Tag Archives: Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park … snow-covered Big Meadows

By Lynn R. Mitchell

This is the view today in Shenandoah National Park at Big Meadows. Growing up, we spent many fun-filled days at this campground, exploring and hiking in God’s sanctuary. Today the park embraces winter … the quiet, peaceful beauty of the mountains covered in a snowy blanket of white. February 9, 2016.

Shenandoah National Park's photo.“Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.”― Mary Oliver

Big Meadows web cam the morning of February 9, 2016. It is truly beautiful in the park today!

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Shenandoah National Park closed for weekend snowstorm

Shenandoah National Park logo 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

Shenandoah National Park located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia posted the following about the upcoming snowstorm:

We are sure those of you in the area are aware of the forecast. There is the possibility of a significant and potentially dangerous snow storm. We are planning accordingly.

Park operations will be suspended for the duration of the storm, with no search and rescue personnel on duty. Plows and other operations will resume once the storm has passed.

We are strongly encouraging those with plans to be in the backcountry to postpone. PATC cabins that are accessed via Skyline Drive will be closed.

We want all of our visitors and our employees to be safe! We will update this information as we have updates from the National Weather Service.

 Be safe.
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Shenandoah National Park’s October leaves are peaking — Sunday’s trek along Skyline Drive

By Lynn R. Mitchell

3It’s October and autumn leaves are peaking along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. The Blue Ridge Mountains on the southern end of the Drive are made up of the golds of poplars, oaks, and hickories, and the reds of maples and black gums. Red sumac, Virginia Creeper, and poison ivy add to the palate that makes a drive along the ridges a beauty to behold. High winds over the weekend took a toll on some trees, stripping their leaves and leaving bare branches even as others are in full glory, and some are still green with just a tinge of color.

1Sunday’s drive from Afton to Loft Mountain was sunny with cold temps in the upper 30s and blustery winds. The bright October sun bleached out many photos as the brightness reflected off golden trees quaking in the wind.

2This is a view looking west over Waynesboro and the Appalachian Mountains in the distance.

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5Loft Mountain campground had many bare trees but also some that were still showing color, and yet others that were beyond peak and turning brown. At mid-day on Sunday, most campers had packed up and left with a few scragglers who were in the process of getting those last few items in the car. The smell of campfires permeated the cold air and completed the ambiance of the mountain top.

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11Every hiking area was filled with parked vehicles including Riprap where hikers filled the lot and then began parking on the shoulder of the Drive. There was even an activity bus from RVA’s Collegiate School in the parking lot.

12As we left, there was a line of visitors waiting at the entrance station. Prepared for the expected October peak weekend crowd, there were two rangers / volunteers at the two fee windows, and two more working this line of cars to collect entrance fees and speed up the process. We are grateful to live so close because we are able to head to the Park anytime — it’s just a short drive from our house — but we are also mindful that many have only their weekends to drive a long distance and enjoy the beauty we never take for granted. I may have to head to Big Meadows later this week as peak color moves north along the Blue Ridge Mountains. All too soon, it will be over. It’s fall in Virginia….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 18, 2015

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Autumn travel and leaf peeping in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell
Originally published in the Washington Examiner, October 4, 2010 – Updated

17Now that autumn has arrived in the Shenandoah Valley, October’s calendar is full of festivals and events for those who wish to enjoy cooler temperatures and colorful leaves. If waiting until the fall color show hits its peak, be sure to check out Virginia Tourism’s Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-424-LOVE or check the Fall Color report.

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Waynesboro Chick-fil-A

By Lynn R. Mitchell

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1Eating on the patio at the Waynesboro Chick-fil-A in the Target shopping center offers this backdrop — the Blue Ridge Mountains. On those ridges are Afton Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Just another reminder that we live in one of the most beautiful places in Virginia….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
August 22, 2015

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Shenandoah National Park: The bobcat and the timber rattler

Shenandoah National Park 1

By Lynn R. Mitchell

This intriguing picture was posted by Shenandoah National Park on their Facebook page with an explanation:

This photo was taken by remote game camera near the Park boundary in eastern Page County, VA (shared by Park cooperator, Steve Long). The bobcat (Felis rufus) is most likely “Trying Something New” and making a meal out of a timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). Bobcats have been known to opportunistically but seldom take rattlesnakes as prey. Capturing this kind of image is so rare, that we thought we should share it with you!

