time since I saw them, but your gorgeous photos took me back.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Suzie, stunning photos to enjoy and interesting information on the area, I thoroughly enjoyed this hub, it has everything!

Voting up, best wishes MM


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

You are a most empathic and skilled photographer, suzie, and it shows in your phenomenally beautiful photos. Thank you for this treat.


Mia Montanna profile image

Mia Montanna 4 years ago from CA

It is part of the awesome variety landscapes that make the U.S. so much fun for visitors. To choose somewhere like the Blue Ridge or a contrasting place like say Key West Florida...there is every possible flavour in the U.S. to find. I must say your hub makes the Blue Ridge most magical!


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thanks, WillStarr. It's not my usual method of Hub-making but I gave it a try.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thelma - neither would I. Thank you for reading.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Raakachi - Thank you so much.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

Beautiful pictures accompanied by very good write-up. Every summer my family has been exploring some part of Appalachian Trail - Berkshires in MA, Catskills in NY, Poconos in PA, Shenandoah National Park in VA, Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The next big project is to be hiking on the trail with our dogs. We will focus on the trail near Boone to get started though. Thank you for sharing.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Pollyannalana - Not so much scary as awesome. Thank you so much for stopping by.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

SubRon - You're welcome. Thanks for reading.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Daffy - The Cherokee are amazing people. You should write a Hub about them. Thank you so much for visiting.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Attikos - Yes, you are, of course, familiar with the beauty here. Thanks for stopping by.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Akirchner - The winter scene is actually my backyard. Thanks for taking the tour.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Gorgeous pics of the N.C. mountains suziecat; and some interesting history on the Parkway too. Read the other day where Asheville is becoming the New Age capital of America. All the crystal under the mts.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Dolores - Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for the comment.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

I love the Blue Ridge mountain area and you have brought it so vividly and beautifully to us with your lovely photos and a great hub. Thank you.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

MM - Thanks for stopping by.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

Have never been privileged to go to the Blue Ridge mountains but your pictures are tremendously beautiful and inviting. You are blessed to have such views!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

This is a part of the country that I have seen in bits and pieces but never had the time to truly take it in. Your writing makes up for that. I remember a movie I saw a while back called, "The Songcatcher"...about a lady professor who set off to Applacia to capture the old ballads and their history...very interesting and a very realistic portrayal of the life there. Much of our values come from these roots just like our musical history. The values of a man's word, honesty, friendship, trust, and many others can still be seen in this part of the world...I hope we will always have it. WB


sestasik 4 years ago

Lovely hub and photos. We live right at the tip of the Shenandoah Valley in VA and make our home on a mountain top. I can appreciate your feelings about how wonderful the surroundings are.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thanks everyone.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for this wonderful Hub with lovely pictures about such a magnificently beautiful place. I have driven on parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would like to take the time one day to drive all of it. I enjoyed this journey with you today. God Bless!


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

James - Nice to see you. I do hope you find the time to drive the whole Parkway. It's awesome.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Your photos are wonderful, I love to see them because I haven't been to your state,I will have to change that.

Your discriptions of your area are great and inviting.

Voted up and awesome.

It's good to meet you and I'll be following you.


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK

"The Cherokee governed themselves democratically."

That's interesting suziecat7!

You obviously live in a very beautiful part of the World - so very well described and illustrated by you.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 3 years ago from Central Virginia

Well, I have completely fallen in love with this hub and your ability to convey your love of this area. As a native of Central Virginia, I share your love. I think this is the most beautiful place anywhere and these mountains have a piece of my soul. My 5th great grandfather (a Scots-Irish immigrant married an Indian woman.) I have been chasing her history for 0ver 30 years and still know almost nothing about her. It haunts me because I know it is the DNA of her genes that supplies my love of this place. Your photos in this hub are transcendent. I am sharing this hub because the world should feel a we do. :-)


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 3 years ago from Great Britain

This hub was amazing. You wrote in such a rich, colourful way ,It was a real treat. Then the pictures!!!!! WOW! Breathtaking in their beauty.

Absolutey wonderful.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 3 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thanks, everyone.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida

That's What I'm Talking about!

I was looking at your Hubs and found this one. I am so glad that you wrote this Hub.

The pictures make me so nostalgic for my old "stomping grounds" where I grew uo, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in Lyncjburg Virginia.

Very good photography. I have a collection of my own pictures of the mountains and you know how hard it is to get a good shot with the constant natural haze when you go up into the mountains.

Thanks for sharing these with us.

DON


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 3 years ago from Asheville, NC Author

Thanks, Don. Since you have witnessed the awesome beauty of these mountains yourself, you know what I feel about them Thanks so much for stopping by.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 21 months ago from South Carolina

Great hub! One of my step-sons lives in Hickory. I rode the parkway some this summer on my bike. Beautiful up there!

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