A Travellerspoint blog

Shenandoah-shut down and shut out ;(

Front Royal, Virginia, September 30- October 3, 2013

sunny 82 °F

Well, we made the long trek (95 miles) to Front Royal and decided to stay for three days. That was our smart decision. Our not-so-smart decision was not to go into the National Park the day we arrived. Since then, of course, the National Parks have been shut down. We have been here a number of previous times and the mountains are usually socked in with fog or smog, but this time it has been bright and sunny and clear, naturally!
Upon speaking to a woman at the Visitor's Center in Front Royal, we made a new plan and went to Shenandoah River State Park. It is a very nice, relatively new, state park right on the river with lots of hiking trails, camping and some biking. We chose to do about 4 miles of hiking and it was very nice. Some beautiful scenery, the river, even deer! We enjoyed our picnic lunch after hiking and then stopped at a couple of overlooks to admire the mountains. There is a little bit of color starting, but not enough for me! After a scenic ride to Luray we tried a local restaurant for dinner, the Market Street Mill. It was recommended by the woman in the Visitor's Center and very good.
View from our campsite in Front Royal

View from our campsite in Front Royal

Shenandoah up close.

Shenandoah up close.

One fork of Shenandoah River.

One fork of Shenandoah River.

Valley and mtns.

Valley and mtns.

Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah Valley

Great dinner spot in Front Royal

Great dinner spot in Front Royal

Never pass up free wi-fi.

Never pass up free wi-fi.


This morning we did our own walking tour of Front Royal and saw some wonderful homes and buildings. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine spent time right here in Front Royal as children. There was also a Battle of Front Royal in the Civil War that took place right on the streets in town. The Confederacy won and the local women were so excited they helped point out hidden Yankees to the southern soldiers.
Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine played here as kids.

Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine played here as kids.

One of the oldest homes

One of the oldest homes

Home purchased by an indentured servant after Civl War.

Home purchased by an indentured servant after Civl War.


Since the possibility of going to the National Park was still nil, we drove to George Washington National Forest Next. We had thought about some more hiking, but ended up just enjoying the drive.
The weather has been beautiful, with temps in the low 80s and abundant sunshine!

Posted by jcorilio 17:25 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Battlefield on bikes

Gettysburg, PA, September 29, 2013

sunny 72 °F

Today was a gorgeous fall day and we took advantage of it. Don and I took our bikes to the National Park and rode around, mostly on the auto tour road. On bikes you don't have to follow the one way roads and we were able to see everything we wanted to without doing the entire 26 mile auto tour. Our ride was 11.4 miles. There were a few things we saw yesterday and wanted to stop at today, so we went to the Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina memorials. The North Carolina one was sculpted by Gutsum Borglum, who did Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. We climbed up the Pennsylvania Memorial and had great views of the battlefield. We also found one from Oneida, NY for the provost guards who guard the general. There are 1800 memorials in the park, so we did not see them all. There is an observation tower that we climbed (yes, I did) and had a wonderful view of the Eisenhower Farm in the distance. A stop at the Leister Farm that became General Meade's headquarters during this time.
Virginia Monument.

Virginia Monument.

Yea, Jeanne climbed all the way up.

Yea, Jeanne climbed all the way up.

Meade's Headquarters

Meade's Headquarters

North Carolina Memorial

North Carolina Memorial

Little Round Top from Devil's Den

Little Round Top from Devil's Den

Devil's Den up close.

Devil's Den up close.


After putting the bikes away we checked out the Hall of Presidents. It was a type of wax museum where each president told us a little about his presidency. It was pretty good. There was also a room full of First Ladies and we were surprised at how many were not the wife of the president!
Obama-Bush-Clinton

Obama-Bush-Clinton

Inaugural Gowns of the First Ladies

Inaugural Gowns of the First Ladies


The weather was perfect, sunny, 72°.

Posted by jcorilio 18:02 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Blue and the Gray

Gettysburg, PA, September 27-28, 2013

sunny 70 °F

Yesterday we all made the long (67 miles) trip to Gettysburg and got set up. The four of us went to the National Park Visitor's Center to check it all out. Wow, was it different from the last time we were here! There is a brand new Visitor's Center with Museum, Cyclorama, Film and Bookstore and it is beautiful. We decided to take the bus tour and added on the Museum, Film and Cyclorama package. The movie was a good one about the battle followed by the cyclorama. What a wonderful representation of the battle it is. The painting was originally done in 1883 and in 2008 it was finished being refurbished and brought to the new Visitor's Center. They added 14 feet of sky and a diorama in the front, so it is completely life like. The show that goes with it is great. The last time we were here there was an electric map, as well, but that has been sold to a private individual. This year was the 150th anniversary of the battle, so much had been done in preparation of the celebrations. Of course, this is where President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, also.
Brand new visitor's center.

Brand new visitor's center.

Cyclorama of Pickett's Charge.

Cyclorama of Pickett's Charge.

