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.