Shenandoah National Park

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The leaves start to change, the weather gets a little chillier, and you can eat as much pumpkin pie as you want. However this year, instead of consuming a concerning amount of pumpkin flavored foods, I went to Shenandoah National Park to see the foliage. Not a pumpkin in sight.

I spent a total of two nights in Front Royal, VA which is only a five minute drive from the park. The hotel was adequate- clean, big bed, and free breakfast. The pillows were especially tiny, but affective. I passed out fairly early, knowing I had to get up at 7:30 (a.k.a. struggle city).

If you go to the park on a weekend, try to get there as early as possibly. It was only 9 AM and cars were already lined up at the gate.

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I felt the recurring need to sing The Sound of Music and prance around. The only thing stopping me was the likelihood of rolling down a hill for several hundred feet. Well, that and my self respect.

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We stumbled upon these awesome trees. It rained yellow and bright green leaves with every gust of wind.

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There were tourists everywhere. The thing that bugged me the most was that people were solely focused on getting the best picture. I started to see the same people, taking the same “perfect” photo at every overlook. I get it, but when you can actually see something in person, you better take the time to appreciate it.

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When dinner time came around we had no idea where to go. Turns out, Front Royal has a great selection of restaurants in the area. We ended up eating at Wine & Duck.

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Located right next to the movie theater. Date night anyone?

We walked in without a reservation and were seated fairly quickly. The highlight of my Chicken Marsala was the carbs. You can never go wrong with pasta and garlic bread after a long day. I probably didn’t need to drink two beers, especially at a restaurant with wine in the name, but it was still a good meal.

Sunday started with a trip to Skyline Caverns.

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Ever seen the movie As Above So Below? It’s a movie about a group of people who are trapped in the catacombs below Paris. It doesn’t work out that well for them. As the guide turned off the lights behind us, the movie crossed my mind.

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The caverns originally added the colored lights to entertain young children but kept them because they were a hit with everyone.

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See anything familiar?

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These special needle crystals are called Anthodites. They are shielded by wire netting to prevent damage (and tourists who want to take home a souvenir). Breaking one of these crystals can cost you $5000 in damages, so don’t get any ideas.

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Blurry, but you get the idea.

Before leaving Virginia, we took one last trip through Shenandoah up to Dark Hollow Falls.

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We didn’t make it to the other end of the park, but managed to travel 85 miles on Skyline Drive. What a way to spend a weekend.

Check out the video to see more!

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