Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Market, VA

After leaving the Blue Ridge Mountains we spent 4 days near New Market, VA.  We stayed at the Endless Caverns Campground....and we did not even go into the caverns!  Well that is because we will be back at the same campground in August for a month.  So we tried to relax a little and we checked out a few wineries as we were back in wine country:)

3rd Hill Winery was a very nice place
with some good wines.

We will definitely revisit in August!
We hiked up to the Endless Caverns sign on the mountain side behind the campground
Nice view!

Shenandoah National Park is about an hour from the caverns and we will explore it a lot more on our return but we did do some of the Trayfoot Mountain trail in the park while there:

had to cross the stream a few times

mountain laurel in bloom

ah those views!

Will definitely revisit
Bluestone as well

The settings and view from
these vineyards are

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Blue Ridge Pkwy Waterfalls, Natural Bridge SP, Natl D-Day Memorial, VA

Mike and I may have to come back to the Blue Ridge Parkway again someday.  I'm thinking we left so much un explored, we really need to spend more time there!

Not far from the parkway in the city of Bedford is the National D-Day Memorial.  This beautiful memorial is privately funded and this site was chosen because the small city of Bedford lost more men in battle that day per capita than any other city/town in the nation. It is a beautiful tribute:

Statue in memory of
the Bedford Boys
The Allied success at Normandy came at a very high price.  9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded on that day alone.  D-Day turned the tide of the war and set in motion the destruction of the Nazi regime.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose statue sits under the cupola in the gardens, was the Supreme Commander for Operation Overlord, the name given to the D-Day invasion:
Dwight D. Eisenhower

depicting the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944

soldiers scaling the wall of the cliffs

 Two beautiful cascading falls on the Parkway.  The entire hill sides were a series of cascading rivulets/ streams that ran into the main falls areas.  Just beautiful!

cascading streams everywhere

Apple Orchard Falls

Fallingwater Cascades

blooms on the Tulip Tree, aren't they pretty!
We also had to check out Natural Bridge State Park.

solid limstone, 215 feet high and 90 feet from wall to wall

Inside the arch, the initials
"G.W." may have been
carved by George
Washington.  He was
a surveyor at the time
and had been given the
job of measuring
the arch!
US Highway 11  runs over the bridge

beers were OK
but the scenery at this
brewery was
very nice!
liked a couple of the IPA's here!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sharp Top Trail, Blue Ridge Pkwy and Appomattox Courthouse

I cannot share enough how much we have enjoyed hiking in the cool, lush green, wonderful smelling mountains!  Sharp Top is a must do trail for anyone visiting the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Located at MP 86, the Peaks of Otter  are certainly a highlight!  There are trails to the top of Sharp Top and Flat Top and we had to choose one due to time constraints.  We chose Sharp Top, the most popular
 for good reason.  The summit offers an impressive 360 degree view of the Peaks of Otter area and even on a cloudy day with a low cloud ceiling, as it was on our walk, it was awesome!

Sharp Top Mtn, only 1.5 miles to the top but an elevation change of 1300ft!  A nice leg stretch!

we did have to be extra cautious, wet and slippery!

yes, I'm cold!  Prob 42 degrees and windy! But worth it!!

a visit to Peaks of Otter winery after our hike;)  all fruit wines and mostly too sweet for me but interesting!
Just an hour away from our campground was Appomattox Court House so we drove there one day to
get our history fix.

On April 9, 1865, Confederate commander, Robert E. Lee, surrendered his men to Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all United States Forces.  The end of the Civil War.  The actual surrender did not happen at the courthouse but at the home of the McLean family very close by.  As always, when we visit a well known historical site, we find out many interesting details that we would not otherwise have known.  

 One can walk the village and go into the court house, McLean house and other historical buildings
the McLean House

McLean House parlor where the terms of surrender were written by Grant

Appomattox River
On our walk there, we ventured out a bit and passed the Charles Sweeney Cabin.  Notable in that the Sweeny family were musicians and entertainers and son Joel played a 5 string instrument that he modified to a 4 string and popularized what we all know today as the banjo!  Fun fact:)

More wineries than
breweries in this area....
Rebec Winery-we bought an herb-infused wine here!