Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 - Asheville/Atlanta Day 2 (Lexington, Virginia)

Super 8 breakfast was disappointing.  Toast, two types of cereal and coffee or tea.  Bed and hotel was also disappointing, smelly hallways, really sad deflated pillows, won't be staying at this chain again.

Our sad breakfast at Super 8.
After an early breakfast and a quick stop at the visitor centre at Front Royal, we decided to skip Dinosaur Land and go to Shenadoah National Park instead since there were some things that were recommended by the person at the visitor centre.
There are a lot of well labelled look out spots but they all begin to look the same after awhile.

One of Shenandoah's many lookouts.
Stop #1 was Dark Hollow Falls, a 1.4 mile round-trip hike that took us roughly 1 hour to do.  It is a nice set of waterfalls.  It is cascade though, it isn't straight down.  The walk down is all downhill and the walk up is all uphill.

At the bottom of Dark Hollows Falls in Shenandoah National Park.
Stop #2 was Stoney Man Trail, a 0.9 mile round-trip hike and I think this one is skippable.  It took us 30 minutes or so to do.  So, if you want to stretch your legs, it is a good trail, but otherwise, I feel that the pay-out wasn't worth the effort.

Atop Stoney Man Trail in Shenandoah National Park.
Overall, after those stops which were suggested, I personally feel that you should just skip Shenandoah and go to the main Blue Ridge Parkway area near Asheville.  I thought Shenandoah would be interesting but the low speed limit (35 mph), combined with the cost at $20 for a 7-day pass (vs free for all of Blue Ridge Parkway), makes me say skip it.

Blue Ridge Parkway's most popular hiking trail is Humpback Rocks and I would say that this is definitely worth a visit.  Since we got there at around 5pm, we didn't do any other trails after and headed straight to Lexington.  I would say it takes maybe 1 hour and 10 minutes for us to do the full trail plus take pictures.  We lucked out since the place is usually really busy but when we went, we were alone (which is unfortunate if you want someone to take pictures for you though).

Atop Humpback Rocks at BRP.
Atop Humpback Rock at BRP.
Today, we saw FOUR deer (3 old ones and 1 young one).  The most deer I have seen in the wild in one day in my life.  Pretty cool.

For dinner we stopped at Southern Inn in Lexington, Virginia.  The food was good, it wasn't very expensive at roughly $16 per entree.  We ordered the meatloaf and southern fried chicken and we both thought they were good.

Meatloaf at Southern Inn.
Fried Chicken at Southern Inn.
Stopped by an ice cream shop just down the street after dinner.  They seemed a bit pricier at $2.50 a scoop, but they were a good way to end the evening.
After some discussion on how things were looking, we decided tomorrow that we would just stop at the Peaks of Otters and do a hike and then just head to Blowing Rock instead of doing the full Blue Ridge Parkway.