Posts Tagged With: Front Royal VA

FRONT ROYAL, VA. AND A FAMILY VISIT

From Mary’s Desk:

Front Royal has signs downtown for the Civil War Trail that leads to 10 points of interest during Stonewall Jackson’s Campaign in 1862. Plus there are two Civil War Museums to visit, the Belle Boyd Cottage and the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum.  Battlefields and cemeteries are all over the state of Virginia.
With one day to spend, it was my plan to concentrate on a family get-together with Glen and Karen Littlefield.

As it turned out, Front Royal was celebrating crafts and wine and I was celebrating seeing my “adopted” daughter, Karen, after a separation of six years. Glen, their daughter, Sherry Lynn, and granddaughter, pretty Penny, arrived in the new touring car, a Mini Cooper.

Grandpa patiently removed and adjusted the car seat for Penny, who adores her grandfather.

Downtown was mobbed;  the locals were having a good time. The food booths enticed us with crab cakes and chicken on a stick, but no one was hungry just then.

I loved these shirts but knew I’d never wear one.

The Get The Hell Up coffee gets to the point and made us chuckle.

There were games of chance and drawings and a couple of good bands playing music.

The sun was bright but two year old Penny was a trouper all day.

We repaired back to the Moose Club for a long lunch and played catch up with each others lives. The quilts we haven’t finished. The braided rugs we both made.  A dream coming true for them, working toward building a new log house on their lot. The joy of grandchildren. Looking forward to retirement and travel. And, all to soon, we had to say goodbye with regrets that we see the people we love not often enough. We took pictures. Karen and I,  with me squinting against the bright afternoon sun.

Sherry and her mom. Sherry’s sister, Kelly, was unable to make the trip with her two year old son, Adam. Having two so close in age is like babysitting twins, Karen quipped.

Jim took a group shot and then everyone piled into the Mini Cooper and returned to Bristow. For me, visiting with family eclipses everything.

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AMERICA’S BEST ROAD

From Mary’s Desk”

Someone may quarrel about what road is America’s best road, but for Jim and I,  its the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Dr.  Despite the rain and the mists and the haze (partly from air pollution), we hated to descend into the land of stoplights, sirens, traffic and, well, life in the fast lane.

Our last night, at Big Meadows Campground was bathed in light after the rain of the previous day. Wooded campsites, knee deep in wildflowers, spacious and comfortable. Our lovely temporary yard.

On the road, bicyclers and motor cycle enthusiasts were out in numbers. We never heard loud motor cycles. Its as though their machines recognize the wonder of this peaceful drive.

We stopped at the Big Meadow Visitors Center. The Big Meadow is visible outside the window where 11 deer were grazing. When the Shenandoah National Park was under construction, the construction crews and one  CCC Camp set up in this big meadow. This park had five CCC Camps working here. The first CCC Camp was nearby, as an experiment, to see how the project would work. It worked very well and gave some of the mountain people that lived in the park, employment as well. It was a time when hog cholera, the depression, and a horrible drought hit the area and many mountain people appreciated the work though not the eminent domain that eventually took their lands.

Shenandoah was built with more private funds from the states than government funds. A government parks commission, made up of movers and shakers, along with Virginia’s Governor Byrd, got the project moving when they invited President Hoover to visit the area. He was “hooked”. An avid trout fisherman, he loved the area and bought 165 acres and built a cabin on it. The cabin was a four mile hike in and we didn’t visit it although its available to visitors and is part of the park system now.


The Massanutten Resort, built in the late 1800’s, was one of the most popular places for the affluent people to escape the nearby cities where population was swelling and automobiles were everywhere. The first national parks were in the west, where nature was preserved and population was thin. It was a new concept to make a park so near the heavily  populated city areas. The ridge line road  was carved out of these Eastern mountain ranges, yet still preserves nature in all of its glory, quite a feat. The Appalachian Trail was realigned in some places to make way for the motor cars, and what we have is a grand place with over 500 miles in hiking trails, campgrounds, beautiful rivers, waterfalls, overlooks to horizon to horizon mountain views, and peace-giving nature not far from the cities.

We saw part of the Appalachian Trail and many backpack laden walkers using this great resource. The beauty of it is that you can walk it all or just a short part of it on a weekend.

We were saddened to see it come to an end. Back to the world of traffic and noise and all those things we can’t do without. A laundromat, a wonderful Martin’s Grocery Store in Front Royal where you can buy already prepared foods, and good bread. And, best of all, a visit with Glen and Karen Littlefield, with new grandbabies, I’ve never met.

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