Friday, June 7, 2019

SKYLINE DRIVE, SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK


Last Monday (the 3rd) we drove to Skyline Drive.  The day was lovely and sunny.  We intended to walk along the Limberlost Trail, an easy hike just over a mile long (about 2 km), but discovered how chilly it was having only worn short sleeves.  Neither of us thought we would need a sweater.  Yes, we think ahead (not really). So no hike along Limberlost today but I did read some very interesting information at the website (link above in red), which in part reads,

"The trail is probably best known for its views of trees, birds and other wildlife.  The trail crosses the White Oak Canyon trail in case you would like to branch off and combine that for a longer hike.

The trail has a little history to it.  Addie Pollack bought 100 of the large hemlock trees in the area for $1000 to help preserve this land in 1920 from logging.  Her husband named it the Limberlost Forest after the novel, A Girl of the Limberlost.  The Pollocks were responsible for establishing Skyland as a resort destination.  The large hemlock trees are now gone (killed by an accidentally imported insect - the hemlock wooly adelgid), but there are still some large spruce trees in the area."

This website also has photos of the trail and other information if you would like to take a look.  My scenic photos shared today are from various overlooks on our drive.  Except for the first one at the beginning of my post, the rest of these pretty views were taken by Gregg.  Photography is something we both enjoy when going on our trips.

Fortunately, we come here regularly and it would be easy to take the trail in the not too distant future.  We did however, see a wonderful sight not too far from the entrance at Thornton Gap, and here they are.
The little babe doesn't look very old does it?  Can you see the sweet thing in the right of the photo?  They were right next to the road, but fortunately we saw them well ahead of time.  
We never go very fast up here for a variety of reasons, because of any unexpected wildlife we may encounter, and always for safety.  The roads are very winding and there are steep drops at times.  Doe and fawn were very unexpected and we were delighted.  The little one was actually behind its mother but it started to run fast and was soon ahead of her in no time.  It looked like it was all legs and could it run!  She on the other hand was in no great hurry but followed dutifully.
Not very sharp photos but they knew we were there and their instincts took over.  They headed into the underbrush within seconds, first baby and then mum following closely behind.  We ever so slowly drove by the spot they disappeared, in awe of this gift we had been given.  On our two or three previous trips there had been no deer sightings. 
We usually head to Big Meadows Lodge for lunch, and was in time to eat at the dining room on the main level.  There is a window of two hours for lunchtime, between 12 noon and 2.00 a.m., though they are open for breakfast and dinner.  When we have missed the Spottswood Dining Room lunch times in the past, we used to go down one floor to the Newmarket Taproom. They always seemed to be open, but I see from the website their hours are now 4.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m.  It is prudent to check ahead, for more reasons than whether it is going to be chilly that day, even if it was blazing hot the day before, smiling here.  
For lunch we both ordered a bowl of peanut soup (our favorite soup so far),  and shared a pork barbecue sandwich.  Both were excellent.  
After lunch we usually go out on the terrace and look at the view.  They always have very pretty rail planter boxes to enjoy.
We didn't stay out too long and went back inside the large main room.  There were only a couple of people in there (still relatively early in the tourist season), but now we are retired we can enjoy a weekday visit instead of the weekend, those being much busier.
Outside, in the front of the lodge, and perhaps the back, there was some work going on, a little renovating here and there.  Thankfully the gift shop was open.  It is only a small shop but the items in there are fun to look at.  I always treat myself to a locally made ceramic, as I have been collecting a set for a couple of years now.  I limit myself to two pieces, and this time they were a small berry pot with its saucer.  I also saw a backpack.  Now that was a surprise as I had no intention of buying one of those today.  However, I have been on the lookout for a while now and it was just the right size, a replacement for my tried and true that I had for years.  It fell apart on our last trip.  We had a nice chat with the two ladies inside and that was it, back to the car, but first taking a quick photo of this pretty pot of flowers out front.
We noticed that with all the rain this spring, the folliage was gorgeous, very lush and green. 
 The Queen Anne's lace were as tall as we have ever seen, and the blooms themselves were as big as plates.
Another mile or two down the road there was another deer sighting, again on the side of the road.  
Who knows, maybe she had a little one out of sight.  The one thing we have been told while walking over Big Meadows, especially at this time of the year but other times really, is to watch out for the new babies.  Mums leave their fawns curled up and tucked into the undergrowth while she wanders and feeds.  I have heard of people tripping over them.  When we have walked across the meadow we are always wary.
Gregg was able to stop on the road, thankfully no cars in sight.  I took my photos from the passenger side through his window.  She didn't miss a beat.


