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Monday, October 22, 2012

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge

mabrey mill

One of the most popular attractions on the Blue Ridge Parkway is located only a mile north of Meadows of Dan at milepost 176.2 (U.S. Highway 58) on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County, Virginia.  Mabry Mill was a working water and grist mill in the community until the 1920s, and was remodeled by the National Park Service. It now serves as the highlight of an easy Mountain Industries Trail, with live demonstrations of early mountain crafts. Unfortunately, the late afternoon we visited, there were no demonstrations being held, but we took a self-guided tour through the buildings around the restored mill and buildings representing rural Appalachian life; none were open to look inside.

mill buildings

Mabry Mill was built by Edwin Boston Mabry when he returned to Floyd County in 1903. Edwin Mabrey was one of the fifth generation of Mabrys to live in the same part of Virginia.It started as blacksmith and wheelwright shop, then became a sawmill. By 1905, it was in operation as a gristmill. By 1910, the front part of the mill was completed and included a lathe for turning out wheel hubs, a tongue and groove lathe, a planer and a jig-saw. Between 1905 and 1914, Mabry bought adjacent tracts of land to where the mill is today, mostly to acquire more water power. 

The mill has been called one of the most photographed views in the U.S. The entire area is a major tourist attraction mainly for the picturesque views of the mill itself. A short trail around the mill connects historical exhibits about life in rural Virginia. The trail allows visitors to view the gristmill, sawmill, and blacksmith shop.During peak seasons, demonstrations of crafts are given by National Park Service volunteers at Mabry Mill.

Mabry Mill2

Visitors can see live exhibits, a real mill and a working miller to demonstrate the milling process. The grounds of the mill include other interpretive media all designed to tell about mountain industry. The Matthews Cabin is an example of mountain architecture and workmanship and offers a look into the tanning and shoemaking crafts. There is also a whiskey still, a sorghum mill and a working blacksmith shop. Maybe on the next visit, we will be able to see some of these demonstrations.

mabrey mill3

Meanwhile, a fellow VA blogger, Diane, also recently visited the mill and captured some of the demonstrations and events in several post; check out her blog, Dish to see them. 

11 comments:

Daisy said...

It would be interesting to see the demonstrations. I love that first photo. Very pretty and peaceful looking!

Mamabug said...

I love visiting these places! Great shots of the mill.

Lois Evensen said...

What a beautiful place! We, too, love these places, the feel, the smells, and the wonderful images there to be captured in our cameras. :) Your pictures are beautiful!

Out on the prairie said...

What a nice area to explore. I really am amazed how these were used with lots of manpower, yet always a leading business to have.

Elaine said...

Gorgeous photos of the old mill! I've been catching up on what I missed while we were traveling and I really enjoyed seeing your Virginia travels. Someday we're going to make it to the Blue Ridge Mountains.....

Anvilcloud said...

The photo-happy part of me wants to visit. I really like the first photo, although I do want the powers that be to remove that guardrail. Otherwise, I think I'd be applying a little photoshop.

Sandra said...

no wonder that mill is the most photographed, it is a snapper heaven. love that first shot, tis frameable. love all those buildings and to bad you could not get inside them

Montanagirl said...

That mill is VERY picturesque! Love it. Nice post!!

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

I especially like the first and last photo but they are all soo good!

Have a great day!
Christer.

Doris said...

Your photos are beautiful! Love the reflection in the water. Hope you can see the demonstrations sometime.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I loved Diane's photo's too! I thought her trip was so nice. She takes great photographs anyway.
Ready for Halloween? Seems the closer it comes to Halloween..the faster time goes. So much is going on everywhere. Holidays speeding toward us at a breakneck speed.
Enjoy your week.. It's still not Fall weather here ..and it's sort of sad. I'm so ready for the weather change.
Hugs,
Mona

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