According to existingcountries, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is a place unlike any other in the world. In this ancient landscape, there are many natural, cultural and historical attractions that will enchant people of all ages. The area is crossed by the Blue Ridge Parkway, which also runs through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You have the opportunity to watch this unique spectacle that the nature of this region offers you from the comfort of your car. You will pass by mountain massifs, charming waterfalls and wherever you stop, you will be greeted by people with a smile on their faces who still worship their rich cultural traditions.
The road is 755 km long and leads through the main mountain ridge, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The land on both sides of the road is protected by the National Park Service. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the shortest and longest national park in the world and is one of the most visited locations in the USA. Many sites in this park are protected by the US Forest Service. Originally, this road was called the Appalachian Scenic Highway by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It is in the Blue Ridge that you will discover one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of North America, you will be able to take a break from the daily hustle and refresh your spirit. The protected area here was declared by Congress in 2003 mainly to preserve the natural wealth and rich cultural history in the mountains of North Carolina. Everything is done for the benefit of current and future generations, as well as to improve economic opportunities in the region.
Several North Carolina counties fall within the conservation area: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are considered to be one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. The landscape here is full of superlatives, you will find the highest mountain in North Carolina – Mount Mitchell, as well as the deepest abyss Linville Gorge, the highest waterfall Whitewater Falls or the oldest river in North America, the New River. Along with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge is one of the most visited parks in the country. The astonishing variety of plant and animal species is just the icing on the imaginary cake. More plant and animal species are found here than in the whole of Europe.
This area is also the cradle of advanced Indian cultures, numerous tribes of Cherokee Indians lived here. Many also live on reservations today, or have already integrated into ordinary life, but still preserve their traditional culture. At the beginning of the 18th century, the first European settlers began to arrive here, and later also African slaves, who of course also brought their customs and traditions. The area thus became a center for handicrafts, traditional arts and crafts in the Americas. Even today, you will find many craft schools here and more than 4000 people who make a living from these jobs.