Bobcat 1; timber rattler 0. Shenandoah National Park

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Blackberry season celebrated at Shenandoah National Park on July 25

BlackberriesBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s blackberry season in Virginia with thickets of the juicy, black fruit ripening in open areas along trails and streams, which means it’s time to join in the summer fun at Skyland Resort.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 25, from 10am until 5pm, when everyone is invited to meet on the lower level area of Skyland to celebrate with blackberry-themed food, live entertainment, dancing, Shenandoah story-telling, children’s crafts, and more (see Blackberry Delight).

Located at Milepost 42 on the Skyline Drive, Skyland’s “Blackberry Delight” is an annual event held each July that celebrates the sweet-tart fruit in all its glory. Skyland chefs create special blackberry-infused dishes such as Blackberry BBQ Pulled Pork, Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich with Blackberry Jalapeño Sauce, Grilled Brat Sandwich with Blackberry Whole Grain Mustard and Caramelized Onions, Blackberry Cobbler a la Mode, Blackberry Ice Cream, Blackberry Short Cake, Blackberry Lemonade, and Blackberry Wine and Beer.

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‘One More Day’ … with Dad

By Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s Father’s Day and, once again, my dad is not here. He passed away in 1975 at the age of 51. There’s a country song by Diamond Rio called “One More Day,” and every time I hear that song I think of him. It’s been years since cancer took him away and, yet, a word or song or thought can bring me to my knees as I continue to feel the loss of a man I admired and respected and miss to this day.

He was a simple man, the oldest of five children growing up in Amelia County, Virginia … a child of the Depression who quit school after eighth grade to help support his financially-strapped family.

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The Valley back roads on a spring afternoon

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1The clouds in the sky over the Shenandoah Valley were especially interesting on Saturday and so I pulled out my camera and began to take pictures throughout the warm spring day. This was the view of the Appalachians from my neighborhood with clouds above the ridges.

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Fee free days at Shenandoah National Park April 18-19

Shenandoah National Park logo 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

Mark your calendar for the opening weekend of National Park Week and fee free days on April 18-19. Shenandoah National Park begins to come back to life after winter, offering wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, clogging, and time to enjoy the mountain solitude at Skyland Resort (see Events Calendar). Enjoy the Skyline Drive … hike a trail … take in the mountain vistas.

Don’t miss the other fee-free days in 2015:

August 25 — National Park Service’s 99th Birthday
September 26 — National Public Lands Day
November 11 — Veterans Day

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Waynesboro: Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival this weekend

Virginia Fly Fishing FestivalBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The weather is sunny with temps in the 60s for Waynesboro’s 15th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival this weekend. This is the largest outdoor event of its kind in the county so expect to see crowds on the banks of the South River and in downtown Waynesboro, taking in the vendors, restaurants, shops, and the experience of fishing in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Waynesboro is a heartbeat away from Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Skyland, Limberlost, Big Meadows … Shenandoah called

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????The mountains called. Skyland Resort is open for the season and it was hopping on Easter Monday as my Richmond sister Lori and I popped in to the dining room with dozens of other visitors for lunch and to enjoy the views out the huge windows overlooking the Page Valley.

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Skyline Drive’s icy wonderland

By Lynn R. Mitchell

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Snow-flocked trees at Big Meadows.

Winter. It’s a special time to visit Shenandoah National Park in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains because conditions continually change. On Wednesday SWAC Husband and I were in Weyers Cave so when we left, our path turned north toward Route 33, and then east toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were heading to the Skyline Drive, and I had my camera in hand.

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Presidents Day fee-free weekend in Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park logo 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

Mark your calendar for a winter escape in Shenandoah National Park next weekend, February 13-16, when entrance fees to the park will be waived Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. It will provide the perfect opportunity to visit the Byrd Visitor Center, located at Milepost 51 at Big Meadows, open 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Shenandoah National Park in winter offers a slower pace, less people, and open vistas unavailable during warmer months (see Winter in Shenandoah to find open facilities):

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Shenandoah Valley has lost another of the greatest generation

By Lynn R. Mitchell

A sad loss this week for Polly Campbell, long-time volunteer for the Republican Party of Virginia and secretary of RPV’s state central committee for 40 years. Her husband, Loren, passed away on Tuesday after losing his battle with pneumonia.  I have written in the past about Polly and her connection to Shenandoah National Park (see Polly Yager Campbell … growing up in the shadow of Shenandoah National ParkLunch with Polly Campbell … surprise presentation of RPV resolution, Resolution honoring Polly Campbell for 50 years with Republican Party of Virginia, Judge James Turk … ‘his one wish was to become a judge’).

Our thoughts and prayers are with Polly and her family at this sad time with gratitude to Loren for his service to our country.

December 18, 1922 – January 6, 2015

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