The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Easter 2014 Vacation’

Easter Vacation – Day 3 of 5: Buchanan, VA

Bob and I spent three nights (April 17-20) in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Waynesboro is located near where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins.  Our original plan was to stay in Waynesboro for four nights, but we departed a day early.  I will explain why we left Waynesboro a day early in a future blog post.

The highlights on Day 3 (April 19) of our Easter vacation included a visit to Natural Bridge, walking on a swinging bridge in Buchanan and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Yesterday’s blog post provided photographs and details about our visit to Natural Bridge.  Today’s blog post is about our brief stop in Buchanan VA.

From Natural Bridge we took Route 11/Interstate 81 to Buchanan VA, a distance of about 12 miles.  According to the Internet, Buchanan is the ideal example of small town America.  Buchanan’s Main Street is home to historic buildings dating from 1750-1950 that house general stores, specialty shops, indoor golf, antiques, art galleries, Inns, restaurants, banks, a pharmacy, book store and an historic theater.  Buchanan is home also to the only swinging bridge that crosses the James River.

The bridge is 366 feet long and 57.5 feet tall.
Portions of the bridge date back to 1851.

Swinging Bridge over James River

Swinging Bridge over James River

Did you see the two men, one who was waving at me, in the first photograph?  We waited until those two men had walked both ways across the bridge before we walked across the bridge.

Swinging Bridge over James River

Swinging Bridge over James River

Yes, the bridge did sway as we walked across it!

Click here to read about the historic Buchanan Swinging Bridge.

See the sign behind me?  Our next destination was the Blue Ridge Parkway, the subject of an upcoming blog post.

Easter Vacation – Day 3 of 5: Natural Bridge

Bob and I spent three nights (April 17-20) in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Waynesboro is located near where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins.  Our original plan was to stay in Waynesboro for four nights, but we departed a day early.  I will explain why we left Waynesboro a day early in a future blog post.

The highlights on Day 3 (April 19) of our Easter vacation included Natural Bridge, a swinging bridge in Buchanan and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This blog post provides photographs and details about our visit to Natural Bridge.

We awakened a little after 5:00 on Saturday morning, after a good night’s sleep. I showered and dressed, after reading the newspaper and having a cup of tea. We went to breakfast a little after 6:30 am and were on the road headed to Natural Bridge by 7:00 am.  Natural Bridge is located just off Interstate 81 (exit 175) 15 miles south of  Lexington VA and only 15 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 62.   We traveled via Interstate 81 and arrived at Natural Bridge a few minutes before the 8:00 am opening time.

Natural Bridge is 215 feet high, 40 feet thick, and 100 feet wide with a 90 foot span between the walls.  The two people on the path provide perspective on the immensity of Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge

We walked under Natural Bridge to the Cedar Creek Nature Trail.

Cedar Creek Nature Trail

The Cedar Creek Nature Trail included the following points of interest: Monacan Indian Village, Saltpetre Mine, Lost River and Lace Waterfalls.  The trail ended at Lace Waterfalls, which was a distance of 1,300 yards from where the trail began.

Monacan Indian Village

The perimeter around the Monacan Indian Village is called a palisade.  This fence is designed to protect the inhabitants from wild animals and territorial infringements.  The Indian village was closed except for scheduled school tours.

Saltpetre Mine

Lost River

About 1812, workmen from the Saltpetre Mine heard the waters of the Lost River and blasted the opening to it.  Legend has it that, in later years, several attempts were made to locate the underground channels of the Lost River.  All attempts failed to determine source and final destination of this mysterious subterranean river.

 

Lace Waterfalls
Cedar Creek plunges 50 feet to the creek bed.

Bob took this picture of me at Lace Waterfalls with his cell phone camera.

Stairway to Gift Shop

Although shuttle service was available, we opted to use the stairway from the gift shop/ticket counter down to Natural Bridge, as well as climb the stairway back to the gift shop.  I didn’t take any photographs on our way down the stairway, as we wanted to reach Natural Bridge before anyone else.  When we reached Natural Bridge, we were surprised to find two other couples had arrived there before we did. These two other couples bypassed the ticket counter, reaching Natural Bridge another way.  I did take photographs, as we climbed the stairway to the gift shop.

There were pretty waterfalls alongside the stairway to Gift Shop.

Redbud trees were in blossom.

From Natural Bridge we drove to Buchanan VA, the subject of my next blog post.

Easter Vacation – Day 2 of 5: Blue Ridge Parkway

Bob and I spent three nights (April 17-20) in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Waynesboro is located near where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins.  Our original plan was to stay in Waynesboro for four nights, but we departed a day early.  I will explain why we left Waynesboro a day early in a future blog post.

The highlights on Day 2 (April 18) of our Easter vacation included seeing two waterfalls and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Yesterday’s blog post provided photographs and details about Crabtree Falls, the first waterfall that we saw.  This blog post provides photographs and details about the second waterfall that we saw, as well as our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

From Crabtree Falls we made our way back up Route 56 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We entered the Parkway at Milepost 27 ( Tye River Gap) and headed south.   We were on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few miles today (from milepost 27 to milepost 63.7). The views from the overlooks were good but would have been better had it been a less hazy, less overcast day.

We saw five deer, while driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This is one of five deer that we saw, while driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Our first stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway was at Milepost 34.4 (Yankee Horse Ridge, elev. 3,140 feet).   I read on the Internet that Yankee Horse Ridge marks where, during the Civil War, a hard-riding Union man’s horse fell and had to be shot.  The two attractions at Yankee Horse Ridge are a reconstructed spur of an old logging railroad and Wigwam Falls.

