Tonight is the last night of my vacation week. This year I decided I needed to unplug for the week. This was some time to recharge my batteries, do some self-reflection but also have fun.
At the beginning of vacation, I made plans for a getaway to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The plan was to meet some of my girlfriends and do some hiking and sightseeing. The nice thing about the park is there are very few places for cell phone use and no WiFi. From Pittsburgh it is a five-hour drive. I decided to use Google Map directions which were different from my GPS due to the fact my GPS was taking me directly through potential severe storms. Google maps forgot to list that a major portion of the route was on 2 lane highway and included visiting a toll bridge reminding me of the 3 Billy Goat Gruff story complete with the toll collector who lived in the house next to the toll bridge. I did finally get to the Park even with the 2 lane highway.
The scenery at Shenandoah is beautiful and the air is clean and fresh. The first night we went to hear a Ranger talk and see the sunset
After we of course stayed up and chatted and had a wine and cheese party. We stayed in a rustic cabin and catching up entailed much laughter.
Sunday we decided to go to Standardsville, Virginia and have brunch. On the way out of the park we saw a mother bear and cub. The mother bear was having a bad bear day so she would not come out for a picture. I did capture a picture of the cub
We decided to eat at the Lafayette Inn. It was a historic landmark that was actually used during the Civil War. The food was excellent and reasonably priced. Our next stop was the winery. This area of Virginia has over 23 local wineries. We chose the Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery.
We did a short tour of the vineyards and winery.
Next was the best part the wine tasting. I ended up purchasing a Merlot to bring home. The rest of the day was spent eating dinner and getting to bed early.
Day 3 was hiking day. There are many trails and waterfalls in Shenandoah. Hiking can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days depending on the hike you choose. We choose the Blackrock Trail. It is a relatively short trail approximately 3 miles. Part of the trail is along the Appalachian Trail which goes through Shenandoah. The only part I did not realize is that the high point of the hike which is 3200 ft elevation has large areas of quartz rock. It is a spectacular view and I conquered a fear – the fear of heights. I don’t mind heights if I don’t have to look down but here you get a view of 2 ranges and the valley. I would be lying if I said I was not shaking but I went out and looked and took pictures.
The view from here is breathtaking. I would have missed the view as well as some lessons about myself had I not completed the climb.
Day 4 was breaking up camp and saying goodbye to my friends. I needed the time away. The drive down and back provided me with thinking time. I know I have some changes to make. I liken it to going out on the edge and looking over the edge. It will not be comfortable but I will be better in the end for the changes.
This vacation was my time and I continued that theme when I came home. I am now ready to replug into my normal schedule but with a new purpose