Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

Woodson’s Mill in Virginia keeps tradition alive

May 1, 2013

Diane cycles in the Tye River valley in rural Nelson County

While we were exploring the Brew Ridge Trail south of Charlottesville, Va., for a magazine article, we took a day off to bicycle. Lina created one of her trademark custom loops using Google maps and our collection of trusted DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteers. We did a 42-mile loop around rural Nelson County, and the scenery was just gorgeous. Lina mostly kept us in valleys and along rivers, though we did have a few challenging climbs and some long stretches on dirt roads (surprise!).

Woodson’s Mill in Lowesville, VA

Woodson’s Mill in Lowesville, VA

One of the many delightful sights we happened upon was Woodson’s Mill in Lowesville, a village that used to be an important stop along the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway. The building was so impressive that I stopped to take a look, and of course Lina snapped several photos. The gate was locked, so we didn’t poke around. Later, I was delighted to read on the mill’s website that it has been owned by only a small handful of families since its construction in 1794 and is operational! Read the full history here.

More info from the website: The late J. Gill Brockenbrough Jr. purchased the property in the early 1980s and started a massive restoration effort there. The mill served as the backdrop to son Will Brockenbrough’s childhood and formed his appreciation for history, architecture, and historic preservation. Will and his wife, Sarah, reopened the mill and now run it. How wonderful!

All-natural flours and meals are made at Woodson’s Mill

All-natural flours and meals are made at Woodson’s Mill (photo by Woodson’s Mill, LLC)

They make all-natural flours and meals in small batches, by hand, with stone-ground grains. All the power for grinding comes from the Piney River’s water, which runs the Mill’s overshot wheel and hand-dressed millstones, making the entire process renewable and sustainable.

And now, for the best part: Woodson’s Mill is open May 25 through October 26 on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. If you can’t go then, contact the owners to see if you can make an appointment for a different time. Or, if you can’t make it to the Mill Store, their products are available online and at regional retailers.

What a happy story, and it’s not over yet!


Eat your yard, or the nearby farm

April 27, 2010

Two North Carolina women I admire have recently come out with local-foods books I admire. Buy them! (please…)

Nan Chase eats crabapples from her yard (photo Rebecca D'Angelo)

“Eat Your Yard!” by Nan K. Chase is uber-local. It’s about trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers for your yard and your kitchen, with recipes, of course. The book includes information on 35 plants that offer the best of landscape and culinary uses. I’m envious of her color photos (and great title)! It covers fruit trees, such as crabapple and quince; nut trees, including chestnut and almond; and covering herbs and vines, such as bay, grape, lavender, mint and thyme. And don’t forget the edible wildflowers. Nan also gives tips on canning, pickling, dehydrating, freezing, juicing, and fermenting.

I have a soft spot for Nan. When I was researching my book and she lived in Boone (she’s in Asheville now), I wrote asking if she knew anyone with an extra room I could stay with for a few days. (We’d never met or talked.) She said yes, and offered up her own house! That was incredibly hospitable, and she and her husband, Saul, even included me in their dinner plans. Thank you both again!

The book is published by Gibbs Smith and costs $20. Nan is touring the country to promote it. Her next gig is at the wonderful Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC. Check out her schedule here.

Elizabeth Wiegand grew up in a farming family in central North Carolina

The other book I want to rave about is “The New Blue Ridge Cookbook” by Elizabeth Wiegard (WEE-gard), who lives in Raleigh. This is the mountain version of her “The Outer Banks Cookbook.” The book’s tagline is “Authentic Recipes from Virginia’s Highlands to North Carolina’s Mountains.” Instead of focusing on the usual traditional Appalachian cooking, “Blue Ridge” brings to light the new food movements — Slow Food, locavores, farm-to-table restaurants, and the like. So while Beth explores culinary history she also takes a fresh look at local. Her recipes come from farmers, chefs, and home cooks. The sidebars are as interesting as the recipes, and include farmer profiles and such ditties as the history of the sweet potato and NC truffle growing. Alas, her photos are black and white, as mine will be, but they’re still quite lovely.

