You don't have to drive the whole Blue Ridge Parkway to get its leafy, hilly, billboard-free, idyllic flavor. (The whole thing is 469 miles of Virginia and North Carolina, after all.) A tiny slice will do, especially if you do it now in late October when fall foliage typically reaches its peak.
The parkway — I drove it all last year — is one of the country's greatest road trips (never exceeding 45 mph, no billboards, no 18-wheelers).
You can build a short itinerary around a night at the only lodging that's part of the parkway: Peaks of Otter Lodge, which has stood since 1964 about 30 miles northeast of Roanoke, Va. Next to the lodge lies little Abbott Lake — manmade, yes, but irresistible in early morning light.
In honor of this year's National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We'll post one per day through Dec. 31.
Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds
See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.