Incredible painting!!

Incredible painting!!

Notice the incredible detail!

Notice the incredible detail!

Mr. Lincoln himself.

Mr. Lincoln himself.


Today we took our 2 hour bus tour with a terrific guide and learned so much we thought our heads were going to explode! Luckily that hasn't happened yet. The tour stopped at a number of important places along the route and we really got a feel for the conditions and the battle.
The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest of the war with over 52,000 casualties over the course of the three day event. That is wounded, dead and captured. The largest number of casualties came from New York, perhaps because the largest number of soldiers came from New York. Incredibly, only one civilian was killed in Gettysburg, Jennie Wade, who was hit by a bullet that went through 2 doors before it hit her.
Pickett's Charge was right here. 4000 dead when over.

Pickett's Charge was right here. 4000 dead when over.

Devil's Den

Devil's Den

Largest monument in Gettysburg in honor of PA soldiers

Largest monument in Gettysburg in honor of PA soldiers

Northern Gen Meade's headquarters

Northern Gen Meade's headquarters


After our tour we took the free bus into town and had lunch at the Dobbin House in the Springhouse Tavern downstairs. The Dobbin House was built in 1776 and has had many uses since then. Lunch was delicious and the atmosphere was warm and cozy. The Dobbin House had been a stop on the Underground Railroad, as well.
The Dobbin's Tavern

The Dobbin's Tavern

lunch in 1800's tavern

lunch in 1800's tavern


After lunch we tackled the museum and it, too, was wonderful. The number of artifacts was incredible and there are so many more being carefully preserved in Washington D.C. There was also a section about what happened to the people and the town after it was all over. Imagine a town littered with thousands of human and horse remains, thousands of pounds of manure and summertime heat! They say the stench was unbelievable, along with the flies.
The weather has been pretty nice, cloudy in the mornings and sunny in the afternoons. Today the sky didn't clear up until almost 5 pm though. High 60s, low 70s for temps.

Posted by jcorilio 17:16 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Clip, Clop, Clip, Clop . . .

Ronks, Pennsylvania, September 23-26, 2013

sunny 74 °F

First of all, Happy Birthday to my brother, Steve. I hope it has been a good day!! Any many more :)
We arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country after a 345 mile drive on Monday. On the way we were passed by about a half dozen NASCAR haulers heading to this week's race in Dover, Delaware. Boy, they were hauling!! The ride was pleasantly uneventful and we got set up and relaxed. Our campground is right next to an Amish farm and there are horses and carriages going by on the street all the time. It is such a nice sound. On Tuesday, Linda and Phil arrived and the four of us had lunch at one of our favorite places, the Shady Maple. Yesterday we went to see Hand-Stitched, the musical. It was a comedy centered around an Amish woman teaching a quilting class. We all enjoyed it and then went back to the Shady Maple again!! OY!! One of the best things about driving to the Shady Maple was the beautiful countryside dotted with meticulously maintained Amish farms. Linda and Phil were scheduled to pull out today, but their motorhome wouldn't start. It seems they need a starter and are going to have the work done tomorrow morning. All of us are heading to Gettysburg tomorrow. Tonight, while having dinner, we heard a familiar sound and looked out to see a hot air balloon floating by. It was a beautiful sight against the blue sky and farmhouses.
NASCAR hauler on its way to Dover, De

NASCAR hauler on its way to Dover, De

Rolling hills of Pa Dutch country.

Rolling hills of Pa Dutch country.

Amish farm near Lancaster, Pa

Amish farm near Lancaster, Pa

Balloon over campsite.

Balloon over campsite.

Great evening for balloon ride.

Great evening for balloon ride.


The weather has been perfect, sunny and in the low 70s.

Posted by jcorilio 16:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Family Day!

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, September 22, 2013

sunny 74 °F

We woke up to heavy, heavy rain and dreaded having to pack up and drive in it, but it had stopped by the time we got underway. It was only 75 miles to Sturbridge, Massachusetts where my sister lives and an easy ride. We arrived at noontime, got set up and went to BettyJanes's house. She has her house on the market, so she showed us all the work she has done to it. It it a lovely 3 bedroom Cape Cod and it anyone is interested let me know! BettyJane took us to a great local place for lunch and then to her son, Nick's house. Nick just had hernia surgery and is home for a bit. We got a tour of the house he and his fiancée own and visited for a while. Nick's father, Mike, was there as well. We had a great time with them all. BettyJane brought her dog, Boston, to our camper and we ordered take out for dinner, then sat around catching up. All in all it was a great day with family.
BettyJane and son, Nick.

BettyJane and son, Nick.

Uncle Mike and Uncle Don

Uncle Mike and Uncle Don

BettyJane and Jeanne

BettyJane and Jeanne


The weather turned out to be beautiful, mostly sunny and 76°, perfect. It is supposed to go down to 40° tonight, though.

Posted by jcorilio 15:28 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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