Snapshot Saturday: Grayson Highlands

Last week, *A* and I celebrated our anniversary with a day trip to nearby Grayson Highlands State Park, not far from Mount Rogers in Southwest Virginia.  We’d never been there before, but you can bet that we’ll go back, hopefully soon.  It was only a little over an hour away and it is a fantastic place to hike, backpack, camp, all that stuff we love to do together, and which we’ll do lots of with our kids.  We have our favorite places already, and Grayson Highlands has secured a spot among them – not only is the environment different from much of the Blue Ridge (it looks like photos I’ve seen of the Highland region of Scotland), there are also wild ponies in the park.  Well, I suppose “wild” is a tiny overstatement – they are actually quite tame, as you will see below.  They are managed by a local organization, the Wilburn Ridge Pony Association, but from what we observed, they seem to be free to graze at will pretty much anywhere in the park. Enough babbling – check out our photos:

Grayson sign at entrance.largeEntrance to the park

Cabin at entranceReconstructed cabin just inside the gates to the park (otherwise known as our retirement home – I wish!)

Mama & Baby Wild HorsesOur first encounter with the wild ponies was about a half mile into the Appalachian Trail, headed south.  Here is what we thought was a mama and foal – we figured the foal was born this past spring and since they look an awful lot alike, we figured they were related. What you can’t see from this view is how wide the big pony is – she’s probably due next spring.

Foal and Momma

This one turned out to be the foal’s mama – the foal was still nursing.  You can see the resemblance in the face.

A with wild horseFuture mama *A* & the mama pony sharing a moment – well, *A* was trying to share, but it was apparently lunchtime.

Tucker meets a baby wild horseTucker meeting what he thought was an exceptionally long-legged dog.  Both foal and dopey dog behaved very kindly toward each other.

Twin Peaks from Appalachian TrailA view of the Twin Peaks from the Appalachian Trail, headed south.

Grayson topAnother view from the A.T. (Twin Peaks is to the right)

A & Tucker Rhodo Trail*A* and Tucker taking a break where the A.T. intersected the Rhododendron Trail.  We’re not used to such wide open spaces on the A.T.!

A & Tucker big rock at picnic areaAfter hiking, we decided to check out the picnic area, where there was a little village of cabins (well, one that was lived in, the other were outbuildings with various specific uses).  I just can’t seem to stop taking pictures of my two happy adventurers 🙂

Grayson overlook at picnic area

We ate a picnic lunch at an overlook near the Visitor’s Center.  What a gorgeous view!

After a great couple of hikes, we headed to Abingdon, Virginia for supper at a fun little diner we discovered last year, Pop Ellis Soda Shoppe and Grill (fantastic banana splits) and a little bakery called Anthony’s Desserts for something to take home.  We had a great day celebrating our 11th (day we started dating) and 8th (day our knot was tied) anniversaries.

Everywhere we go, we make mental notes about things to do with kids.  Grayson Highlands State Park is high on the list now – we really look forward to sharing these special places with our kids someday soon!

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5 thoughts on “Snapshot Saturday: Grayson Highlands

  1. Our internes is finally working again. Just read this. It does sound/look like a beautiful place to see/camp/stay in a cabin nearby. You and your lists. Remember when you had a running list of honeymoon places?! I remember you saying such whenever we happen upon such a place again.

    LYM!! Mom

  2. I love the photos! I’ve been a bit behind on catching up on the blog. 🙂 So strange- just last week I booked a cabin for the Thanksgiving holiday about a mile from this park because I heard about the “wild” ponies. 🙂 If ya’ll are around during the Thanksgiving holidays – maybe we could meet for a hike! ❤ I love you both! xoxo

    • You’ll love it – we saw the ponies on the AT and there weren’t other people around (perfect way to see them), but on an area that was more heavily traversed, everyone seemed to be looking for them – maybe we just got lucky. You’ll love Grayson Highlands – and absolutely, we’ll try to meet you there!

  3. Pingback: Now for October Eves! | The Littlest Brooks-Livingston

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