DC/Shenandoah ’21 Travel Notes, Day 4 (7/6/21)

Courtesy of AllTrails

A simple breakfast in the unit, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. After orienting ourselves to Shenandoah National Park’s map, we decide on a short out-and-back hike close to the nearest entrance to the park. Frank takes the wheel again, and we race down Rt. 33 East toward the Swift Run Gap entrance. $30 for a seven-day pass, then a short ride north on Skyline drive brings us to the trailhead parking for South River falls.

welcome shade

the increasing


The trail heads downhill. Sweat clings to my skin and shirt as the day’s heat increases. A turn, then some leveling out, before reaching the observation point for the falls. A thin stream falls from an impressive height, but the falls themselves fail to impress. We continue, reaching the fire road upon which we ascend back toward the trailhead. A turn on the ever-present Appalachian Trail, then one more, back onto the South Falls River trail. I devour a peanut-butter and Jelly sandwich at a picnic table in the shade. We head back to the resort, wondering whether the hiking in Shenandoah will truly be worth it.

mountain roads

the strain of a truck’s

air breaks

A quick change of clothes later, we make the short walk to the Regal Vista pool. A diverse mix of residents splash, float, or wade around the four-foot-deep pool. After attempting a lap, Mira and I relax along the side. Frank joins us, and we all chat, watching the scene. Two women read hardcovers by one end. One sips a curiously beer-colored drink from her own “water” bottle. A family with young children splash around on the opposite end. The temperature is a perfect bath-tepid, delightful after the morning’s humidity in Shenandoah. We have our fill before heading out.

summer sun

a toddler refuses

to leave the pool

We asked our concierge for recommendations to eat in nearby Harrisonberg. She responds with restaurants nearby the resort–not in the city. Curious: it’s not the first time we wonder at the competancy of the young concierges the resort employs. We soon discover why. Harrisonberg, a short drive down Rte. 33 west from the resort, looks econonomically depressed. Few pedestrians stroll the streets. Worn structures adorn cracked streets lined with unwashed sidewalks. The city looks tired and feels sleepy. The Yelp-rated Four Star restaurants lack an appealing exterior, let alone any ambiance we want. After a short walk through downtown, we retreat.

Hamburger joint

we pass on James Madison


Hungry, we take a chance on Italian cuisine. We choose the 4-star Ciro’s in Elkerton, the town next to Massanutten. A treo from Watgins Glen, NY (on the south shore of Seneca Lake), waiting in the vestibule like we are, recommend it highly. They are right. We all eat to our hearts content and bring home leftovers. The quality competes with any New York suburban Italian restaurant. We came hungry and left happy!

fading light

a delightful serving of

Ben and Jerry’s

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