Monastic Mountain Mystery


Found: a large structure looming against the otherwise natural skyline at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 145.

If anyone can correctly identify this unidentified edifice, it’s yours. It seems to have wondered into its current location since the last time I traversed that stretch of America’s longest national park and nobody seems to know its name or who it belongs to.

As it certainly seems determined to stay in its new home, we might at least give it a name.

Anyone? And its purpose and how it came to be situated in the viewshed of the parkway? I feel certain there’s a story here. Not even the Friends of the Parkway could tell me very much.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Sean’s right…..I’ve spent weeks trying to muster up the courage to visit the place. Gorgeous isn’t it?

  2. It is Syon Abbey, built by Benedictine Monks near milepost 145 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check out their website Syon Abbey.