Stanley Abbott was the architect who was responsible for the design and planning of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Abbott intended to show different kinds of scenery to the participant/observer from the parkway. He felt that the existing parkways showcased only one kind of scenery; that is, the panoramic view of far-off mountains. What Abbott deemed missing were views of farms, stream valleys, and forests.
Another change in parkway format Abbott conceived was to purposefully show views of agricultural settings, including farm buildings and crops. Views of farms and agricultural settings can be found off the Blue Ridge Parkway such as the area between Rockfish Gap and Peaks of Otter(Blue Ridge Parkway, Location and Typical Views Along Northern Section, Slide no.4).
Different views provided by travelling along the Blue Ridge Parkway were meant to relieve urban stress. Rainey expanded on the potential "experience" of the parkway:
Yet one's participation is not limited to the cinematic and kinesthetic experience of movement through scenery in an automobile. When one has had enough of the car, one can park and venture on a short hike to a waterfall or scenic rock outcrop. In five minutes one is immersed completely in the forest and totally unaware of the road's existence(p.9).
An example of a place on the Blue Ridge Parkway where one could take a short hike and forget about the road altogether would be at the Sharp Top Trail(Blue Ridge Parkway, Campgrounds, Historical Exhibits and Markers, Slide no. 5).
The cited examples of particular views from the Blue Ridge Parkway aim at relieving urban stress, defining one as an "American", and making one a better moral person. I believe that the Parkway meets and exceeds this aim. Perhaps Frederick Law Olmsted's ideas about views and their effect on people will help to explain how a parkway like the Blue Ridge can accomplish so much. Olmsted explains:
Scenery takes hold of the imagination chiefly in the degree that it tells stories or makes an impression of character. Thus scenery may be cheerful or gloomy, rude or defined, hospitable or forbidding, prosaic or romantic, sweet or bitter, stirring or reposeful, one or another of these or of scores of other descriptive terms long applied to it according to the manner in which it acts on the imagination(p.33).
The Blue Ridge Parkway works on the imagination. It is a work of artifice that provides access to scenery without ruining it. Travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway is meant to be enriching in every way. It is a place to forget your troubles, to define your "American" nature, and to realize your best self.