Not even a half mile down the road we stopped behind a red car, and we both turned our heads to where we could see in which direction the people inside were staring.  Another deer!


Harder to see this time...

but we did our best.
The red car moved on and so did we.  This sighting was our parting gift.  It wasn't long after that we drove out of the park.
Half an hour later we were at the ice cream stop I talked about in my random photo post, and our only sighting here was a familiar sculpture of a cow and her calf.
Moo Thru was waiting for us.
Happy Cow sign.
Here is their menu.  On each side is a window, one for orders and one for pick-up.  It was a very nice way to end our day.
Here is a map showing you Skyline Drive.  The red line is the route we take once inside the park, though we enter further along than Front Royal. The red box shows its location in relation to the State of Virginia.
Another map showing Virginia on the U.S. map.
I managed to get all photos into one post today.  No more until our next trip.  Thanks for looking and have a great day.






55 comments:

  1. What wonderful photos!! Especially the deer closeups! I need to visit the ice-cream place. Is it soft serve? I LOVED going along on this trip!!

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    1. Thank you Ginny, so glad :) It's not soft serve but the ice cream is excellent.

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    2. Hi Ginny, I misspoke, I asked Gregg (he is always the one who has gone to get our ice-cream), and he said they do sell soft-serve at this place. I only order a sundae and have never thought to ask. So yes, they sell both the soft serve and the harder ice cream, which is what I always get.

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    3. I see they even have soft serve on the menu.🤷🏻‍♀️

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  2. I am so very grateful that you take us on your trips. And huge thanks to both you and Gregg for your beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you EC and you are very welcome. We love taking you along :)

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  3. wonderful views of mountains, wild life and flowers...
    aww...little cute deer....

    Thank you for sharing your summary of SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK.....

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    1. Thank you Tanza and love sharing our experiences :)

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    1. Thanks Linda, the fawn was definitely a highlight of the trip.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your trip. i love seeing the baby deer. So sweet

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    1. You are very welcome Margaret, very happy you enjoyed.

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  6. Brilliant photographs as usual. Thanks, Denise. Seeing the deer reminded me of times when I used to feed them titbits, that was on Cannock Chase which you must have heard of if not visited.

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    1. Thank you Valerie :) I remember Cannock Chase well. My sister went on a Girl Guide's camping trip there once.

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    1. Obrigado! Um abraço e um bom fim de semana pra vocês :)

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  8. Hello Denise, Shenandoah is one of my favorite places to visit. I love the sweet baby deer, adorable deer sightings! The views are lovely too. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend!

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    1. One of mine too Eileen, you just never know what you are going to see there. Thank you and have a happy weekend also :)

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  9. Thanks, Denise and Gregg too for the photo trip on Skyline Drive, which we have only traveled on one time. It’s another drive we plan to re-take one day. We have never tried peanut soup. Good captures of that cute fawn and the other deer. What ice cream treats did you get.

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    1. Hi Dorothy, hope you get to take that trip again in the not too distant future. Peanut Soup is not on every restaurant's menu. In fact, we have only come across three places. The tavern at Mount Vernon, The Red Fox Inn in Middleburg and this place. The young man who seated us had never heard of peanut soup until he started working at the Lodge, it is a very colonial dish I believe. I had a hot fudge sundae and Gregg a root beer float at the ice cream place.

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  10. I have seen many scultured cows but never one with a baby calf. love it. the tiny baby deer is awesome. i can see why they call the place Skyline. wow on those views. it is great you are close enough to go there when you want. we to do weed day things to miss the week end crowds. we eat out on Thursday, no crowds... leave the week end to families and working folks. i love the collages, did you do those in PM? the collage with the tin pitcher in the middle is beautiful.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed Sandra, we feel very blessed to be so close to places like this. That's a great routine you have and I am all for no crowds at this stage of my line :) Actually, never was one for crowds. I did my collages today using Paint Shop Pro on my laptop. Thanks so much and have a great weekend.

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  11. Love the amazing views and the young deer is delightful. I always say I can eat anything except for peanut butter!! I would think peanut soup (which I have never heard of) would also be added to my very short dislike list!! The thought makes me shudder. I do like peanuts though as a snack.
    Have a great weekend, Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane, and I never tried peanut butter until I came to the States. Now I enjoy it now and then, as I do the soup. You have a great weekend too.

