Even if you’ve never been to Mabry Mill, you’ve probably seen a photo of it. The weather-worn mill with giant water wheel beside a small pond is one of the most photographed spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But it’s more than just a mill – it’s a day trip excursion.
And it’s something everyone should experience once.
Mabry Mill features a restaurant serving three meals per day, gift shop stocked with Virginia arts and crafts, and several historic buildings to explore on a half-mile trail.
Find out how to get to Mabry Mill, everything you can do there, and a few other things to do while you’re in the area.
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Map of Mabry Mill
How to use this map: Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the star beside the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.
History of Mabry Mill
In 1782, Isaac Mabry received a land grant for 183 acres near Robertson’s Creek of the Dan River. He was the first Mabry to move into the region and his ancestors still live nearby today.
Ed Mabry was born in Patrick County near present-day Stuart. After years of working as a chair maker and blacksmith, Mabry moved to Floyd County onto land near where his great, great, great grandfather settled over a hundred years earlier.
From 1903-1905, Ed and Lizzie Mabry built a gristmill and began producing some of the best cornmeal in the region. In 1910, they expanded the original mill to include a water-powered lathe and saw. Like most farmsteads of the era, Mabry eventually built a blacksmith shop nearby to craft his own tools.
When Ed passed away in 1938, the National Park Service purchased the property and even some of the tools from Lizzie. Four years later, the buildings were restored and opened to the public.
Did You Know?
Construction began on the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1935. By the time the United States was pulled into World War II, only 170 miles of the parkway was completed. Construction resumed after the war and by 1966 all but 7.7 miles around Grandfather Mountain were completed. Finally, in 1987, the Linn Cove Viaduct was finished and the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway was complete – 52 years after construction started.
Milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Mabry Mill is located at Milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. It’s about 30 miles from Mt. Airy, 35 miles from Galax, 55 miles from Roanoke, and 60 miles from Winston-Salem. And it’s just 22 miles from Exit 8 on Interstate 77, the closest entrance to the Parkway.
The GPS address for Mabry Mill is 266 Mabry Mill Road, Meadows of Dan, VA.
The easiest way to get to Mabry Mill is Exit 14 on Interstate 77. Take US Route 58 toward Hillsville and continue around the town on the bypass. In the Meadows of Dan, a small unincorporated town, you’ll see signs for turning onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Parking at Mabry Mill
A large parking lot in front of the Mabry Mill Restaurant and Gift Shop is the easiest place to park. But during the summer months and pleasant weekends throughout the year, parking can be scarce.
A sign for “Overflow Parking” leads to an exit from the parkway onto Mabry Mill Road. Past the restaurant and across the road from the various outbuildings is a gravel parking lot with restrooms.
Best Time to Visit Mabry Mill
Mabry Mill is open to the public year-round unless the parkway is closed because of inclement winter weather. But although the property is open, the mill and restaurant are only open seasonally.
The best time to visit Mabry Mill is mid-week from June through September. The restaurant is open and serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The mill is occasionally open mid-week, although most demonstrations and reenactments happen on the weekends. Weekends tend to get busy at the popular sight in the summer.
Other great times to visit Mabry Mill is in the late spring when rhododendron bushes bloom and in the autumn when the fall colors change.
Things to Do at Mabry Mill
Go for a hike on the 0.5-mile self-guided interpretive trail winding through the various historic buildings surrounding Mabry Mill. All the buildings, besides the mill, were moved to the site by the National Park Service from the region in order to preserve their history.
From May through October, demonstrations reveal an inside look at farmstead life with a blacksmith hammering red-hot tools, a basket weaver crafting bowls, and busy work inside the mill.
One of the most iconic photos of the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks the small pond and Mabry Mill from the edge of the parking lot. It’s a popular place for a portrait – or a selfie if you’re traveling solo.
READ MORE: Road Trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Mabry Mill Restaurant & Gift Shop
The Mabry Mill Restaurant is one of only four restaurants on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But it’s the only restaurant on the parkway serving “world famous” pancakes. Breakfast is served until noon. You can choose buckwheat, cornmeal, sweet potato, or traditional pancakes to accompany the country sampler of eggs, sausage, and grits.
For lunch and dinner, choose between a chicken pot pie, pot roast, or roast turkey platter with a selection of country sides like pinto beans and glazes carrots. You could also order a sandwich or the Mill Cheeseburger.
But whatever you order, end the meal with a serving of their traditional blackberry cobbler served warm with a side of ice cream.
The gift shop features a grand selection of Virginia arts and crafts, books about recreation and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and clothing like t-shirts and hats. It’s also where you’ll find the National Park Passport cancellation stamp.
The restaurant and gift shop was open seasonally from May through the end of October.
Things to Do Near Mabry Mill
Mabry Mill is in a beautiful and exciting area of Virginia to visit. If you’re heading southbound on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s the beginning of an incredible journey through some of the most scenic vistas in the country.
But first, seven miles north at Milepost 169 is the Rocky Knob Recreation Area. Stop at the visitor center for maps and information (open seasonally). Then, go for a hike on the 1-mile Picnic Loop Trail or the 3-mile out-and-back Black Ridge Trail.
Chateau Morrisette is a third generation locally owned winery and one of the best in Virginia. Visit their gorgeous tasting room built with reclaimed barnwood and stones. Take a guided tour of their facilities to learn about the process of making wine.
At Milepost 189, enjoy a break from driving at the Groundhog Mountain Overlook. A small picnic area and restrooms are available year-round. The two-story wooden observation tower was used by the Virginia Forest Service in the early 1900s. Today, it offers a stunning view of the meadow and mountains.
Puckett Cabin at Milepost 190 tells the heart-rending story of Orleans Hawks Puckett, a mountain woman who lost twenty-four babies either stillborn or in their infancy. In her mid-50s, she accidentally became a midwife and in the next forty years delivered over 1,000 babies in the local communities.
Hillsville is an off-parkway destination worthy of a visit. In 1912, it was the sight of the horrendous Courthouse Tragedy that led to the death of the judge, prosecutor, and several others during a contested trial. Downtown features a couple of nice restaurants.
Places to Stay Near Mabry Mill
In terms of lodging and amenities, Mabry Mill is remote. And that’s why so many adventurers and road trippers love it. But there a few good places within an hour to spend the night.
The Rocky Knob Campground at Milepost 169 is an excellent place to camp for a few nights. The campground features 106 campsites – 27 reserved for RVs and 25 only for tents. Restrooms and water are available, but typical other all the other campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway there are no showers, electrical hookups, or sewer hookups.
Red Roof Inn at Exit 14 is a great budget-friendly place to spend the night. It’s a rare example of a hotel in the roadside motel chain with doors safely accessed from the inside of the building. The bare-minimum hotel features renovated rooms, comfortable beds, and a simple complimentary breakfast.
The Super 8 doesn’t look like much, but it’s a surprisingly comfortable place to spend the night. The hotel features comfortable rooms with few other amenities other than a safe place to stay.
The Hampton Inn is a great place to stay in a premium hotel at a lower cost than other destinations. The hotel features an indoor swimming pool and the best hot complimentary breakfast of any hotel chain.
Holiday Inn Express is another premium hotel at a lower cost than most other locations. The hotel features a nice indoor swimming pool and comfortable rooms. A good breakfast is included in the morning, but not as good as the competition across the street.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most famous mill in Virginia is the Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Hillsville.
The National Park Service owns the Mabry Mill. The NPS purchased the property after Ed Mabry’s death in 1938.
The oldest part of the Mabry Mill was built in 1903.
Mabry Mill is at Milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway about 22 miles from Hillsville, Virginia.
Mabry Mill is located at Milepost 176.
Yes! Mabry Mill is dog friendly. However, owners must keep their dogs on a leash in public areas.
Mabry Mill typically opens for the season during the Memorial Day weekend.
Mabry Mill typically closes for the season on October 31.
The halfway point on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Mahogany Rock Overlook at Milepost 235 near Sparta, North Carolina.
Yes, there are dozens of public restrooms on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Restrooms are typically located at visitor centers, campgrounds, restaurants, and picnic areas. However, most restrooms are closed seasonally from November through May.
Yes, there are four restaurants on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Lake View Restaurant at the Peaks of Otter, Mabry Mill Restaurant, The Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park, and the Pisgah Inn Dining Room.