A delightful opportunity presented itself and we took it. Early Friday morning, we set off, grands staying with their Dad for the morning as he took the morning off, and the afternoon with their Mom who worked from home. Our destination, about 3 hours away for a weekend of music and each other’s company without any other responsibility. The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival opened on Friday with Arlo Guthrie and we had 10th row center seats. When we arrived at Shrine Mont prior to lunch we discovered that we had a second floor corner room just feet from Arlo’s bus and the Pavilion in which the concert would be held.
This visit included a stellar concert, some time with my brother and his lovely wife, some nice meals, a short visit to the chapel where our children were baptized, our daughter was married, and where a memorial plaque is mounted on a stone wall for my Dad.
Day two of our weekend, took us about an hour away to Big Meadows Lodge. We have many fond memories there with our children when they were young, hiking during the day and going to listen to local music at night. Our favorite musician from then was Charlie Mattox, an Art History Professor at James Madison University that performs Appalachian folk music, old sea shanties, and other traditional songs.
Unfortunately, we got there at 11:15 a.m. and couldn’t check in until 3 p.m., but the performer for the night was Charlie Mattox. We had our lunch, sat in the lodge with our books, took a short drive on the Skyline Drive looking for wildlife, and finally could check in in time to take a short nap while the storms rolled in and heavy rain fell.
Our room was tiny, dark, and stuffy on an interior hall in the main lodge but we didn’t have to venture out in the rain. By the end of dinner, the rain had stopped though it was still overcast and we took a short walk in the Meadow, hoping to see deer.
Wildflowers, interesting trees, lots of people, but no deer. We drove back to the lodge in time to get a table right in front of Charlie.
We had a fun evening listening to him and participating in his program as he encourages everyone to sing along. It was not the same as when we had our children with us, but still a very enjoyable evening.
This morning we began our leisurely drive home along the Skyline Drive and down to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a total of about 80 miles of slow scenic travel, finally seeing the deer.
Three doe and three spotted fawn just off the side of the Drive in the woods and as they are protected there from hunting, they are not skittish when you stop the car to take their photo.
We finally needed gas and lunch and got off the scenic byway to rejoin civilization and take care of those needs and proceed on home to put away our weekend suitcases. It was a relaxing, music and scenery filled three days, arriving home to find daughter’s family had cleaned house, a bonus.