A couple of years ago we discovered Augusta Springs Wetlands Park, but with ice and snow on the ground at the time, we knew we’d have to come back another time. On Sunday morning, August 27th, we decided to visit again.
We got on Rt. 254 in Waynesboro since it offered an alternate, new-to-us route to Staunton, and ultimately to the park. Any time we can stay off of main roads and interstates–and have pretty, rural views–is a plus. 🙂
As we drove through Staunton, I realized we were going right by Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room, and I impulsively turned into the driveway. Why, you might wonder? Because this property–950 West Beverley Street in Staunton, VA–used to belong to my great-great grandfather, John P. Koontz.
I knew the cottage wasn’t original, but I wondered if the owners had any information about the history of the land and former buildings. We were told that the cottage had been built about 10 years ago on a site that had become sort of a city dump (!), and they let us wander around a bit on the site. At first I thought one of these houses (at the back of the property beyond a gate) might have been my great-grandfather’s house, but then I realized they were on Anderson Street and not on West Beverley.
This building, however, which is directly behind the tea house, was intriguing. Perhaps it’s original, as it’s at the very back of the property against a steep hill.
According to a deed that I found in the Staunton courthouse, the Koontz property (a house and several buildings) was sold out of the family in 1907, two years after John P. Koontz’s death. I’ll have to see if I can find plats, tax records, and other information about 950 West Beverley Street the next time I go to the courthouse.
We bought some scones at the tea house and thanked the owner for his time and information. We then continued on towards the park, which is about 20 miles south of Staunton on Rt. 42.
Before exploring the park, we decided to sample the scones–which were delicious! We also enjoyed the messages that were printed on the underside of the jam lids. 🙂
After cleaning up, we looked at a map at the beginning of the walk.
The trail is an easy 2/3 of a mile loop that passes through a variety of habitats. There were so many flowers and so many colors!
We were in a small meadow at first, and then the trail led through some woods before crossing into a much larger and somewhat marshy meadow.
As we walked on the boardwalk over the meadow, we could see the most amazing tree to our right. Wayne said it looked exactly like something Bob Ross would have painted!
When we re-entered the woods on the other side of the meadow, Wayne noticed some odd scratch marks on a bridge. Made by a raccoon, maybe?
Soon we could see the “Bob Ross Tree” again, and we realized it was on sort of an island in the middle of a pond. Interesting that all of the bushes around the base of the tree were the same color! Does anyone know what type of tree this is?
We were delighted to see some wildlife at the pond. In addition to the ducks, goldfinches, and other birds, a buck was at the far edge, eating some sort of vegetation that he was pulling up out of the water.
What a pretty place! We opted to just do the “wetlands” trail, but there’s a shorter upland trail that leads to the spring house. Maybe next time. 🙂
It was still early in the afternoon, so we decided to extend our day trip by driving further south down Rt. 42 to Goshen, VA. There we turned east on Rt. 39, which runs along the Maury River.
The river was about as low as we’d ever seen it in Goshen Pass.
Blessing the waters of the Maury River:
After sitting by the river for a while, we drove another mile or so down the road to the overlook above the Maury River. Sometimes we’ve seen kayakers coming through the rapids here, but with the water level so low, I’m sure it would be hard to navigate now due to all the rocks.
As we started for home, we opted to head north on Rt. 252, which is also called the Brownsburg Turnpike. This scenic byway goes through the little towns of Brownsburg, Newport, and Middlebrook, and while we’ve never stopped in the towns, this is one incredibly beautiful drive!
Below is a link to an interactive map that shows our route.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day, and we hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with us through our pictures. 🙂