Tag Archives: nature

2019 – Sightseeing the Northern Neck of Virginia


There’s a lot to see and do in and near the Northern Neck of Virginia and we’ve enjoyed visiting and revisiting several spots. I’ve already done sightseeing reviews of the George Washington Birthplace and the Museum of the Bible. I’m doing this post as a sort of wrap-up of the other places we visited. Some of these are big, well known places and others have more local flavor, like the nice beach in the town of Colonial Beach and the local Ice Cream stand.

It is amazing to realize that eight Presidents of the United States were born in Virginia and that of those eight, two: Washington and Monroe were born just a few miles apart near here. We visited both birthplaces. Then, the Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, who was first offered command of the Union Army by Abraham Lincoln was also born nearby.

Stratford Hall

Robert E. Lee’s birthplace is Stratford Hall. This was the home of his ancestors, two of them signers of the Declaration of Independence: Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee. We enjoyed an audio tour as we walked through the two story mansion. The grounds are extensive with many outbuildings including an outdoor kitchen and smokehouse. We drove out to the Potomac overlook with its cliffs and beach below. The River is an impressive 5 miles wide at that point. We also drove to the grist mill and saw where the wharf for merchant ships that traveled the Potomac brought the wares of the world right to this majestic plantation.

Westmoreland Berry Farm

Another sightseeing trip we took was a short drive to Westmoreland Berry Farm. There were more people there than I expected on a Friday morning. The store has in-season produce. At the time of our June visit they had blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. There are also a variety of jams and fruit salsas available along with BBQ sauces. We picked a small batch of blueberries to take home. Beside the store is a large lawn with a huge chair for photo ops, corn hole games, a swing set, and a long downhill slide using sacks. I think the main draw is the climbing goats who climb up a ladder, across the walkway over the road, and then pull a rope to get a cup of goat feed. There are also goats that people pet and hand feed. We had a fun time in the place with lots of local flavor.

Fredericksburg Battleground

In December of 1862 the Union Army attacked Fredericksburg, VA and crossed the river to meet Robert E. Lee’s troops who were holding Marie’s Height with its high ground and sunken road with a rock wall in front of it. The Confederate Army used that wall for cover and the hill above it for canon emplacements. The Union Army had to come across a wide open field. Although they had more men and sent seven waves of attackers they could not overcome the Confederacy that day. The Visitors Center has many displays and artifacts from the battle. It gives an idea of the people who lived there and how they felt about the war. It also gave us a glimpse into their lives and how the war impacted them. The National Parks Service Ranger was an excellent guide who gave us an overview of the battle as we walked along that sunken road. One house from that battle is still standing and is undergoing renovation to keep it available. We could see bullet holes in the walls from the battle. The nearby National Cemetery is where many Union soldiers are buried, many of them give up their lives trying to take that very hill in the battle of Frederiksberg. We were humbled to be on, what the Ranger said, was the most fought over ground in the entire country.

Father’s Day Colonial Beach Car Show

We just happened onto a great car show. We went into Colonial Beach for church on Sunday morning and just a few blocks from the church a big car show was going on. We had fun walking around, checking out all the cars that were on display. People come from miles around to see this car show, we just happened to be at the right place at the right time to see it.

As you can see the Northern Neck of Virginia has a lot to offer. We’ve enjoyed our time here.


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2018 – Sightseeing Little Rock, AR and vicinity


Sometimes in our travels we stay at a campground that is, in itself, an “attraction.” We’ll review Maumelle Corps of Engineers campground in a separate post, but it’s one of those campgrounds that’s so pretty with such great campsites that we enjoyed just hanging out at the campground rather than heading out to see the sights.

We did, though, spend the better part of a day at the Arkansas State Fair; our second big fair this year. We entered the fairgrounds through the midway but we quickly made our way back to the exhibit areas. We walked through a building with a wide variety of vendors and items for sale and then visited the cattle barn. My favorite building was arts and crafts. I’m always amazed the beautiful throws, pillows, clothes and quilts people make. In the same building the end wall was full of canned foods but it was the blue ribbon gigantic pumpkins and watermelons that got my attention. Our final stop of the day was at the arena where they were judging cattle and giving the ribbons. This was a new experience for me and very interesting.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park was very near our campground. We visited this park a couple of years ago and remembered that it is a terrific place to visit. As we arrived at the park near the Visitor’s Center we saw some beautiful early fall colors in the trees by the pond. We then climbed the stairs to the observation deck and were rewarded with a great view of the wetlands with the Arkansas River below us. There was no one else there and I enjoyed not only the view but also the quiet away from traffic and crowds. After a pleasant time there we went to the Visitor’s Center. I enjoyed seeing the wildlife dioramas and the live beehive behind glass. For those with with children there are interactive displays, color pages and other activities. This is a great place and surprisingly close to Little Rock.

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2018 – Sightseeing the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee

We always enjoy returning to the Smoky Mountains. This visit was just for a week, so we had a short but busy stay. A highlight for us was the opportunity to attend the Saturday afternoon sessions of the National Quartet Convention at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. Thanks to some friends who were attending the convention, we got tickets for the Gerald Wolfe Hymn Sing. This was a fun “sing along” event with a full choir and several other southern gospel singers. Then, we attended a concert featuring several male quartets. As you can guess Scott was right in his element and I enjoyed my first NQC.

We spent one day enjoying the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Years ago we spent some time camping at Cades Cove and we haven’t been back there since. It was as pretty as we remembered. We took the scenic loop drive, stopping at three historical spots along the way. Our first stop was at the Primitive Baptist Church. We could see the space where the heating stove sat and the roof vent where the stovepipe vented outside. There is a large cemetery in back and we could see some the names and dates of the people buried there. One thing that stuck me in both cemeteries was the amount of children’s graves; especially those that died on the day of their birth. I was surprised to see several more recent graves there, apparently family plots still being used by families to lay loved ones to rest.

We also stopped at a Methodist Church. The building has an old upright piano. As we arrived a young lady was playing the piano and after she left Scott played his trademark “When the Saints go Marching In.” Several came in as he played and they asked for an encore! Scott said this was his day of fame! It really did sound good in that old church.

We stopped at the visitors’ center to eat our picnic lunch and then walked around the historic farm there. Next month the National Park Service will be using the historic equipment on site to demonstrate how to make sorghum which they have on sale in the store. The house is large with several rooms on the main floor and an upstairs. We also saw an old barn, corn crib, and a working mill where a man was grinding corn into cornmeal. The mill wheel was turned by water from a nearby stream. We loved the drive through the park that follows a beautiful mountain stream that features many impressive rapids. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in the beauty of God’s Creation.

There’s so much to see in this area that it would take months to really do it justice. We enjoyed returning to the Apple Barn for a meal as well as exploring the shops there. We’ll look forward to future visits here.

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See individual photos with captions here.