Beaches, Battlefields, and Blue Ridge Ridge Mountains

We’re still celebrating the National Park Service Centennial.

Smokies Life, an arty, slick magazine published by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, just came out with its fall issue. It included my article entitled Beaches, Battlefields, and Blue Ridge Mountains: 100 Wonderful Things to See and Do in the 70 National Parks of the Southeast.

 The article was an offshoot of my book, Forests, Alligators, Battlefields. Steve Kemp, the editor, chose many photographs to accompany the article. Since I wrote the article at the end of last year, I really had to reread it to see what I highlighted.

#5. Blue Ridge Parkway (NC, VA)
Drive up to Waterrock Knob Visitor Center (milepost 451.2) for incredible views. I’ve been writing about Waterrock Knob so much here that I don’t know if I need to show another picture.

Ranger Jose L. Gonzalez
Ranger Jose L. Gonzalez

#19. San Juan National Historic Site (Puerto Rico)
Sign up for a ranger tour, any tour. The rangers are entertaining and knowledgeable. Here, I do want a photograph of one of the most memorable rangers, Jose L. Gonzalez.

#26. Virgin Islands National Park (St. John, VI)
Stay in the luxurious campground on Cinnamon Bay, where all the camping equipment is provided.

#41. Cumberland Island National Seashore (GA)
Look for feral horses (they might find you as soon as you get off the ferry).

At the deadline
At the deadline

#69. Andersonville National Historic Site (GA)
Find Providence Springs, a spring that gushed out of the ground, supplying prisoners with  much-needed clean water.

The photo is of Lenny at the deadline at Andersonville.


So how do you get a copy of Smokies Life? The easiest way is to join the Great Smoky Mountains Association. The organization manages the Smokies bookstores and publishes the authoritative guides to the park. It supports the Smokies with projects that are not included in the federal budget. You can also buy a single issue of Smokies Life, either in the park or online.

It was a fun article to write – and a fascinating project to do. So as I say when I sign a copy of my book,

Get out there! 


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