Monday, May 27, 2013

#546 Vacation Virginia #7 - Shenandoah National Park

Driving the whole 20 miles to Shenandoah National Park can sometimes be too far.  So for Vacation Virginia #7, we opt to stay overnight in the park at Big Meadows Lodge during Memorial Day weekend.

Skyline Drive, the 105-mile scenic wonder that runs the length of Shenandoah National Park, is one of our favorites.

On what could be one of Virginia's most spectacular weekends of the year, our plan is to spend it outside - despite the lure of Arrested Development on Netflix!  The Milam Gap section of the Appalachian Trail is just the place for our meandering.  Thru-hikers heading north pass us like nobody's business because we're stopping to enjoy the day and also because they're just a whole lot faster than we are.  In Charlottesville, our ears have quickly grown accustomed to the consistent roar of the 17-year cicadas, but on the Milam Gap trail, we hear nothing but birds and the greetings from other hikers.

After a few hours on the trail, we replenish with lunch in a room with a view at the Skyland cafe.   And in an amazing display of technology, communications between Skyline Drive and the MV Explorer off the coast of Dover were handled with ease.  Though the cafe is busy on this holiday weekend, our veteran waitress tells us this is slow compared to October weekends. 

Kelly may have found his favorite kite flying spot - and that's saying something!  Kelly's kites have flown over the Puntarenas beach in Costa Rica, the mall in Washington DC, the citadel in Halifax, and off the back deck of the MV Explorer.  The big meadows at Big Meadows offer a consistent wind, an open space under blue skies, and a bunch of other kite-flying enthusiasts.

Just a stone's throw up the hill behind the Big Meadows Lodge, Blackrock Summit offers a stunning panorama view of the Shenandoah Valley. 

We eventually lose the light and head indoors to the comfort of the Big Meadows lobby and the music of the High Ground bluegrass band.

In Old Dominion, Eddie from Ohio got it right.  "When you're talking home, you mean the Old Dominion."

Yours in enjoying Sweet, Sweet, Virginia,

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