Monday June 3, 2019

“Stella’s Day Trips”

Groundhog Mountain


Groundhog Mountain, from late spring to early fall, is a perfect place for family reunions.  Time is pleasant there, and distant views—clouded in pale, lightly overcast skies—reach the edges of what is possible to see.  Visitors will cherish the fresh air and feed their famished eyes on layers of green against blue skylines, across and down the valley.  


To the right of the large parking area and bathroom, there are many and many more picnic tables, landscaped naturally under the shade of massive oak trees.  A few small walking paths wind through the area and trail off into the forest. To the left is Floyd, Virginia’s Buffalo Mountain, and straight ahead lies North Carolina.


Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, is sketched faintly on the horizon through haze-like watercolor strokes.  It observes the land below and peers sternly at the rugged observation tower standing on Groundhog Mountain.  The tower leans and creaks. Its narrow steps are uneven, steep, and uncertain. Ascending stairs to the viewing deck is an adventure, though, one that mostly children will enjoy.  


All sights, however, can be safely appreciated at ground level.  This park is seasonal, and the gates are locked when closed.


A tenth of a mile south passed Groundhog Mountain sits Puckett Cabin on the side of the road.  This historical landmark features the home of a lady from the 1830s who served as a midwife to the locals.  The rustic cabin and outbuilding are neatly manicured on simple terrain, an easy excursion to add depth to the day’s events.


Directions: from Roanoke, Virginia, go south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 189.


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