Lesson 707 – The Blue Ridge Parkway: From Virginia to North Carolina

Begun during the Great Depression as stimulus to the local economy, the 500 mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway is now part of our national park system and winds through some of our fairest hardwood and coniferous forests in their mountainous setting. We choose segments to show the landscape, places, and people along the way, from local music, to moonshine, to barbecue, to NASCAR.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the history, landscape and culture surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Social Studies Standards

Power, Authority, & Governance: C, F & H

Discussion Prompts

  • The almost 500 mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway crosses state lines. Talk about factors that might have
    influenced the lives of people in the two states within the parkway range.
  • Virginia and North Carolina were confederate states while West Virginia was part of the Union. Which state provided its residents with a more attractive lifestyle? Why? Was relocation more prominent in one of the three states? Who would be more inclined to move?
  • Moonshine was the name derived from a tradition of creating the alcohol during the nighttime by those who opposed taxes. Discuss the unfair outlawed actions of then and now, economic loss, and the risks associated when challenging government policies.
  • Local music, food and NASCAR are some of the pastimes of the people in the Blue Ridge Parkway region. Discuss the similarities and differences between past and present pastimes. How has your region kept up with local traditions?

Lesson Activities

  • Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long with 186 bridges along the way. Due to costly maintenance, the local governments want to remove at least one third of the bridges. Research this region and on a map of that
    region, select at least three bridges that could be replaced by a road. Illustrate the changes on the map.
  • The name moonshine was derived from a tradition of creating the alcohol during the nighttime. Research and create a digital montage presentation of at least three products that have been created underground due to banning that are now a prosperous business. Include the reason why it was banned at the time and your opinion.
  • You were tasked to recreate an audio recording claim lost during a flood, of your grandfather’s position as a conscientious objector. You must explain why he was opposed to bearing arms on the grounds of moral or ethical, or religious principles. Remember that his reasons must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest.
  • Create a political cartoon contrasting Daniel Boone’s lonely way of living, his deeds, and his place among the Native Americans, with a clear understanding of your position supporting or opposing Boone’s position as an American folk hero.


  • condensation
  • coniferous
  • conscientious objector
  • distillation
  • evaporation
  • fermentation
  • frontiersman
  • mead
  • moonshine
  • principles


In the Americas Season 7 Lesson Episode 7