On July 12th a Park Ranger made a stunning discovery. A large crack, 150 feet long, 4 inches wide and in some places 6 feet deep had developed right down the center line of the The Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Asheville. Since that time the crack has grown to 200 feet long and 8 inches wide forcing the closure of a 20 mile stretch of the scenic highway to cars. Apparently the ground below the crack has been saturated with the heavy rains that have left our area lush and green this summer. Cars traveling from Asheville to Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in the eastern US, are being detoured to I40 and US221 through Spruce Pine. Cyclists and hikers can still access the road, at least until repairs begin. July and October are the busiest months of the year for visitors to the Asheville area and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Luckily there is still access to all areas of the Parkway from Asheville south to Cherokee which includes The Folk Art Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center. This section of the Parkway offers beautiful views, plenty of hiking trails, Mount Pisgah and the Pisgah National Forest, Graveyard Fields, Devil’s Courthouse and the Cradle of Forestry Overlook. Asheville is ideally located to provide easy access to outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, from the waterfalls of Dupont State Forest to rafting along the French Broad River or a visit to the North Carolina Arboretum with beautiful gardens as well as wooded trails. Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are close as well.
There is still plenty to see and do in the area. Asheville itself has beautiful views and hosts events all summer long. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, with over 300 exhibitors is here this weekend and Bele Cher, the largest free music and arts street festival in the Southeast is here next weekend. Folkmoot USA, a two week celebration of world cultures with international folk music and dance is going on right now. Just a few of the other festivals this summer include the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival August 1-3, The Village Art & Craft Fair on the Grounds of the All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village on Aug. 3-4 and the LAAFF music and arts street fair on Labor Day weekend. A great place to get information on summer festivals as well as the many outdoor activities in the Asheville area is www.romanticasheville.com.