Shenandoah National Park offers over 500 miles of hiking trails through Virginia’s spectacular mountain scenery. We reserved four nights just outside the park in Luray at Spacious Skies RV Park, excited about three full days to explore the park.
Our first day found us back on a section of the Appalachian Trail. We were curious to see the overnight shelters distance hikers frequent, so we chose a 6-mile out and back trail called Mary’s Rock and Birds Nest 3 Shelter.
It was a rocky, uphill path to Mary’s Rock but the view was worth the climb. We continued on until we reached the shelter known as Birds Nest 3. While it was pretty rustic, it would certainly provide welcome relief to weary hikers eager to escape bad weather. At one end was a large fireplace while a raised sleeping platform stretched across the back. Tucked away at a discrete distance was another treat…an outhouse. I didn’t peek inside assuming it was likely pretty rustic, but figured it would offer a bit of hard-to-come-by privacy after miles of wilderness.
That night the temperatures dropped and the rains began. Hard rains…relentless rains. Perhaps day two was a good time to drive a part of 105-mile Skyline Drive that winds along the spine of the park.
It was obviously not a day for sightseeing, so we went back to our trailer and got the laundry done. The rain and cold continued into the next day. Our Shenandoah National Park visit was a bit of a bust, and we weren’t able to fully appreciate the beautiful campsite we had, but we did have one great hike and a good laugh about our “drive through the park.”
Until 1699, Jamestown was the colonial capital of a newly established Virginia. When the statehouse was lost to fire the decision was made to move the government to the nearby community of Middle Plantation. Quickly renamed Williamsburg, it remained the hub for the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1780 when the government once again moved, this time to the current capital city of Richmond.
Today, a number of original and reconstructed buildings line the streets of Colonial Williamsburg where visitors can wander and learn about life in a newly emerging America. Costumed ”residents” stroll the walkways while artisans demonstrate the various skills that kept the settlement safe and secure.
The earlier Jamestown Settlement takes visitors back to the year 1607 when 104 men and boys arrived in three boats from England, establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America. James Fort was soon built to provide protection but did little to prevent disease and starvation of early settlers. It wasn’t until 1619 that about 90 women were recruited and shipped over to become wives, begin families and to establish a permanent colony.
Heading back to the future, we drove the self-guided tour of Yorktown Battlefield, the site of the last American Revolutionary War battle. Easy to follow signs lead drivers through points of interest for both the American and French allies as well as areas occupied by the ill-fated British troops.
The town of Williamsburg is located in Eastern Virginia and no visit to this region would be complete without stops at these three famed American locales. America’s Historic Triangle is situated between the York River and the James River and connected by the Colonial Parkway, a beautiful 23-mile drive beneath a canopy of trees. Spend a day…or spend a week like we did!