Summer at Smith Mountain Lake offers an unrivaled opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery of our region, and one of the best ways to get out and see the sights is with a relaxing weekend drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Often called “America’s Favorite Drive”, the Parkway spans 469 spectacular miles of stunning mountain vistas and rolling farmlands in North Carolina and Virginia. From the Smith Mountain Lake region, drivers can access the Parkway from U.S. 220, Va. 24, U.S. 460, and Va. 43. What can you do and see while on the Parkway? For starters, travelers can visit sites like Mabry Mill at milepost 176, the most photographed spot on the Parkway, or spend some time wildlife watching or birding. Another option is to photograph the many scenic overlooks, or maybe just take time to soak in the spectacular spring blossoms or fall foliage that can be seen each year from along the road. If you feel like taking a break from driving to stretch your legs for a while, there are numerous hikes that are easily accessed from the Parkway. A great place to start is the Peaks of Otter in Bedford County, where hikers can choose from six trails for hikers of any skill level. To plan your trip, check out these great resources at www.blueridgeparkway.org, or at the National Park Service’s official website here. So grab the picnic basket, pack the car, and head on out to enjoy the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway!