By most accounts, it is the most photographed single feature along the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. From this weekend on til it closes in early November, the parking lot there will be full most weekends–especially Sunday afternoons when we get Carolina heat refugees, probably starting even sooner than usual this very warm year.
Everybody knows how to find it. Not many know how to spell it.
It’s Mabry–named after a prominent mill proprietor and his wife by that last name (Ed and Mintoria “Lizzie” Mabry, both born in 1867.)
I became immersed in the Mabry story just about exactly three years ago, “on assignment” for my friend, Elizabeth Hunter, for a story she was doing for Blue Ridge Country Magazine. She needed high resolution photographs of the little white church, Concord Primitive Baptist, where the Mabrys attended; pictures of their tombstones a couple of miles from the mill; and any local color I could scare up to accompany a possible sidebar for the magazine.
My D70 was backordered, and on its way from Thailand. Doug Thompson took pity on me and graciously let me borrow his Nikon D100 for the two days it took going back and forth between Goose Creek and Meadows of Dan to get the shots I needed.
I did get the story, the images, the good memories–and I learned the correct spelling for Mabry Mill at Milepost 176, which by the way, is owned and managed by a resort company in Arizona and NOT the National Park Service.