Encouraged by Michael Verdon's article, "Attractions Vary Along Blue Ridge Parkway" (May 31, 1987), we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina in mid-October to see the changing leaves. We highly recommend that the drive start in Front Royal, Va., then over Skyline Drive, which joins the Blue Ridge Parkway, as it did indeed have the most brilliant leaves. Glendale Springs is not 200 yards off the parkway, but 2 1/2 miles. If you have time, get off at Mile Post 86 on the Blue Ridge and stay in the excellent Longwood Inn in Bedford, Va. Then you can return your rental car to Dulles Airport.
If you have a lot of time, however, continue south. Big Linn Lodge is an excellent value, as its charges include breakfast and dinner. Where the parkway passes Asheville, N.C., the Biltmore House is worth a visit, as it is a fantastic castle. The Blue Ridge Parkway ends in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, also worth visiting. A good motel away from the considerable traffic in Gatlinburg is Carr's.
Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway are beautiful in any season, except in the dead of winter. We think October and the changing leaves are best of all.
JOAN and WILLIAM