I first learned about Beth and her book when I was traveling in the NC mountains last summer researching my farm-travel guidebook, and the news struck fear in my heart because I kept hearing that someone else was writing the same book I was. Say it ain’t so! I finally tracked down her name and contacted her and was relieved to learn that hers was a farm-focused cookbook and mine was a farm-focused travel guide. Still, we have a bit of overlap, especially in our sidebars. I can only attribute that to the “great-minds-think-alike” syndrome. We’ve since met for lunch and enjoyed comparing notes about writing, farmers, and food.

Beth’s book is published by Globe Pequot Press and costs $19. She, too, is doing readings, and writes a fun, informative and beautifully photographed blog called Carolina Foodie. Go to “events” on this page for upcoming readings. For you local readers, she’ll be at A Southern Season on April 30, McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village on May 2, and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh on May 7. (Dang if I’m not going to be out of town for every one of those.)

I hope you’ll support these wonderful writing women and their equally wonderful books. Both would make perfect Mother’s Day (May 9) gifts, come to think of it.

A joy ride, complete with pain

July 23, 2009
See why it's called Blue Ridge?

See why it's called Blue Ridge?

At 74 years old, our beloved Blue Ridge Parkway has its problems. But it is still a glorious 469-mile joy ride along the Appalachian Mountains, from Virginia to North Carolina. Next year, during the 75th-anniversary hoopla, there will be the usual long list of media events and celebrations, but the best way to appreciate the Parkway is in silence from an overlook or during a hike or, for Wessel and me, a bike ride.

Diane races downhill during a ride in 2007

Diane zips downhill during a ride in 2007

Recently, near Waynesville, N.C., we took our 10th ride together on the Parkway, since moving to North Carolina in 2003. (But don’t forget, y’all, that I’m a native, which is why I can say y’all.) 

Though Wessel and I are woefully out of shape, with me sitting on my derriere in the car half the summer while researching “Farm Fresh North Carolina,” we rose to the challenge. And I do mean rose. During only 20 miles of riding, we climbed a total of 2,900 feet!

View on parkway from the Waterrock Knob Overlook

View of Parkway from Waterrock Knob

I’m glad I hadn’t known that ahead of time. The only thing I insisted on, because I did know from our elevation map in “Bicycling the Blue Ridge” that this would be a grueling-up and screaming-down ride, with no in between, was that we would end the ride going down. That’s just a little obsession of mine.

Wessel at the Waterrock Knob Overlook

Wessel at the Waterrock Knob Overlook

It was July Fourth, and the weather was perfect. Surprisingly, the car traffic was very low. As always, the “other” biker traffic was quite high, as the Parkway is a magnet for motorcyclists. Only at the end of our ride did we see other bicyclists. The highest peak we reached was Waterrock Knob Overlook at 5,718 ft (milepost 451.2). We could have walked half a mile to the summit lookout, at 6,400 feet, but we didn’t want to tax our legs even further.

The Parkway is famous for native flame azalea

The flame azalea is native to this region

While air pollution has diminished the views from the lookouts by some 80 percent since the Parkway first opened, they’re still something to behold. The summer haze, as well as the pollution, gives the mountain ranges a dreamy gray/blue wash. Sadly, some of the overlooks have been closed because they’re totally overgrown, one of the many problems brought on by the park’s $250 million maintenance backlog. (Some of that will be erased by the $14 million in federal stimulus money approved for the Parkway this year.)

Wessel and I still have a lot of ground to cover on the Parkway. We’ve ridden 274 miles on it, but that’s always up and back, so we’ve explored only 137 miles on our bikes. Here’s to the next 332!


She can’t believe it’s accessible

June 30, 2009

I share my blog today with Candy B. Harrington, a fellow member in the Society of American Travel Writers, who is an expert on accessible travel, from people using wheelchairs to slow walkers. Her slogan: Have Disability, Will Travel, and she’s giving us a Top-10 list of little-known accessible places. I haven’t met Candy, who writes from California, but for years I’ve been impressed with her work and uncompromising dedication to her topic. In the world of travel, staying uncompromised is a major feat. She recently released the third edition of her classic book “Barrier Free Travel: A Nuts And Bolts Guide For Wheelers And Slow Walkers.” From the book site, you can check out Candy’s own blog. Photos (except Lake Powell)  are by Mr. Candy, aka Charles Pannell.

