Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Virginia Creeper Trail Revisited



Several years ago our family visited The Virginia Creeper Trail, in Abingdon Virginia.  I blogged about it here.  I absolutely loved that trip and for years wanted to go back.  Not only did I want to go back because it was beautiful and exciting but also because my oldest child wasn't able to go with us.  We came home telling him about how much fun it was but simply telling someone doesn't do it justice.  For years he promised to go back with me on a special son/mom trip.  I figured with him graduating and getting ready for collage that was just a pipe dream....so I was more that surprised when he said he wanted to take "our trip" following graduation instead of the traditional week at the beach with his friends. 

 
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34 mile rail to trail in Abingdon Virginia.  Both private and federal land make up the trail that passes straight through the town of Damascus.  And that is where Tommy and I started our adventure. 
 
About half way along the trail, Damascus hosts several bike/shuttle/adventure shops that can help you get out on the trail.  They aren't necessary though.  You can just hop on the trail and take off.  But depending on which direction you are going you might have a pretty big hill to climb!  What the shuttles do is allow you to be dropped off at the peak of the trail so that all you have to do is coast down.  And by coast I mean zoom!  Don't have a bike?  Don't worry.  Most of the shops rent bikes along with offering the shuttles.  We used Adventure Damascus for our shuttle-for the two of us it was $28 to be carried up to the top at Whitetop Station.  From there we coasted (zoomed) down back to Damascus.  I think, don't hold me to it, that it's 17 miles back down to the town. 
 


 
 



 
Most of the trail runs along the Whitetop Laurel River.  You cross 17 (again don't hold me to that number) trestles before getting back to Damascus from Whitetop Station.  The Appalachian Trail intersects with the trail at least once that we know of.  Tommy and I stopped biking for a while to hike a small portion of the AT.  I think both Tommy and I grinned the entire way down we were biking. 
 
 
After about 3 hours of biking/hiking we were back in town.  It occurred to both of us that it was so much fun we should get a shuttle right back up to the top and do it again!  But we had other adventures to get to!  I'll post more on that soon!
 
It was easily one of my favorite trips.  Thank you Tommy for keeping that promise. 
 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Weston Plantation

 
Like music?  Like being outdoors?  Like free things?  Well then....The Historic Hopewell Foundation has put together just the right thing for you.  For the next three Sunday afternoons you can visit Weston Manor, in Hopewell, and listen to music from local groups....all for free...while sitting outside.  There have already been three this summer and we were able to make it out to two of them.  We brought our own lawn chairs and spent a couple hours relaxing by the Appomattox River.  
 

 
 
 
We came out to this same concert series last year for one of the concerts and enjoyed it so I was looking out for it again this year.  The outdoor concerts are from 4-6 Sunday afternoons.  If you visit the Historic Hopewell Foundations link above you can find out what group/band will be playing each week.  You can take a cooler or picnic but if you choose not too they also have food and drinks for sale there on site.   


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Discoveries Part II

So last week I told you about a "new to me" park I discovered locally in Colonial Heights.  And I mentioned that Roslyn Park is part of a larger concept...that concept is one that The FOLAR are slowly but surely putting in place.  I accidentally stumbled across the website for the group and discovered I have an entire trail system right in my back yard to explore.  Literally, as soon as I had a free hour to myself I went off to check things out.

In Dinwiddie

Appomattox Riverside Park in Dinwiddie County


Appomattox Riverside Park


In Petersburg


Between Campbell's Bridge in Petersburg and Appomattox Riverside Park in Dinwiddie

Between Campbell's Bridge in Petersburg and Appomattox Park in Dinwiddie


In Hopewell/Prince George


Appomattox River Regional Park in Prince George


Appomattox River Regional Park in Prince George County


City Park Location in Hopewell


The individual parks are all along the Lower Appomattox River and cover ground from Dinwiddie County to Hopewell City.  The FOLAR website indicated the that it would eventually be a 22.8 mile long trail.  That made me one very happy girl!!!!  With what is already in place the Busy Bryant's have logged some serious hiking/site seeing time already. Can't wait to discover more.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

New Discoveries

Almost nothing gets me as excited as finding a new place to discover.  When that new place is right under my nose and happens to be totally awesome I can barely contain myself.  About a month ago I was driving through the town of Colonial Heights when I realized a sign, that I've probably seen a dozen times, said there was a park close by.  I had a few free minutes on my hands and decided to check it out.  Sure enough I had just stumbled onto Roslyn Landing Park


Right along the Appomattox River, it has a walking/biking trail, a boat dock and a picnic pavilion.  The park is part of a bigger plan to create a greenway that follows the river through the city.  The entire span is not finished but currently there is about 1.5 miles worth of paved walkway along the river starting in Roslyn Park. 




I'm not even going to pretend that I didn't act like a kid in a candy store when I realized what we had found.  I know to a lot of people a trail is nothing exciting...but then again they aren't the kind of people to plan an entire trip around hiking a trail.  There is more to this story (an even larger concept for the trail) but that will have to wait.  Happy hiking.

 







Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wine Weekend

Mark has had this idea for about a year that we should do a "wine crawl" that involved some of our more local wineries.  And by local I mean still a few counties away in New Kent.  But the few he had in mind are pretty close to each other and could easily be visited in an afternoon.  He wanted us to work our way east so that we would be able to make a short drive to Williamsburg.  Then we could stay the night and visit the one winery there and make our way home.  The only thing we were waiting on was a good time to do it.  Last weekend was the perfect time.

We started at New Kent Winery.  We've been here several times, it never disappoints.  I'll actually be back to visit them on Valentine's Day.  They host a 10K...Race for the Chocolate :-)  How could I say no?  This winery is just off of I64 in New Kent County.


Our second stop was just a 10 minute drive east to Saude Creek Vineyards. This is another one we have visited several times.  They usually have music out on the porch in the summers and a fire going in either the fireplace or fire pit.  This particular day they had music inside and more people than I've ever seen at the tasting bar.




Our third stop was to a winery we had only visited once before.  It's newer to the area but becoming a fast favorite,  Gauthier Vineyard.  It was just a short drive, maybe 10 minutes, away from Saude Creek. 



We had the best time at Gauthier.  Our wine host was exceptional and we literally stayed until they were closing up.  

Knowing this was an over night trip I had already made reservations in Williamsburg for us at the Comfort Inn Historic Area Williamsburg.  The pictures on the website looked pretty good and the price was right at $39, but I have notoriously picked places that don't end up being the deal you think you are getting. This time I was surprised!  The entire place was clean, the bed was awesome, the location was easy to get to with several options for food right around it.  I think the low price has more to do with it being off season for the area.  

After getting a good night sleep we made our last stop on the wine crawl.  Another winery that we recently visited, Williamsburg Winery. This particular day we woke up to a chilly rain.  So I didn't take pictures of the winery itself in fear of looking like a drowned rat.  When we left the rain had let up and fog was coming in...so I grabbed a few pictures of the vineyards.




A few friends joined us for the trip so it made it all that more special.  I always say that yes I love my wine but more than anything I love the memories we make visiting the wineries with friends and family.