Bill Leslie: Good news from Blue Ridge Parkway

— If you’re in the North Carolina mountains over the next week you might want to check out the Blazing Stars of the Blue Ridge Parkway. They are absolutely stunning. As one park ranger put it, “These summery wildflowers add a beautiful swath of violet to the landscape.”

The Blazing Stars (Liatris spicata) are taking Doughton Park by storm this summer. The best place to see them is just across the parkway from the former coffee shop/restaurant at the Bluffs.

The Blazing Stars usually come out the second week of July at Doughton and last a month or longer. They are tall purple-spiked prairie flowers that bloom from the top down on feathery stalks. Right now they are teaming up with a bright splash of yellow daisies and Queen Anne’s Lace to create spectacular mountain meadows of color.

Bill Leslie: Good news from Blue Ridge Parkway

The N.C. mountains get a lot of attention for wildflowers in the spring, but you would be surprised at how many beautiful blooms come out in the summer. The Blazing Stars are not only showy but they attract many types of pollinators including butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

Something else is buzzing near the beautiful flowers in Doughton Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a strong possibility the beloved Bluffs Coffee Shop at milepost 240 could reopen next year. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation says it needs to raise $150,000 to make it happen. Here is a link for more information.

The coffee shop has been closed for eight years. It first opened in 1949 and has been featured in many news stories including one from WRAL’s Tar Heel Traveler Scott Mason.

Now, if we can just figure out a way to reopen the Bluffs Lodge near the coffee shop and we will be in business! My parents used to go to the lodge to play bridge with their buddies and enjoy the fresh mountain air and hiking trails. It was a very special place and can be again with proper repairs.

Published at Wed, 31 Jul 2019 11:07:22 +0000