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  12. Hi Denise,
    What a beautiful peaceful place to visit and so good to come across the deer especially the first with the fawn.
    Also appears to have a very good water hole. but as much as I like peanuts, I have never heard of peanut soup.
    All the best, John

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    1. Hi John, peanuts are grown in Virginia. I pass fields of them on trips down south. All the best to you too.

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  13. I have never tried peanut soup – sounds intriguing. I like boiled peanuts like they sell in outside stands along the roads in Georgia. Your photos are a delight, especially the little deer. The restaurant where you stopped for lunch looks really inviting. What a nice journey y’all had.

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    1. I have never tried boiled peanuts, only the roasted kind. And it was a lovely journey. I'm sure you've had your own down south.

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  14. Fabulous photographs Denise and yes the little babe doesn't look very old at all … so sweet.

    All the best Jan

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  15. What a wonderful day out, enhanced by your great photos. Beautiful views, special sightings and ending with an icecream! Isn't retirement wonderful?

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  16. "Money can't buy happiness ... ice cream can make you happy" was good. :)

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  17. Hi Denise, some beautiful images, especially the Fawn and the Lady with the mug.

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    1. Thank you Roy, you say the nicest things :)

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  18. Denise, what a beautiful trip! I would love every single aspect of it, except for the one thing that would make the rest impossible for me--the winding road. Unstoppable, unpreventable motion sickness keeps me from so many beautiful places. But your beautiful photos make me feel almost as if I'd been there!

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    1. Hi Jean, thank you and I am sorry to hear you suffer from motion sickness. That would most definitely put a damper on things.

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  19. Wow!! What amazing pictures!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to comment!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Thank you Debbie, and you are very welcome. I have enjoyed my visits.

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  20. I love reading about your travel adventures. Thank you for giving information about the area and where it's located. Steve and I are always looking for new unexplored areas and eateries. Beautiful place. Do you ever see bears? The thought of that scares me terribly. I mean they do live in these areas and I do expect it. Just wondering though.
    Happy Sunday
    Betsy

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    1. Hi Betsy, I have seen bears in the past and I know we've all read those scary stories, but they want to keep clear of us. I'm sure a Ranger would give some great advice and you could probably read all that on line. On walks you're supposed to make as much noise as you can. No problem with Gregg and me, we are always talking loudly, it comes naturally, lol! I saw people carry bells on their walking sticks on our last vacation in May of last year just for this purpose, making noise. I can't say I have ever felt nervous on our trips up to Skyline, but I never take it for granted, just take precautions. And those rare sightings we have had? It's magical! Hope your Sunday was a good one :)

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    2. I should say also that those sightings weren't that close. One was up a tree and so far away, the other was a mama bear crossing the road in front of her two cubs, what an incredible sight that was but we were in our car and stopped while they crossed. The other time deep in the trees. We look for people staring and pointing and we know to stop, usually it is for a deer but this time a bear. Another time we were slowly driving down a hill, I was on the passenger side and I looked to my right just as I saw a bear's head pop up, it was a young one. I watched in the rear view mirror as it crossed the road behind us. Magical! No closer encounters than that.

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    3. I have always heard about making noise but I don't want to see one really. The last time I did see one was in Michigan many many moons ago. I just out the car to take a picture of the cub and my in-laws had a fit and said mama wouldn't be far behind. I jumped back in.
      Good your encounters were very far away. All of the times we have been to the mountains and we go quite a bit. I have never seen one there.
      I must scare them.
      betsy

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    4. That would have been scary. Mama Bears and their cubs are a whole different story.. Except for the bear on the side of the road when its head popped up above the short wall, we were moving on down in the car, so was okay. I do remember being close enough to look directly into its eyes and we actually stared at each other for a few seconds. I was in total shock and that will stay with me forever.

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  21. This looks like such a fun day out. The scenery is gorgeous and the animals are so sweet. I'm glad you took us along.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thank you Amalia, so glad you enjoyed my post.

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  22. Denise, thank you for sharing you trip along Skyline Drive.

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  23. a place i would love to visit, i read so much about it on eileens blog. the doe and fawn are just beautiful, they are always favorites of mine!!

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    1. Mine too and I have read the wonderful posts of Eileen's trips up there and have enjoyed them immensely. Nice to know we have trodden in the same footsteps in places.

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