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SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VIRGINIA

Shenandoah National Park: Nature, Hikes & History in the Blue Ridge

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VA

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National Parks

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Road Scholar
Program #17170RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Lodge is located at crest of Blue Ridge at 3675 feet. Elevations in park reach 4000 feet.

Equipment Requirements
Comfortable walking shoes for field trips, hikes. Clothing for inclement weather is recommended.

Itinerary for Jul 20 — Jul 25, 2014

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Type: Lodge

Description: Located within Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows Lodge was built in 1939 with stones cut from the Massanutten Mountains to the west. In recent years the interior has been restored to its original look and furnishings, featuring wood paneling made from native chestnut trees that are now virtually extinct. The main lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Contact info:
MP 51
Skyline Drive, VA 22851 USA
phone: 540-999-2222
web: www.goshenandoah.com/Big-Meadows-Lodge.aspx

Room amenities: Coffee maker, clock radio

Facility amenities: Rooms are simply furnished and do not have phones. Wi-Fi is available free of charge to guests in the main lodge. Meals are at the Spottswood Dining Room, bright and rustic with timbered ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. A sitting room has chairs for reading, tables for games and puzzles, and big picture windows overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Located within the main lodge are the New Market Taproom, an evening option which offers entertainment, and the Craft Shop.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, July 20 - Registration, Orientation
Afternoon: Welcome to Big Meadows Lodge! Rooms should be ready by 4:00pm. Register with Road Scholar in the lobby 4:00-5:00pm and receive your program materials.

Dinner: Dinner in the Spottswood Dining room

Evening: Orientation in the Lodge classroom. After the orientation, an option that will be available every evening until 11 pm is the New Market Taproom, on the lower level of the Lodge, offering beverages and live entertainment.

Lodging: Big Meadows Lodge

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Located within Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows Lodge was built in 1939 with stones cut from the Massanutten Mountains to the west. In recent years the interior has been restored to its original look and furnishings, featuring wood paneling made from native chestnut trees that are now virtually extinct. The main lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Contact info:
MP 51
Skyline Drive, VA 22851 USA
phone: 540-999-2222
web: www.goshenandoah.com/Big-Meadows-Lodge.aspx

Room amenities: Coffee maker, clock radio

Facility amenities: Rooms are simply furnished and do not have phones. Wi-Fi is available free of charge to guests in the main lodge. Meals are at the Spottswood Dining Room, bright and rustic with timbered ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. A sitting room has chairs for reading, tables for games and puzzles, and big picture windows overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Located within the main lodge are the New Market Taproom, an evening option which offers entertainment, and the Craft Shop.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, July 21 - Classes, Hike to Visitor Center, Ranger program
Breakfast: Breakfast in the Spottswood Dining room

Morning: Become a naturalist and experience the forested mountains of historic Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains are the east range of the ancient Appalachians, home to mists and fog, landscapes and breeze, a delicate flower and a busy songbird. Seventy-five years ago the north end of the Blue Ridge was gathered into Shenandoah National Park, and during the Depression, atop the ridge through the park was built a winding road called Skyline Drive, today a National Scenic Byway. Explore the pioneering people and the culture that developed in these upper Virginia Mountains. Learn of the personal sacrifices residents made for the park. Study the venerable mountains that tell a fantastic tale of origin and the web of life that dwells there yet. Shenandoah National Park was authorized in 1926 and dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1936. Land was acquired through "eminent domain" and we'll learn the history of the Park's creation, including the families and communities that were "displaced." Classes focus on the people who pioneered and lived in that area, and the ecology, natural history, and folklore of the Shenandoah. With numerous overlooks above the rolling hills of the Piedmont to the east and the Shenandoah Valley to the west, the 105 miles of Skyline Drive connect at Afton with the 470 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most visited unit of the National Park Service, reaching the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Our program will include classes, hikes, field trips, and presentations. Class this morning, in the Lodge meeting room, will be the Cultural History of Shenandoah National Park. (Note: This is a sample schedule. Actual schedule may differ depending on availability of instructors.)

Lunch: Lunch in the Spottswood Dining room

Afternoon: This afternoon we will hike the relatively easy one mile trail to the Big Meadows Visitor Center. At the Visitor Center we will view a Park Ranger presentation such as "Bears, Bats, Bobcats, and more" about wildlife in the park. We will also go through the museum exhibit and view one or more of the films offered at the Visitor Center, before hiking either by the same trail or another trail to the Lodge.

