Skyline Drive was a 1.4-mile drive away from Woodward House on Manor Glade B&B, our accommodation for the previous night. We hopped onto Skyline Drive, via the Front Royal entrance, at 8:43 am on Sunday August 21.
Within a short period of time we saw lots of squirrels on the road. There were so many squirrels scurrying about that Bob remarked “someone might be tossing peanuts out the window”.
What a difference a day makes!
When overlook views are not visible because of rain and fog, attention is paid to what is closer to you.
We stopped at the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center (Milepost 51), located across from Big Meadows. I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp, a rubber ink stamp that records the name of the national park and date of your visit.
Besides squirrels we saw six deer … a group of four and two more. One deer was on one side of the road and another deer was on the other side of road. We saw turkey and poults too.
This was our first time on Skyline Drive in the rain and fog. We drove all 105 miles of the drive. If this had been our very first time on Skyline Drive, I believe we would have been disappointed in what we couldn’t see. We may not have even made the drive, opting to do something different instead. I am happy that we drove Skyline Drive even in the rain and fog. What could be seen was still beautiful.
We arrived at Best Western Plus Inn & Suites in Waynesboro VA at 1:00 pm. We had hoped to check in early. Unfortunately no rooms were ready for check in. The hotel clerk took my telephone number and said she would call me, when our room was available. Normal check in is at 3:00 pm. The hotel clerk called 15 minutes later, while we were at Walmart. We checked into our hotel at approximately 1:45 pm.
I think it was 4:00 pm that we walked across the parking lot to The Fishin’ Pig. We ordered BBQ platters. Bob ordered a brisket platter; I ordered a pulled chicken platter. Both platters came with coleslaw. We added two additional sides — baked beans and macaroni n cheese for me and macaroni n cheese and potato salad for Bob. We left the restaurant with full stomachs.
After dinner we returned to our hotel, where we relaxed for rest of the day.
We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. Earlier this week I uploaded a blog post about the first day of our vacation. This blog post provides details and photographs of our second day of vacation.
We checked out of the Quality Inn Skyline Drive on Monday, May 15, at 6:20 am, after a complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We drove straightway to Skyline Drive; the north entrance was located within 2 miles of our hotel. For the next 9 1/2 hours we drove the entire length of Skyline Drive (105 miles), from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap. We stopped at LOTS of overlooks and hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls. Here are some of the photographs that I took at the overlooks.
From the Signal Knob Overlook you can see Signal Knob, the northernmost peak of Massanutten Mountain. You can also see the south fork of the Shenandoah River.
The view at Browntown Valley Overlook looks straight out across the Browntown Valley to the Massanutten, with Signal Knob at its right-hand end.
From the Range View Overlook you can see Skyline Drive beckoning you on to the next overlook.
Marys Rock Tunnel is 610 feet long; it was blasted through the ridge about 1932.
There was a sign at Jewell Hollow Overlook that discussed wall construction. The sign read: “In the 1930s, stone walls in Shenandoah National Park were built in two styles of masonry: dry-laid and ashlar. Dry-laid walls, like those here at Jewell Hollow Overlook, could be built by less-experienced stone workers, like the young men of the CCC, since they require only moving and aligning heavy stones–more muscle than skill…”
Skyland Resort is located at mile marker 41.7 and sits at Skyline Drive’s highest elevation, 3,680 feet.
What can I say about Dark Hollow Falls. I have hiked the trail to the falls three times. The first time was with Mom in June 1994. I was 38 years old at the time; Mom would be 56 years old in a couple months. The second time I hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls was with Bob in May 2001. I was 45 years old at the time. Sixteen years later I hike down that trail once again to the bottom of Dark Hollow Falls.
From the parking lot, which is located at mile marker 50.7 and at an elevation of 3,425 feet, the trail is a round trip of 1.4 miles. The descent is about 440 feet, which means you have to climb back up from the falls 440 feet! A trail description states that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes.
This year the thought of hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail caused me trepidation. I had a scare, while at Bushkill Falls earlier in the month. We were hiking around the Main Falls. We planned to do more hiking than that, intending to see more waterfalls than only Main Falls. I got lightheaded, shaky. My breathing was not good. My heart was beating very fast. My chest started to hurt. I sat down on a wooden rail for quite a while, until everything returned to normal. Then we began the climb back to the car. It took a while because I had to make lots of stops.
I had no trouble hiking down the Dark Hollow Falls trail.
Will I ever see Dark Hollow Falls again? I hope so, but I told Bob that this may be my last visit to the falls.
I took it very slow on the climb back up the trail, resting frequently. Thankfully I never experienced what I did at Bushkill Falls, while hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail. But, man was I exhausted from that hike. Toward the end I began to feel quite weak from low sugar, I think, as we had not had anything to eat since 6:00 am. I mentioned earlier that a trail description stated that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes. It took us about 2 hours to make the round trip…not bad considering all the stops I made.
Less than a mile south of the Dark Hollow Falls parking lot is Big Meadow. We ate a picnic lunch (Bumble Bee meat spread and crackers and pineapple) at Big Meadow. We also bought Blackberry ice cream (for me) and peanut butter pie (for Bob) for dessert. I believe the blackberry ice cream is available only on Skyline Drive. It is the only place I have had that ice cream flavor. When we planned our drive to Maggie Valley, via Skyline Drive, blackberry ice cream and a Shenandoah National Park t-shirt were on my list of must-haves. In addition to the ice cream, I purchased THREE t-shirts.
It was 2:10 pm, when we continued our trip south on Skyline Drive. It wasn’t long afterward that I began to feel motion sickness. Bob parked the car at an overlook. We reclined the front seats for “20 winks”. I think Bob needed a rest, as he fell asleep for a short long time. As for me, I wasn’t feeling any better. I ended up throwing up the ice cream and pineapple that I had for lunch. I felt better, after throwing up.
We exited Skyline Drive at 4:10 pm. We didn’t make any other photo op stops at any outlooks past Big Meadow.
About a mile from our hotel we stopped at a car wash in Waynesboro. The car needed a bath, as it was covered with pollen dust and a bird had crapped on the hood.
We checked into Best Western Waynesboro around 5:00 pm. Our room number was Room 414. It was a very nice room, a two queen bed suite. The sitting area, with its couch, two comfy chairs, one end table and a coffee table, was quite nice. The living and sleeping areas were separated by a half wall.
At 6:00 pm we drove to a nearby Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Bob ordered steak; I ordered chicken fingers, which Bob helped me eat. My stomach seemed to have settled; dinner didn’t upset it further.
After dinner we watched an episode of “Elementary” on Hulu.
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.