“Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze.”
– John Denver
Labor Day Weekend 2015 dawned bright and early, and we were out even before Mr. Sun decided to wake up from his slumber and shine his light onto the world. But we were not the only people on the road, heading south. A few others were brilliant enough to start their journey before sunrise, so as to avoid traffic jams and crowds.
We had an itinerary planned… Luray Caverns, drive though the Shenandoah State Park, Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg and then head home 2 nights later via Virginia beach. But as all itineraries go, ours never goes according to plan, we always manage to tweak stuff with last minute changes, depending on how much we like the place.
As we drove into Virginia, and almost reached Luray, we took a gamble and drove into the North Entrance of the Shenandoah National Park, which is located just 75 miles away from the Nation’s Capital. Consisting of beautiful vistas, a variety of flora and fauna and 200,000 acres (yes you read that right- two hundred thousand!) of protected land, this is heaven for nature lovers. The park is open all year round, however portions of the skyline drive are shut during the year, and it is recommended that you check if it’s open before you go.
The crisp notes of fall were in the air.. leaves were just turning, and breeze blew onto your face. It would’ve been great to camp out here- if I loved camping that is! I was content to take the famous skyline drive, stare at nature in all its abundance, and think of a trail- and then having the husband veto my thought process, unless I was willing to spend all day at the park!
Realizing that it was an unrealistic idea, we continued to drive whilst stopping to take in the stunning views of the world below. The Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is the only public road through the park. There are four entrances to the Skyline Drive and it takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day. The park is home to deer, black bear, wild turkey, and a host of other woodland animals. Just my luck that we didn’t have the patience to sit still and wait for one to cross our path! How cool if I could’ve seen a wild turkey- yes even more so than a bear!
And hey- no prizes for guessing what I sang the entire length of the drive! One of my favorite songs from childhood came alive right before my eyes!
Note: The entry to the park is USD 20 per vehicle and it entitles you to unlimited entires to the park, for the car and its passengers for seven days. Feel free to take a bike ride too- for 15 bucks – same conditions!