From here, looking east from the Blue Ridge crest, you see the Piedmont, a broad plain dotted with few low hills. Noting similarities to their European homeland, early settlers named this land "piedmonte," Italian meaning "foot-of-the-mountains."
The Piedmont's hills and small mountains rise as isolated peaks rather than long straight ridges. Called "Monadnocks," these hills survive as subtle, eroded reminders of the great mountains that existed long before the Blue Ridge.
The Piedmont has been dramatically altered by human activity. Three centuries of tilling and grazing removed the original hardwood forest. Good soils have eroded away, but what remains is still among the most intensely used earth in the United States.