Heeeeeere’s, Candy:

Candy Harrington with her favorite chicken Agnes

Candy Harrington with her favorite chicken, Agnes

During the past 16 years I’ve traveled the world in search of appropriate vacation choices for my readers. Although they have a wide range of tastes, preferences and budgets, my readers all have one thing in common; for the most part they are physically disabled — slow walkers to wheelchair-users.

Over the course of my travels I’ve seen a good number of accessible hotels, attractions, resorts, spas and even bus tours, but I’ve also discovered some unconventional accessible finds along the way. These are the things, that really made me step back and say “Wow, I can’t believe they made that accessible.” And although I keep adding to my wow list, here’s my current Top 10.

View of Yaquina Head Tidepools

Walkways lead to Yaquina Head tide pools

Yaquina Head tide pools

Located just three miles north of Newport, Ore., this Bureau of Reclamation project features barrier-free access on paved walkways down into the Quarry Cove tidepool area.


Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

These gardens in Richmond, Va.,  feature a cool treehouse with ramped access to all areas. Think Swiss Family Robinson on steroids.

White Water Rafting

In Northern California, everyone can enjoy white water rafting on the American River, thanks to the folks at Environmental Traveling Companions. This San Francisco based company can accommodate wheelchair-users (even folks who use a power wheelchair) and slow walkers on their exciting white water rating trips.

Aerial view from Lake Powell (photo Wikipedia)

Lake Powell (photo Wikipedia)

Houseboating on Lake Powell

Forever Resorts  offers a wheelchair-accessible houseboat on Lake Powell, in Utah. You can rent the houseboat for a few days or a week. The accessible model features level boarding, a bathroom with a roll-in shower, an oversized master suite complete with a portable hoyer lift, elevator access to the top deck and a beach wheelchair.

C&O Canal Boat

Docked at the Great Falls Tavern, near Potomac, Md., the replica Charles F. Mercer canal boat features incline lift access to both decks and an accessible restroom on the lower deck. The canal boat is pulled along by mules and offers passengers a colorful look at 1870s canal life.

Baja Sport Fishing

Larry Cooper designed his En Caliente  sport fishing boat with access in mind. Docked in Los Barriles, Mexico, it features removable lockdowns, hoist access to the flying bridge and custom tackle designed for anglers of all abilities.

Wheelchair-accessible back country lean-tos at John Dillon Park

Accessible lean-tos at John Dillon Park

Adirondack Camping

John Dillon Park , near Tupper Lake in upstate New York, features wheelchair-accessible back country lean-tos.

African Safari

Endeavour Safaris  offers wheelchair-accessible safaris in a ramped Toyota Landcruiser, through Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.

In a Cavern

Billed as America’s only ride through caverns, Fantastic Caverns  features ramped access to their tour vehicles. Just roll-on and enjoy this cool site near Springfield, Mo.

Bungy Jumping

If you want a little adventure, the folks at Taupo Bungy  in New Zealand can accommodate you. It takes very little adaptive equipment, but a whole lot of guts!

Thanks, Candy. The world of travel (and beyond) needs you and your advocacy work!

America’s most famous farm welcomes you

May 20, 2009
Polyface is located in Swoope, VA nearby Staunton

Polyface is near Staunton, Va., in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley

UPDATE for 2010: There’s now a tour fee of $10.50 for everyone age 13 and higher, and now more tours. Well worth it!

Want a guided tour of, arguably, the country’s most famous farm? Well, it’s yours for the asking, and for free if you plan way ahead.

Many folks have heard of Polyface Farm, run by the Salatin family. Patriarch Joel has become a broc star (get it? though, OK, it’s not a produce farm) after being one of the featured farms in Michael Pollan in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” a critique of industrial farming. Polyface will be known even further and wider with the release next month of the documentary “Food, Inc,” which paints Joel, once again, as a prophet among demons.

Daniel Salatin welcomes visitors on the farm tour

Daniel Salatin welcomes visitors to Polyface's first free farm tour of 2009

While I’d read much about Joel and Polyface, only when I went deep into the farm’s website did I see that, along with fee-based tours, they give monthly freebies. Also, visitors are welcome to the farm any day but Sunday to do a free self-guided tour. But that’s not half as fun as being escorted by a Salatin and sharing the experience with 80 or so other devotees, including other farmers, groups of college students, and just regular curious folks like us.

