After spending a couple of days navigating the hub-and-spoke madness that is Washington DC, the clean lines of Skyline Drive making its way through the cool, green Shenandoah National Park was a welcome break. It was the end of May, we were there with my parents, making the most of what was left of Spring. The 105-mile-long drive hugs the pinnacle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachians, and is voted one of the best drives in the country.
Most people would say that it takes “about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day.” But it took us two whole days. We entered Shenandoah National Park at Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340 (there are four entrances, and exits to the park), and after traversing about half of the road, we stayed the night at the Big Meadows Lodge, a nice enough place inside the park.
So why did it take us so long to drive a mere 105 miles? It is because we didn’t rush. We had enough of that in the city. We meandered down the road at a snail-like speed of 25 miles per hour, taking our time at each lookout point. You will find details about the park’s geology, little tidbits about the natural habitat and excerpts from historical battles posted every few miles. So we allowed ourselves the time to not just see, but assimilate. The moss-green Shenandoah River, a passing deer, a better view of the Mountain Laurels, an adventurous fox crossing the road – all good reasons to kill the engine and get out of the car. There are some pretty good hikes too, and two peaks that deserve a shout-out are Stony Man and Hawksbill.
Here are some pictures from the trip: