Saturday’s National Parks Centennial celebration at Humpback Rocks Farm

Humpback 1
The one-room log cabin anchors the mountain farm, an outdoor museum of cabin and outbuildings like those found all along the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains in the 1890s.

Humpback Rock
Humpback Rock is visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located 0.25 mile from Humpback Rocks Farm, it is a very popular hike with expansive scenic views from the top that overlook the Shenandoah Valley.

Humpback Rock Visitor Center
Humpback Rock Visitor Center, adjacent to Humpback Rocks Farm, has a small gift shop to purchase trail maps and informational books and restrooms.

If your family is looking for something to do this weekend, take a drive to the Blue Ride Mountains and help the Park Service celebrate the Centennial of America’s National Parks. This free event will take place Saturday, August 20, 2016, from 11am until 4pm, at Humpback Rocks Farm, located just six miles south of I-64 and Afton Mountain.

We have visited this historical farm in all seasons — the barn, various outbuildings, fences, rock walls, garden, and everything else that made up a way to survive in the isolation of these mountains. It’s a beautiful location in all seasons inclding spring, fall, winter, and summer — and even foggy days.

Farm Stage Entertainment
11:00 to 11:15AM – Event Welcome
11:15 to 12:00PM – Mutton Busters – Old Time Music Concert
12:00 to 12:45PM – Dinah Ansley-Dulcimer Music Performance
1:00 to 1:45PM – Uncle Henry’s Favorite- Old Time Music Concert
2:15 – 3:00PM – Irish Step Dancers Presentation
3:00 to 4:00PM – Irish Storytelling with Kevin Donleavy

Outdoor Events
11 to 4 – Learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition
11:30AM – Guided Humpback Rocks Farm Tour (1 hour)
12:30 PM – Old Time Sack Race near the garden
1:30PM – Guided Hike to Glass Hollow Overlook (2.5 mile moderate hike)
1:45PM – Three Legged Race near the garden
2 to 4PM – Dulcimer Jam Session at the Visitor Center including free dulcimer workshop
2:45PM – Guided Humpback Rocks Farm Tour (1 hour)

Ongoing Farm Activities
Take a self-guided hike: Meander the 1890s era Mountain Farm to learn more about life in Appalachia before electricity and indoor plumbing (0.25 mile).

Hearth Cooking Demonstrations: Learn about meal preparation during the 1890s and cooking with coals in the cabin.

Mountain Wildlife: Get hands-on with our collection of animal study pelts and replica skulls. Meet near the apple trees.

Historic Games and Toys: Have fun 1890s style and play some old time games, or challenge your puzzle solving abilities figuring out mind benders.

Learn about Livestock on a 1890s era farm: Discover which domesticated animals lived on mountain farms, what it took to care for them, and how each animal served the family. See if you can find our live chickens.

The Old Howardsville Turnpike on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains — a narrow gravel road — runs parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway before dropping down into the Shenandoah Valley and coming out on Rt. 340 at Lyndhurst. It offers an alternative drive especially when the Parkway is crowded with leaf lookers. Howardsville Turnpike was originally built in the mid-1800s as a route to transport goods from the Valley over the mountains to Howardsville on the James River in Albemarle County. Goods would then be shipped down river to Richmond. Teamsters driving loaded wagons used Humpback Rock as a guide.

If you’re going: From I-64 at Afton Mountain, take Blue Ridge Parkway south to Milepost 5.8. Humpback Rocks Farm and Visitor Center on the right.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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