Childhood friend Cindy Quick (right) joined Diane on the farm tour

Childhood friend Cindy Quick Wilson (right) joined Diane on the farm tour

I thought the tour would make a great story, and was lucky enough to snag a Washington Post assignment. I made reservations months in advance. We were joined by my childhood friend Cindy Quick Wilson, who lives near Roanoke. That was a very awesome addition to the day. I used to stay on her family’s farm as a young ‘un.

Well, here’s the bad news. After my article was published, on May 6, the free tours for the rest of 2009 filled up. Sorry folks! But if you make a note and in January sign up for a 2010 tour, you’re in!

80-some visitors enjoyed a free farm tou

Some 80 visitors joined the tour

Our tour, the first of the season, on March 20, was led by Joel’s son, Daniel, who was totally engaging and almost as animated as his father is. Joel usually leads these tours himself, but he was off on one of his many speaking engagements. We went from the open-bottom broiler cages to the pig-aerators (exciting!), then to see grass-fed cows in pasture, and, finally, to the brooder (chicken nursery), teeming with 3,000 adorable day-old peeping chicks. In three weeks, these broilers would be out in the fields. Five weeks later, they’d be ready for slaughter. Let us not forget where we are.

If you want to read the Post story, it’s here. Tour sign-up and area travel info is here. If you’re itching to see a  farm photo slideshow by my wonderful photographer and partner Wessel Kok, that’s here (along with a few Staunton photos and what-not). And if you want to tell us about other great farm tours, please do so! If they’re in North Carolina, I’ll consider them for my upcoming guidebook, Farm Fresh North Carolina.  Keep our farms alive!


Sunsets: solar energy for the eyes

March 6, 2009

There are fans and critics of daylight saving time, which starts THIS weekend in the United States (go here to see DST rules worldwide), but I think we can agree that pretty much everyone loves a good sunset.  Here are a few of our favorites, all taken by Wessel:

The sky is on fire over Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Sky is on fire over the lesser-known side of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Midnight sun as seen on the Lofoten, Norway

The ever-blazing midnight sun as seen on Norway's Lofoten islands in June

Sunset over marshy area connecten with Lake Gaston, VA

Diane's favorite colors combine in this stunning show near Lake Gaston, Va.

Heron during a PS sunset experience in Florida

A heron poses in the afterglow of a sunset over Cayo Costa State Park, Fla.

Roxy outshines her celestial competitor

Roxy outshines her celestial backdrop at Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.

Talking turkey (they can hear you)

November 24, 2008
Heritage breed turkeys at Indigo Farm, a Bourbon Red flanked by two Narragansett turkeys

Heritage breed turkeys at Indigo Farm; a Bourbon Red is flanked by two Narragansett turkeys

I’ve seen plenty of wild turkeys in my day, but I’d never been around farm turkeys much until this year. Now that I’m visiting farms across North Carolina for my travel guide “Farm Fresh North Carolina,” I’ve visited several that have turkeys either for fun or for food.

Here’s what I’ve learned. Turkeys are just dang cute. Beautiful, really. They’re curious and very social, with each other and humans. At night, they keep away from predators by roosting in trees. Both their feathers and crazy colorful neck waddles are lovely. (Now if only human “turkey necks” were so attractive…)

Headshot of a Narragansett turkey a heritage breed

That's quite a neck on this Narragansett

Turkeys flocked around Wessel and me in August when we visited Indigo Farms in Calabash, N.C., which is near the coast and the South Carolina state line. Owner Sam Bellamy gave us a tour of his organic family farm, which includes a small flock of heritage turkeys. Heritage breeds are old-time ones that are threatened because of factory farming standardization.

Sam has two breeds, Bourbon Reds, turkeys named for Bourbon County in Kentucky’s Bluegrass region where they originated in the late 1800s, and Narragansett turkeys, named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, where the variety was developed. Those descend from a cross between native Eastern Wild turkeys and the domestic turkeys brought to America by English and European colonists beginning in the 1600s. Now that’s what you’d call a blue-blood turkey. Sam says turkeys have the best hearing and eyesight of all farm animals, but I can’t vouch for that.

