Sunday, June 22, 2014

Artillery Ridge Campground, Gettysburg, PA

Date of Stay:  Saturday June 14 - Sunday June 22, 2014 (8 nights)

Rate:  $292 (PPA during week 5 nights of $25 each and Good Sam on weekends 3 nights of $56 each)

Website:  Artillery Ridge Campground
   610 Taneytown Road
   Gettysburg, PA 17325

Description:  Very close to the National Park and Battlefield.  The National Riding Stables are also here if you want to tour the Battlefield by horseback.  Gravel roads and parking pads.  Most sites are FHU 50A like ours (site 432).  We were in a loop of tight pull thru sites next to the muddy stables pasture.  Several seasonal sites near the front of the park.  Several tent sites and a popular place to bring your own horse.

Activities:  This campground gives free tickets to the Gettysburg Diorama at the Gettysburg History Center.  We went there one day to get familiar with the history of the area and the bloodiest Civil War Battle.  We also spent a day at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.  There we watched the film “A New Birth of Freedom” which gave a good background of the time before, during, and after the Civil War.  We enjoyed the Gettysburg Cyclorama which had recently been restored.  It is a spectacular oil painting dating back to 1884.  It measures 377’x40’ and gives a real three dimensional feel to the battle.  We then walked through the Museum and bought an audio guide to give more information about the Battle while we did the auto tour.  All the information about the death and suffering was a bit overwhelming so we took a break before we toured the Battlefield with over 1300 monuments.  During this three day battle in 1863 (July 1,2, and 3), over 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing (roughly 23,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate).  Many of the monuments we saw on the auto tour were memorable in their own right, Pennsylvania Memorial being the biggest and most elaborate.  My favorite however, is the Eternal Light Peace Memorial which was dedicated 75 years after the Battle with the help of over 1800 Civil War veterans to “Peace Eternal in a Nation United”.  The idea for this monument was proposed by Union and Confederate Veterans during the 50th reunion in 1913.  The Soldiers’ National Cemetery was the setting for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during it’s dedication on November 19, 1863.

Trash and Recycle:  There are dumpsters throughout the campground but no recycle.

Artillery Ridge CG site 432  Artillery Ridge CG site 432
Site 432
Entry to Artillery Ridge CG  Artillery Ridege store and office
Entry to Artillery Ridge CG and their office
Seasonal sites at Artillery Ridge  Interesting cabins at Artillery Ridge CG
Seasonal sites                                   Interesting cabins at Artillery Ridge
National Riding Stables at Artillery Ridge CG  Gin talking to the horses near our site
National Riding Stables at the campground     Gin enjoys talking to the horses behind our site

Gettysburg Diorama  Gettysburg Diorama
Gettysburg Diorama
Gin at Gettysburg NP Museum and Visitor Center  Display at the Visitor Center
Gin at the National Park Visitor Center                  Some guns on display
Cyclorama at NP  Cyclorama at NP
Some scenes on the Cyclorama
Cylorama at NP  Cyclorama at NP
The Cyclorama is very well done

Eternal Light Peace Memorial  Eternal Light Peace Memorial
The most meaningful monument (to me), Eternal Light Peace Memorial
Virginia Memorial with Gen. Robert E. Lee  North Carolina Memorial
Virginia Memorial and North Carolina Memorial…
the first two Confederate monuments erected in 1917 and 1929 respectively
View of the Battlefield  Many cannons here
Many cannons were used here changing the way war was fought
90th Pennsylvania Infantry  Brig. Gen. Gouverneur Warren (Union)  New York Infantry Tammany Regiment

44th New York Infantry  Lt. Gen. James Longstreet (Confederate)
Several interesting monuments
View of the Battlefield from the Peace Memorial  View from Little Round Top towards Devil's Den
View of Battlefield from Peace Memorial and then from Little Round Top towards Devil’s Den
View of the Battlefield from Little Round Top  View of the Battlefield from Little Round Top
View of the Battlefield from Little Round Top
Pennsylvania Memorial The Pennsylvania Memorial Atop the Dome of Pennsylvania Memorial
Pennsylvania Memorial is big
Inside the dome of the Pennsylvania Memorial  Spiral staircase to get to top of Pennsylvania Memorial
Under the Dome and spiral staircase leading to the top of the Pennsylvania Memorial
Directions to different areas of the Battle from atop Pennsylvania Memorial
Directions to different areas of the Battle
from atop the Pennsylvania Memorial

Soldiers' National Cemetery  Soldiers' National Cemetery
Soldier’s National Cemetery… many of these markers honored service during WW II
Many Unknowns in this section from the Battle  Many Unknowns in this section from the Battle
Soldier’s National Cemetery… the original section has many Unknown markers
Soldiers' National Monument in the Cemetery  Lincoln Address Memorial in Soldiers' National Cemetery
Soldier’s National Monument               Lincoln Address Memorial

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Natural Chimneys Park Campground, Mount Solon, VA

Date of Stay:  Saturday June 7- Saturday June 14, 2014 (7 nights)

Rate:  $202/week (they give weekly rates)

Website:  Natural Chimneys Park Campground
   94 Natural Chimneys Lane
   Mount Solon, VA 22843
   540-245-5727 or 540-350-2510 (seasonal)

Description:  Quite a bit off the beaten path of I-81, the cg has gravel roads with grassy sites.  Most are 30A with water at the site, but a few, like ours (site A11), have FHU 50A (extra cost).  Most sites are level since this is a valley.  Augusta County runs this park well.  When we arrived, we didn’t have electricity at the pedestal.  I went to the office (only open on weekends) to let the lady know.  She radioed the maintenance guy who was on site.  He tested it and replaced the breaker all in less than 30 minutes.  The main feature here is the Natural Chimneys, seven naturally formed towers of limestone jutting up from the valley floor.  It is also bordered by the small North River which often dries up during the summer.  There is a rustic bike path by the river and a well maintained hiking trail up the hill behind the Chimneys.  This Park is also home of the nation’s oldest continuously held sporting event, the Natural Chimneys Jousting Tournament.  The first joust was held in 1821.  They currently host two events a year, one in June and one in August.

Activities:  Great place for a morning jog to smell honeysuckle.  The Park is large enough to enjoy a bike ride too.  The weekends are crowded with the locals but that can be entertaining.  The two families across from us played some nice bluegrass music.  I think the two families behind us enjoyed themselves a lot too.  Even an ice cream truck came around on Saturday, and there was a hay ride that night also.  This place is empty and quiet during the week.  I love it!  I hiked the trail (about a mile) up the hill behind the Chimneys to the Overlook.  One day, Gin and I drove through Harrisonburg to get on Hwy 33 to ride south on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.  It was a very nice day for a picnic and we saw a black bear just a few feet off the road.  The area has some beautiful rolling hillsides and there are a lot of dairy farms here.  The ride on Hwy 42 is truly scenic.

Trash and Recycle:  There is a dumpster near the dump station at the exit for trash but no recycle.

Natural Chimneys site A11  Natural Chimneys site A11
Site A11
Natural Chimneys Park entry  Hay ride on Saturday night
Park entrance                                             “Hey!” ride
Quiet view during the week  Jousting anyone?
Quiet during the week                                   Jousting area
The Natural Chimneys  Gin at the Natural Chimneys
The Natural Chimneys
Natural Chimneys Inside a small cave of one of the Chimneys Up another Chimney
There’s even a small cave at the base of one of them… cool!
Gin at the Natural Chimneys Looking up at a Chimney Looking up
I just love big rock formations!!
Trail at Natural Chimneys Park
Trail to the Chimneys Overlook
Overlooking the Chimneys  Overlooking the Chimneys
Views from above the Chimneys

Beautiful countryside!  Beautiful countryside!
Beautiful countryside!
Mountain Laurel blooms along Skyline Drive  Gin enjoying the beautiful view at an overlook on Skyline Drive
Mountain Laurel still blooming at an Overlook along Skyline Drive… Gin enjoying the view!
Black Bear along Skyline Drive
Black bear munching on Spring greenery