It’s Traveling Tuesday!

Westmoreland State Park, Virginia

Since we are still under self-quarantine, stay at home orders, I am traveling through places we have visited before and would like to visit again. We visited this state park one Saturday after taking a leisurely drive along back roads of the Potomac River. Since it is my goal to stay in every state park in the state of Virginia, this visit does not count towards that adventure. It was my plan to make this park my first stay of the camping season and to actually stay in a cabin this time. Being campers we mostly tent camp, which -by the way is not as ancient and primitive as it use to be. But since the Spring in Virginia can be quite unpredictable with rains, winds and temperatures; a cabin or camper is the most stable way to ‘stay’ in the park in early Spring and late Fall.

This park has some of the best views of the Potomac. While some cabins are secluded in wooded areas, there are many that are overlooking the Potomac with screen porches and this is what I am hoping to capture whenever we get a chance to stay. This park also boasts an olympic-sized pool and beach! It is not a large park but it packs a mighty punch. There are a couple of beaches with one of the beaches being at the end of a mile long trail –downhill. This small beach is called Fossil Beach and is known for ‘sharks teeth’. You will find people walking and searching for them constantly. The beach is also accessible via kayak. The walk down to the beach is not bad unless you carry a lot of stuff with you and have to lug it back up. Trust me, if I can make down there, almost anyone can!! And I lived to tell the story.

There are plenty of trails of varying degrees and an overlook at Turkey Run trail which also intersects with the trail to the beach. Fossil Beach is not a large beach. The main beach is accessible by vehicle and has plenty of parking but do suspect it could get crowded sometimes. Where there is sand and water, Virginians will play all day. There are picnic tables and some trees for a break from the sun, kayak rentals, boat dock, eatery, a picnic shelter over the Potomac and a group cabin –all right there on the beach. I did see people walking to the beach from a cabin. Just be aware that the descent down to this beach is steep and most people drive it.

On this day, we hiked and walked, and sat overlooking the spans of the Potomac River while observing the wildlife. This is a great spot to bird watch if you are into it. I listened and tried to figure out what birds were there by their songs/call. The visitor’s center over looks the Potomac as well and is located on the ridge above the cliffs. There is a really nice play-park for children. This park is shaded and has plenty of picnic areas and is close to the bathrooms. It is also walking distance from the cabins that are overlooking the river.

When this park is re-opened, I plan to hike, walk, swim, picnic, read, blog, sit by a fire, smile at the sunrise, enjoy the laughter and glee of children and families and enjoy the company of my husband of 30 years. Interestingly whenever we camp, he becomes the chef mostly. But if there is electricity, there is always that favorite small appliance called … crock pot or slow cooker.

To Rest or To Be Adventurous?

We love to go camping. About 10 years ago we bought a tent, packed some food and grabbed our teenagers and headed for the nearest state park. Actually it was not the nearest but nonetheless it was less than an hour from home. Well, our teenagers just could not grasp the idea of why we had to actually stay overnight and the fact that it was more work than they anticipated. Fishing was only mildly interesting and walking to the bath house in the middle of the night was insane to them. The dog was not amused either. Every noise had that poor dog on high alert. She did not sleep the entire weekend. So we never went camping again until this year. We (minus the teenager and dogs)packed our 10 year old tent and other rusting camping equipment and headed off to a “safe” park to camp. It was less than an hours drive from home and close to a store yet still having a secluded feeling.

Now that we have been on five camping trips this year, I often find myself pondering why we like camping. This question especially comes to mind when someone asks ‘what did you do this weekend?’ My response would be ‘ oh we went camping.’ Then you get the weird incredible look because as the story develops it’s does sound strange. ‘Wasn’t it raining, cold, windy, hot, humid, deer season, bear activity, bugs, snakes, prowler, murders … you name it, we’ve been asked. So now I began to pose the question to myself, why did you spend quite a bit of money to be comfortable living outside in the woods when you pay a mortgage to ‘not’ be outside in the woods?

My answer is actually quite different from my stud muffin’s answer. I like being outside and I particularly like trees. Yup, I like trees … the tall green plants with leaves and bark. I love walking through creation and noticing all the wonder. I equally like to run away from work-life and adult responsibilities and enjoy some solitude and quiet. No music, tv, radio, noise by phone, nothing. I can sit in my tent with my books and listen to the rain on my tent for an entire weekend without going anywhere or seeing other people. I stare at the wander, I read, I sleep, I eat, I pray, I walk, I ride my bike, I think on lovely things and I stare at my handsome stud. Stud on the other hand enjoys music and constantly moving around flitting from one project to another. I write and reflect. We walk mostly in silence -me in my thoughts and he in his music, hand in hand. I am recharged, I am grateful and refreshed. Ready to head back to civilization for two more weeks before it is time to ‘come away to a quiet place and rest.

When we go camping, we see tons of people camping. We have yet to find another family or friend who likes camping. Either we know some strange people or we ARE the strange people 😂