Shenandoah and Monticello, Virginia

The Appalachian Mountains are not short of beautiful vistas, and the same is true of Shenandoah National Park. Fall brings a special glow to the mountains and a sunny day makes for a perfect drive along Skyline Drive. Nearby, the University of Virginia and Monticello, both institutions associated with Thomas Jefferson, are worth a visit.

Our campsite in Waynesboro looked dipped in gold as we arrived on a warm fall evening. We set to do laundry but didn’t realize that the laundry had a curfew: the rule was to only do laundry during daylight! Oops. Rebels that we were, we braved the polite “oh, it’s OK” but concealed annoyance of the lady in the office, and got ourselves some clean clothes, while we planned our visit: Shenandoah National Park and Monticello.

Shenandoah National Park extends along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The Skyline Drive runs its length, while the vast network of trails includes a section of the Appalachian Trail. The road was especially built for visitors to take leisurely car rides and admire the views. Construction for the road started in 1929 and was completed in 1932. When erosion problems threatened to chip away at the fun, the “CCC boys” (Civilian Conservation Corps) stepped in and reinforced the road’s structure. While they were at it, they also added 75 overlooks, along with plantings and landscape for visitors’ enhanced enjoyment. We thanked them as we breathed in the fresh air, and took in the expansive sights.

Less than thirty minutes’ drive away, we checked out the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville and then visited the home of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

Monticello was the primary plantation and home of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, who began designing Monticello after inheriting land from his father at age 26. The house lived up to its master, a man of many talents, featuring an interesting design and innovative addenda.

On our way back to Waynesboro 340 N Campground, we stopped at the charming historic 1784 Pub for a promised taste of the 18th century. What we did have tasted pretty fresh and indulgently southern: fried pickles and BBQ sliders, yum!

Back in the South now, near the Appalachians, we looked forward to visiting family for the holidays in Tennessee. But first, we had to make one more stop and hang out with some llamas! (read about that fun experience in the next post).

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