Yankee Horse Ridge (Elevation: 3,140 feet) – Old Logging Railroad

The easy 0.2 mile Yankee Horse Trail includes a short stretch of reconstructed narrow-gauge railroad track once known as the Irish Creek Railway.  This railway was built in 1919 and completed in 1920.  It was 50 miles long.  The tracks were built to haul the lumber from the logging that was happening in the area prior to the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Old Logging Railroad

The trail also loops around a waterfall.

Bob and I at Wigwam Falls

Wigwam Falls

After leaving Yankee Horse Ridge we made a couple more stops at scenic overlooks, before exiting the Parkway at Milepost 63.7 (James River).

Second stop on Blue Ridge Parkway

Third Stop on Blue Ridge Parkway

By the time we reached the James River it was 1:00 pm, and we were hungry.  There were no dining facilities open on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We could have eaten lunch at one of the many overlooks had we thought to pack a picnic lunch! We exited the Parkway at James River and drove to Lynchburg, where we ate lunch at Applebee’s. It was around 3:00 pm and even more overcast when we finished lunch. We decided to return to our hotel, rather than continue our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We told the GPS to take us back to our hotel in Waynesboro.  This map shows our route, after leaving Crabtree Falls.

 

Later in the evening, we went shopping at a nearby Kroger store.  We picked up cheese, meat and crackers for a light dinner, as well as for a picnic lunch for tomorrow.

We watched “The Following” on Hulu Plus (Yes, we packed the ROKU).  After watching “The Following”, I read for a short time.   I went to bed a little after 9:00 pm.

Easter Vacation – Day 2 of 5: Crabtree Falls

Bob and I spent three nights (April 17-20) in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Waynesboro is located near where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins.  Our original plan was to stay in Waynesboro for four nights, but we departed a day early.  I will explain why we left Waynesboro a day early in a future blog post.

The highlights on Day 2 (April 18) of our Easter vacation included seeing two waterfalls and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This blog post provides photographs and details of the first waterfall that we saw — Crabtree Falls.

Crabtree Falls is located only 6 miles east of the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 27.

We reached Crabtree Falls via Routes 340 and 11, passing through Stuarts Draft, Greenville and Steeles Tavern. Upon reaching Steeles Tavern, we turned east on Route 56. The road is curvy and fully follows the contours of the mountains.   We crossed over the Blue Ridge Parkway and continued climbing, twisting and turning until we finally descended at the entrance to Crabtree Falls.

Bob took this photograph of me, as I was returning to the car,
after taking a picture of the sign at the entrance to Crabtree Falls.

 

There are two parking lots at Crabtree Falls — a lower parking lot and an upper parking lot.  We parked in the lower parking lot.  The lower parking lot is near a footbridge.

The footbridge crosses over the Tye River.

Crabtree Falls Footbridge

Crabtree Falls Footbridge, after we had crossed over it

View of Tye River from Crabtree Falls Footbridge

We walked from the lower parking lot to the upper parking lot.  The first waterfall overlook is just a few hundred feet from the upper parking lot.

Crabtree Falls (first overlook)

Bob took this picture of me at Crabtree Falls.

Crabtree Falls is the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi. It features a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller ones that fall a total distance of 1,200 feet.

We hiked to a couple other overlooks.

Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls

We hiked 0.3 miles.  We opted not to hike to the top of the falls, which would have been another 1.7 miles.

Bob took this picture of me photographing flowers along the Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail

These pretty flowers were all over the forest floor.

Oh! Look! A forest gnome!

We spent about 1 1/2 hours at Crabtree Falls.  From Crabtree Falls we made our way back up Route 56 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We entered the Parkway at Milepost 27 ( Tye River Gap) and headed south.  My next blog post will provide photographs and details of our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Easter Vacation – Day 1 of 5

Thursday morning (April 17th) I packed for our Easter vacation in Virginia. When I shut the lid on the suitcase, Patches jumped on top and laid down.

I think Patches was saying “Don’t forget me, Mommy!”.

I told Patches that she would be well taken care of by our friends, Valerie and Michael.

Bob came home from work at noon. By 12:30 pm we were on our way to Virginia.

We first noticed trees in blossom in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.  Trees with white and pink blossoms, trees with sprouting leaves of soft greens and yellows and oranges, and flowers rich in yellow, purple and white hues dotted the landscape. This explosion of color was set against a brilliant blue sky and freshly cut green grass. Spring had definitely taken hold just south of the Mason-Dixon Line!

A regular fuel stop, when heading to parts south, is the Liberty station between Berkeley Springs WV and Winchester VA.  Gas is always less expensive there than at home or any other fuel stations we pass in Pennsylvania, Maryland or West Virginia. Bob and I guessed that gas would cost $3.49 or $3.50 a gallon.

The price was even lower–$3.36 a gallon.

We reached our hotel, Best Western Plus Waynesboro Inn, at approximately 7:30 pm. We stayed at this hotel a couple years ago for one night.  We were happy then with the hotel and our accommodation, so we decided to stay there again.  Our hotel reservation this year was for 4 nights.  We checked in, carried our luggage into the room, and then left for dinner. Several restaurants were nearby, all within walking distance. We chose to eat dinner at Cracker Barrel, as it was located right next door to the hotel. Bob ordered a grilled chicken salad. The salad came with a deviled egg, which is the reason Bob ordered that particular salad. I ordered buttermilk fried chicken with carrots and green beans. Our meals were delicious.

After dinner, we retired to our room for the evening.

 

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