Group of young turkeys at Goat Lady Dairy Farm in Climax, NC

A rafter of young turkeys at Goat Lady Dairy in Climax, NC

In visiting all these farms, I have to say that I’m having a harder time justifying my carnivorous ways. Life was so much easier when I had the blinders on. I am still eating meat, but less of it and much of what I do eat now is from local farmers. But, still, could I eat a turkey I gotten to know up close and personal? I doubt it. So I’m still wearing those blinders.

Now’s a good time to tout the wonderful advocacy and education group Farm Sanctuary, which “opposes the slaughter, consumption and commodification of farm animals.” They have an Adopt-a-Turkey program that promotes raising money for saving turkeys instead of spending money on eating them.

Sticker of HokieBird on the car of a Hokie fan

HokieBird sticker on fan's car

On a lighter note, I didn’t mention that I was raised by a Gobbler. My Dad attended Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., where the football team is called the Gobblers (also the Hokies) and the mascot is a giant turkey. During my childhood years, the 1960s and ’70s, the stadium scoreboard had a giant turkey that would light up and gobble loudly whenever Tech scored. Oh how I loved that! Someone needs to tell me why they got rid of that wonderful contraption. Dad (who died in 1997) was such a rabid Hokie fan that when we lived in North Carolina and then Florida, he still subscribed to the Blacksburg newspaper. (No Internet in those days, of course.)

OK, enough turkey talk. Happy Thanksgiving week, all!

200,000 miles and counting for my Honda

September 29, 2008

Diane's Honda turned 200,000 miles

Hooray for my wonderful 1994 Honda Civic DX! The little two-door hatchback turned 200,000 miles yesterday! The momentous event occurred around 6 p.m. on Route 4 in Virginia near the Kerr Dam and Reservoir. We were returning home from a visit to our four acres on a creek in Virginia, affectionately and also appropriately dubbed Chiggerville.

We were prepared, having brought a bottle of chilled champagne and four glasses. We pulled over in a little clearing and had a quickie party, even pouring a bit of champagne on the Honda.

Worries about missing the big turnover

Wessel and I had been worried we’d miss the big turnover because we are loaning the car to our Dutch/Friesian visitors, Wessel’s longtime friend Liekle and his brother Tjits, while they explore the NC mountains this week. From our calculations two weeks ago we were convinced the Honda would hit 200,000 with them, so we were doubly excited that we were present for the event.

Toast to Diane's Honda Civic

Toast to Diane`s Honda Civic

While hybrids are great, the Honda ranks up there in fuel efficiency. Plus I haven’t wasted energy on new materials to assemble a new car in 14 years, and the car still gets about 32 mpg in the city and 36 mph on the highway.

While I have named cars in the past, for some reason I never named this Honda, which I bought for $10,000 at Weymouth Honda, south of Boston. But it has served me well. My last Civic (“Hokie,” for its origins in Blacksburg, Va.) died at the early age of 120,000 miles. Most of this Honda’s miles have been for fun or errands, as I’ve always, on purpose, had a short commute to work. Wessel now takes the car to work, about 20 miles roundtrip. I’ll be putting a fair number of miles on the car during the next year, while crisscrossing the state to research my book, “Farm Fresh North Carolina.

Diane celebrates milestone with champagne

Diane celebrates milestone with champagne

I’ve had some great road trips in this car, especially when I load it to the gills (grills?) for car camping. The Honda and I have driven up and down the East Coast and halfway across the country, but not to the West Coast. I’ve had three bicycles on the back, and three dogs inside. I’ve also had some very romantic moments, with Wessel and a few who preceded him.

Diane and Wessel somewhat successfully attempt to "spell" 200 while holding Sabrina and Roxy and not breaking champagne glasses

Diane and Wessel somewhat successfully attempt to `spell` 200 while holding Sabrina and Roxy and not breaking champagne glasses

Honda and I have had our share of dramatic moments, too, from getting caught in a snowdrift in the White Mountains in New Hampshire to hydroplaning on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Mass., and ended up sitting on the median – uninjured and facing the wrong direction. We’ve gotten only one speeding ticket (my only one ever, when returning from the NC coast four years ago.) We’ve lost a couple radios and wallets to thieves in Boston, and a suitcase (of a houseguest!) to vagrant neighbors in Durham. We’ve never run out of gas, but we have broken down on a few occasions. Of course I’ve locked myself out of the car several times (who hasn’t?) and left the lights on, running down the battery (again, don’t we all?).

