Blue Ridge Parkway | MOUNTAIN FARM OUTDOOR MUSEUM (MP 5.8)

Log cabin at the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Log cabin at the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum is a collection of early 1890s farm buildings that were once part of real farms along what became the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s. The land where the museum now sits was actually a farm owned by William Carter, but none of his original buildings are in existence. A log cabin, chicken house, root cellar, barn, pig pen, and spring house used to keep milk and produce cold are on display. In addition to the buildings, you will find some interesting pieces of antique farm equipment.

The Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum is typically open from May through the end of October.

Pig pen at the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Pig pen at the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Antique wheelbarrow on display at the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Antique wheelbarrow on display at the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

A short trail (.35 miles round trip) takes visitors through the outdoor museum. The start of the trail is on the left side of the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center. The trail starts off paved, but becomes a relatively flat and easy dirt trail once you enter the fenced-in area of the mountain farm. Those in wheelchairs can make it around the trail with some help (there is one small hill).

A dirt trail leads through the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

A dirt trail leads through the Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Wayside exhibits not only tell about the function of each building but also about mountain farming techniques, crops, and other aspects of trying to farm rocky land. Supposedly a more substantial brochure is available at the Visitor Center, but I got there early in the morning before it opened and was therefore unable to get a brochure.

Informational signs are posted at all places of interest at the Blue Ridge Parkway's Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum, like at this chicken coop

Informational signs are posted at all places of interest at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum, like at this chicken coop

Of all the exhibits on the farm, what I found to be the most interesting was how soap was made. Ashes from the fireplace were collected and dumped into a hopper. When water is poured over them, lye is created, which comes out the bottom of the hopper. This was mixed with animal fats to make soap. I hate to admit it, but in my 50 years of life I never knew about this until my trip to the Mountain Farm Museum.

Hopper used to make lye for soap on display at the Mountain Farm Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hopper used to make lye for soap on display at the Mountain Farm Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway

At the end of the trail is a sign that lets you know about an option to walk farther, even as far as the Humpback Rocks and Appalachian Trail parking area down the street from the Visitor Center, but unless you have a good reason to do so, turn around at this point and head back the way you came. You should be able to see all the buildings and read all of the wayside exhibits in 20-30 minutes.

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Last updated on November 28, 2023
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