Dinner: Dinner in the Spottswood Dining room

Evening: Class this evening at the Lodge meeting room will be a presentation by a retired Park Ranger on his experiences along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Lodging: Big Meadows Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Located within Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows Lodge was built in 1939 with stones cut from the Massanutten Mountains to the west. In recent years the interior has been restored to its original look and furnishings, featuring wood paneling made from native chestnut trees that are now virtually extinct. The main lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Contact info:
MP 51
Skyline Drive, VA 22851 USA
phone: 540-999-2222
web: www.goshenandoah.com/Big-Meadows-Lodge.aspx

Room amenities: Coffee maker, clock radio

Facility amenities: Rooms are simply furnished and do not have phones. Wi-Fi is available free of charge to guests in the main lodge. Meals are at the Spottswood Dining Room, bright and rustic with timbered ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. A sitting room has chairs for reading, tables for games and puzzles, and big picture windows overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Located within the main lodge are the New Market Taproom, an evening option which offers entertainment, and the Craft Shop.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, July 22 - Field trip along Skyline Drive, Ranger program
Breakfast: Breakfast in the Spottswood Dining room

Morning: Led by our naturalist/retired park ranger, a field trip by bus along Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. Probably the most famous feature of the park is the highway constructed in the 1930s to follow the crest of the Blue, with a top speed limit of 35 to 45 mph. We will take advantage of opportunities to stop at overlooks and, depending on conditions, at one or more of the Park trails for short hikes. The Park is largely forested, with more than 100 species of trees and more than 1,100 species of plants, including 18 varieties of orchids. The variety of ecosystems within the Park include old growth hemlock forests, hardwood/deciduous forests, meadows, marsh and bogs, and pristine wilderness. To the west, the famed Shenandoah River flows at the base of the mountains. Our naturalist will help to find and identify many of the trees, wildflowers and birds that we encounter. For a list of some of the species in the Park, visit www.ohranger.com/shenandoah/flora-fauna.

Lunch: Picnic box lunch along Skyline Drive

Afternoon: Field trip continues to explore Shenandoah National Park.

Dinner: Dinner in the Spottswood Dining room

Evening: This evening we will enjoy a Park Ranger program either at the nearby amphitheater or around the campfire.

Lodging: Big Meadows Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Located within Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows Lodge was built in 1939 with stones cut from the Massanutten Mountains to the west. In recent years the interior has been restored to its original look and furnishings, featuring wood paneling made from native chestnut trees that are now virtually extinct. The main lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Contact info:
MP 51
Skyline Drive, VA 22851 USA
phone: 540-999-2222
web: www.goshenandoah.com/Big-Meadows-Lodge.aspx

Room amenities: Coffee maker, clock radio

Facility amenities: Rooms are simply furnished and do not have phones. Wi-Fi is available free of charge to guests in the main lodge. Meals are at the Spottswood Dining Room, bright and rustic with timbered ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. A sitting room has chairs for reading, tables for games and puzzles, and big picture windows overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Located within the main lodge are the New Market Taproom, an evening option which offers entertainment, and the Craft Shop.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, July 23 - Morning class/ Afternoon hike/ Performance
Breakfast: Breakfast in the Spottswood Dining room

Morning: Class this morning will be on the geological history of the Blue Ridge.

Lunch: Lunch in the Spottswood Dining room

Afternoon: This afternoon is our longest hike of the program, to Dark Hollow Falls. The round-trip distance is about 5 miles. The first mile is relatively flat across meadows, but the next mile and a half does include a fair amount of slope, as one might expect when hiking on a mountain. Return is by the same route.

Dinner: Dinner in the Spottswood Dining room

Evening: Musical entertainment in the Lodge meeting room will be from the traditional American songbook, and is likely to include more than a few sing-alongs.

Lodging: Big Meadows Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Located within Shenandoah National Park, Big Meadows Lodge was built in 1939 with stones cut from the Massanutten Mountains to the west. In recent years the interior has been restored to its original look and furnishings, featuring wood paneling made from native chestnut trees that are now virtually extinct. The main lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Contact info:
MP 51
Skyline Drive, VA 22851 USA
phone: 540-999-2222
web: www.goshenandoah.com/Big-Meadows-Lodge.aspx

Room amenities: Coffee maker, clock radio

Facility amenities: Rooms are simply furnished and do not have phones. Wi-Fi is available free of charge to guests in the main lodge. Meals are at the Spottswood Dining Room, bright and rustic with timbered ceiling and floor to ceiling windows. A sitting room has chairs for reading, tables for games and puzzles, and big picture windows overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Located within the main lodge are the New Market Taproom, an evening option which offers entertainment, and the Craft Shop.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, July 24 - Morning class/ Afternoon field trip/ Ranger progr...
Breakfast: Breakfast in the Spottswood Dining room

Morning: Class this morning is about the music of the Blue Ridge, a vital element of the culture of the area.

Lunch: Lunch at the Spottswood Dining room.

Afternoon: The field trip this afternoon is a special opportunity. We'll accompany a Park Ranger in a van on a winding drive to the Historic Rapidan Camp, a fishing camp where President Herbert Hoover stayed to get away from Washington when he was in office. The camp is today preserved as a museum.

Dinner: Dinner in the Spottswood Dining room

Evening: This evening we will enjoy a Park Ranger program either at the nearby amphitheater or around the campfire.

Lodging: Big Meadows Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, July 25 - Breakfast/ Departure
Breakfast: Breakfast in the Spottswood Dining room

Morning: Your program ends after breakfast. Room checkout is 11 am.

Morning: Travel safe!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
7 Expert-led lectures
5 Field trips
1 Performances

Ratings

4.5
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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