“Stella’s Day Trips”

10

Groundhog Mountain
From late spring to early fall, Groundhog Mountain 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 while feeding 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 facilities, there are many 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 seems to observe the land below, peering sternly at the rugged observation tower standing on Groundhog Mountain.
The tower leans and creaks as as visitors ascend and descend its narrow steps; which are themselves uneven, steep and uncertain. Ascending the 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 Blue Ridge Parkway. This historical landmark pays homage to 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.
Email questions/suggestions to Stella Lane at stellatripsfordays@outlook.com.

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An observation tower at groundhog Mountain offers visitors a wide view of the picture perfect horizon.

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Groundhog Mountain Park’s picnic area is naturally landscaped, with a few winding paths to enjoy after a meal.

4 Puckett cabin is situated one-tenth mile past Groundhog Mountain. The structure pays homage to Orlean Hawks Puckett, who is said to have served as a midwife and embodied the strength of an Appalachian woman.