North on the Skyline Drive – March 25, 2017

We both had plenty of things to do at home, but given a very warm, overcast Saturday–and with rain in the forecast for Sunday–we decided to go somewhere.  A return trip to Westmoreland State Park or Smith Mountain Lake weren’t totally off the table at first, but finally we decided to drive out Rt. 810, get on Rt. 33 West, and go up the mountain to the Skyline Drive.

This plan almost worked, but about 10 miles into the trip on Rt. 810, we saw a sign announcing that the road was closed.  Really?  Okay, fine.  We backtracked, took some alternate routes, and still saw interesting things along the way.

The Skyline Drive runs for 105 miles (north/south) in Shenandoah National Park along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We got on the Drive at Swift Run Gap, and we were surprised by the amount of cars getting on at this entrance.  Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of traffic, but many of the overlooks and hiking areas were quite busy.  What can we say?  It’s nice that people enjoy these spectacular views!

  

When we got to Big Meadows, we checked out the campground.  There were a lot of tents and a fair amounts of trailers and RVs, with more coming in while we were there.  I think this was the opening weekend for Big Meadows, but other campgrounds along the Drive are still closed.

THIS site in the campground was rather interesting…. It appeared to be right on the edge of a steep drop-off, so I sure hope that campers use their flashlights or lanterns when they’re stoking the campfire or going to their picnic table!

We went to the visitor’s center, and as we were walking around outside, I kept hearing a Bluebird.  I was finally able to spot it in a distant tree and get a half-decent picture.

After leaving Big Meadows, we continued north on the Skyline Drive, stopping frequently to take pictures.  The first picture below is the west side of Old Rag Mountain, and the second picture is of Crescent Rock.

  

At the Crescent Rock overlook:

  

Because the Skyline Drive is on the very top of a mountain, there are views to the west of the Shenandoah Valley, as well as to the east.  Both directions offer nice views.

 

There’s a short tunnel a little further north, as well as an overlook.  It was a nice spot to pause for a bit and count our blessings.

  

At Thornton Gap, we turned off the Skyline Drive and headed towards Sperryville.  If you get dizzy easily, you might not want to watch this video! 🙂

As we approached the town of Sperryville, we saw a “LOVE” trailer, and then a gift shop offering quilts.

  

A quilt outlet?  I wasn’t sure what that meant, so we stopped to check it out.  The prices were very, very reasonable, but I guess I was expecting locally made quilts and accessories.  Some were really quite pretty, but as a “sewist,” it was kind of disheartening to realize that there’s no way I could make/sell a quilt or quilted purse for the prices I saw on the ones offered in the shop.  Since I’d have that much just in materials, I’m not sure who makes their products, which are advertised as handmade.  After we left, though, I was kind of sorry that I didn’t buy one of the purses I liked in the shop.  Oh well, maybe NEXT trip! 🙂

After passing through the town of Sperryville, we drove towards Madison, VA on Rt. 231.  To our surprise, we were treated to views of the east side of Old Rag Mountain.  We’d seen the west side from the Skyline Drive.

  

We thoroughly enjoy our drives through the rural Virginia countryside, and we hope that you enjoy our travel adventures, too. 🙂

Interactive Trip Map:

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