My husband ended up getting Labor Day weekend off so we decided to take a last minute camping trip. Being away from D.C always reminds me how much I want to be away from D.C.; no traffic, no five lane highways and a nice, relaxed pace of life. And of course, plenty of natural beauty and awesome place names. For example, the towns of Montebello and Vesuvius smack dab in the middle of rural Virginia. Very aspirational. Other cool sounding places we passed through include: Goshen Pass, Crabtree Falls, Moonshine Trail, Steele’s Tavern, the Cow Pasture River, Irish Creek Road and Chestnut Sag…it’s like being inside a kitschy mountain mystery novel. So romantic.
Some trip pictures below:
Classic Virginia scenery in Lyndhurst off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mountains add so much depth and beauty to landscapes, in my opinion. End of summer, everything was getting dry and yellow. Our campground was about 3,000 feet up and felt very crisp and fall-like, even during the day.
We started our trip at Blue Mountain Brewery, which was quite busy on a Friday evening. Lots of families, kids and dogs. I’m not much for beer, but their pulled pork BBQ sandwich was good and my husband enjoyed the beer. Down Route 151 between Waynesboro and Amherst there are at least three major breweries.
Sunset at the tiny lake at Montebello Camping and Fishing Resort. This was one of the only campgrounds I found with available tent sites a week before Labor Day.
My darling husband smoking beef and chicken after not catching any fish. Glad to have a partner who actually has some outdoor skills. If it were up to me, we’d be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and baked beans at every meal.
Extremely relaxed fishing at Mills Creek Lake. I did some research and was initially going to take my husband to the Goshen Pass on the Maury River, but I guess it’s been a dry summer because most of the rivers in the area resembled half-rate creeks rather than rushing mountain rivers. I’m not sure what happened to the poor fish.
The Maury River Puddle. Actually, this is slightly deceiving. There was a bit more river a little further in, but not much. I’d say the river ranged from a few inches to a foot deep or so.
Lake Moomaw’s grassy banks. One of the more stunning landscapes I’ve seen in Virginia. This lake, while quite beautiful, is quite out of the way and hidden. On a 75 degree Labor Day Saturday, we only ran into a few dozen people. If this were in Northern Virginia, you wouldn’t be able to find a parking spot. Because we had no cell signal, we somehow ended up off-roading in our Honda Civic for about three miles. But it seemed more like 100 miles. Some advice: Don’t off road in a small, two-wheel drive Sedan, especially on very narrow, twisty, rocky mountain roads. I spent most of the time beseeching the powers that be to help me avoid a flat tire because there is NO ONE around to rescue you. But despite the treacherous journey, I enjoyed kayaking while my husband fished off the banks.
Our brand new inflatable kayak. Like most couples, we got into a fight when it came to following the proper instructions for blowing up the kayak, but in the end we had a great time paddling around the lake. As mentioned above, I have a Honda Civic so an actual kayak is kind of out of the picture, but this folds up into 2×2 making it fairly easy to transport. It felt pretty stable and safe out on the water.
The green waters of Lake Moomaw. The lake was actually created my damming the Jackson River. Dams have become a controversial subject nowadays, but whatever your stance, they did make a nice lake out of it.
Lots of wildflowers this time of year. When I went to Yellowstone last year I was amazed by the diversity of wildflowers along some of the hikes we went on and although Virginia’s are not quite as dramatic and impressive, I was surprised to find some spots overrun with wildflowers and plants.
Murky waters at Mill Creek Lake. Despite the dirty launch area, this is one of the nicer lakes I’ve visited in Virginia. It was small enough to navigate the periphery of the lake in an hour or so, but big enough to feel wild, secluded and unknown.
Mountain views at Mill Creek Lake. We saw maybe a half dozen other boaters and kayakers. Everyone seemed to be catching fish except us.
The beach at Lake Moomaw. This is where most of the people were ran into were hanging out. For such a beautiful place though, you’d expect to find more people!