I hope we still have many happy years together. When our time comes to say so long, I’m thinking Honda Fit; a maybe a hybrid, if the price drops; or even more exciting, a plug-in hybrid. But for now, I’m very happy with my little Honda Civic. Pass the champagne, please.

New River’s old-timey pleasures in Appalachia

August 27, 2008
New River Trail State Park (Click to ENLARGE)

New River Trail State Park (Click to ENLARGE)

For years I’d been hearing about the New River Trail State Park, the highlight of which is a 57-mile-long crushed-gravel rail trail that for 39 miles parallels the New River in southern Virginia. Wessel and I had a chance to finally check it out last weekend when we were in the mountains of northwest North Carolina doing research for my book “Farm Fresh North Carolina.” (Despite its name, the New River is considered by some geologists to be one of the oldest in the world, between 10 million and 360 millions years old.)

Morning fog shrouds the New River

Morning fog shrouds the New River

We camped Friday and Saturday nights in Sparta, NC, right along the water at the lovely New River Campground, a small, private campground that accommodates tents and campers, with tents being well separated from the RVs. Hooray!! They also rent canoes and kayaks. I made one of my dumbest mistakes ever by mapping a “nearby” New River outfitter with an almost identical web address. Driving there, we went a good 20 mountain miles out of way, and our cell phones (ATT) didn’t have signals. Lo and behold, the one driver I could flag down for help was returning from dinner to his campsite — at New River Campground. How lucky was that?! So back we went, happy to finally pitch our tent just before dark.

Sunday we drove the 20 or so miles to Galax, Va., the southern end of the trail, which officially starts northeast of there in Pulaski. Galax, pronounced GAY-lax, is a former manufacturing town of 7,000 that still seems pretty depressed beyond its very spruced up historic Main Street area. That strip was deadsville on a Sunday morning, so we didn’t get to see it in action nor eat at the famed Galax Smokehouse.

Barn along the New River Trail (Click to ENLARGE)

Barn nearby Galax, VA along the New River Trail (Click to ENLARGE)

Galax is one of the best known stops along The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. It’s home to the Old Fiddler’s Convention, a famed traditional music convention since 1935, and the Blue Ridge Music Center, a few miles away on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had breakfast at the best choice, Aunt Bea’s, a fast-food crossover that cooks the eggs and meat, but serves it up on Styrofoam. The clientele was very, very country.

Diane cycles on New River Trail

Diane cycles on the New River Trail (Click to ENLARGE)

Fully carbo-loaded, we hit the trail at 10 a.m. for six hours of cycling. We took our time and stopped often, so made it only 22 miles out and back, for 44 total. We were on touring road bikes. Hybrids or mountain bikes, with fatter tires, would be better on this trail, but we were fine. Confession: we didn’t wear helmets! But we did carry them, just in case we ended up needing to be on the road.

Horse camping along the New River Trail

Horse camping on the Cliffview Campground along the New River Trail

We passed several runners, walkers, and cyclists, including families and a Boy Scout troop. Horses are allowed on most of the trail, and though we saw signs of them, we didn’t meet up with any. We passed gorgeous meadows with barns glistening in the sun, shady wooded areas, rushing water, and picnic and waterfront camping areas, one with campsites for horses.

Wessel cycles on bridge across the New river

Wessel cycles on bridge across the New River

We loved cycling over the old railway trestles and many smaller bridges. We first started along Chestnut Creek and then the New River. We saw people and great blue herons fishing, while flocks of Canada geese hung around to watch. We took a side trail to the tiny riverfront town of Fries (“freeze”), which is slowly being discovered by retirees and second-home buyers. With its former textile manufacturing base decimated, I hope new arrivals and tourism save this lovely place. At mile 49.5, we stopped at Cliffview Ranger Station, which has a great little gift shop, indoor restrooms, and ice-cold water in its fountain.

It was a perfect day. Thanks to all the rail-trail advocates and the state of Virginia for providing such a beautiful trail and park.