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

Program Number: 17170RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/12/2013 - 5/17/2013; 9/14/2014 - 9/19/2014; 7/19/2015 - 7/24/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Price starting at: $669.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; Walking/Hiking; History & Culture
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Immerse yourself in the history of Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn about personal sacrifices residents made in order to make possible Congress' 1926 "novel experiment" that gave birth to the Park and its famous Skyline Drive, which became a National Scenic Byway. And take hikes while basking in the splendor of the Park's natural beauty.




Highlights

• Explore mountains, forests, and meadows in Shenandoah National Park, the first established in the east, and traverse Skyline Drive with its gentle curves and many vistas.
• Enjoy daily hikes and special evening performances and talks.
• Stay overnight at Big Meadows Lodge inside the Park.



Activity Particulars

Walking and hiking up to three miles per day.




Date Specific Information

5-12-2013, 9-14-2014, 7-19-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Virginia Commonwealth University.




Shenandoah National Park

The first national park east of the Mississippi encompasses 200,000 acres and historic Big Meadows Lodge on Skyline Drive, a 105-mile-long scenic highway atop the Blue Ridge. Nestled between Shenandoah Valley and the Piedmont hills 65 miles west of Washington, D.C., the park draws hikers, campers, birders and wildlife watchers.



Accommodations
NPS-owned Big Meadows Lodge inside Shenandoah National Park.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Katharine Brown

Katharine Brown grew up in a Victorian mansion with a great-grandmother who told tales of family in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Katharine earned a Ph.D. in history at The Johns Hopkins University in 1969, has taught at several universities, and has written 12 books on American social history. She has been the director of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, and recently taught art and history at Mary Baldwin College.
 
Woody McKenzie

Woody and Marcia McKenzie are long-time residents of Virginia’s New River Valley and now live in Lynchburg. Woody builds instruments and is accomplished on guitar and mandolin, but fiddle is his greatest love. Marcia’s favorite instrument is her voice, but she plays the mandolin, guitar, clawhammer banjo, rhythm piano, drums and various whistles. Their repertoire of lively tunes, familiar ballads, sing-alongs and humorous novelty songs creates energetic entertainment.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Stonewall Jackson Hotel
  Staunton, VA 5 nights
 Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Stonewall Jackson opened in 1924 and was fully renovated in 2005. It is a full-service luxury hotel in the Colonial Revival style. With its historical character, custom interiors, and warm finishes, it was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a winner of the Great American Main Street Award. An original 1924 one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ/piano graces the ballroom. The Hotel is located next to the Blackfriars Playhouse and just one block from Beverley Street, downtown Staunton's main street with coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and bookstores.
  Contact info: 24 South Market Street
Staunton, VA 24401 USA
phone: 540-885-4848
web: www.stonewalljacksonhotel.com
  Room amenities: High speed internet access, telephones with data port and voice mail, cable TV, coffeepots, hair dryers, iron and ironing boards in all rooms.
  Facility amenities: Hotel has a restaurant, lounge, business center including computer with internet access, guest laundry, fitness facility, and indoor pool with a whirlpool. Parking is available in the adjacent New Street Parking Garage, with elevators to the hotel, for $4 per day.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Based on season & availability Based on season and availability
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Based on season & availability Based on season and availability
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30-5:00 PM in hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Stonewall Jackson Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after early lunch at 11:30 AM. Room checkout is 12:00 noon. You will be staying at Stonewall Jackson Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. none
  Parking availability:
Parking at municipal deck adjacent to hotel is $4 per day.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Staunton, VA
  Nearest city or town:  Harrisonburg to the north, Waynesboro to the east
  Nearest highway: North-south: I-81 and US Rt 11; East-west: I-64 and US Rt 250
  Nearest airport:  Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, Weyers Cave (20 miles away)
  From End of Program
  Location: Staunton, VA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

AMTRAK to Staunton

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Public Transportation
Town trolley

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Free trolley, operates May to December
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

A short walk, or 20-25 minutes depending on trolley route & timing 

 

Distance:

 

2 blocks

   

Train arrives at Staunton Depot. The hotel is close to the depot but up a hill. From the depot, walk one block up S. New St. to the municipal parking garage that is adjacent to the hotel. To avoid almost all of the climb, enter the garage and take the elevator up to the hotel lobby. Alternatively, the public trolley is a pleasant ride in fair weather, but to reach the hotel only two blocks away can require a rather long trip to the outskirts of town before the route loops back to the hotel.

 

Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) to Staunton

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Shuttle to Staunton
phone: 540-234-8304
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$30
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1/2 hour 

 

Distance:

 

20-25 miles

   

Email at shdshuttle@flyshd.com. Cost at last report was $30 per trip to Staunton. Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport contact is 540-234-8304 or www.flyshd.com.

 
Driving Directions
  From the East, from Richmond to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel Take I-64 west over the Blue Ridge to I-81. Turn north on I-81 and take the next exit, Staunton Exit 222. Take US Rt 250 west (Richmond Road) about 2.5 miles toward Historic Downtown Staunton. When Hwy 250 ends at a "T" intersection, bear right and go under the train tracks. Go straight ahead at the light (follow the Historical Signs) up Coalter Street and turn left on Frederick Street (the street after Beverley). Proceed on Frederick St to the first stoplight, turn left onto Market Street, and go 2 blocks on Market. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel will be on the right. Parking is in the municipal garage beneath the hotel--proceed around the block (and down the hill) to the entrance. An elevator to the Hotel lobby is available from the garage.
  From the North or South on I-81 to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel Take I-81 to Staunton Exit 222. Take US Rt 250 west (Richmond Road) about 2.5 miles toward Historic Downtown Staunton. When Hwy 250 ends at a "T" intersection, bear right and go under the railroad bridge. At the stoplight go straight (following the Historical signs) for 3 blocks up Coalter Street and turn left on Frederick Street (the street after Beverley). Proceed on Frederick St to the first stoplight, turn left on Market Street and proceed 2 blocks. The front doors to Stonewall Jackson Hotel will be on the right. Parking is in the municipal garage beneath the hotel--proceed around the block (and down the hill) to the entrance. An elevator to the Hotel lobby is available from the garage.
Elevation Note: Mountains are near but do not exceed 3000 feet in the areas visited on field trips.

Equipment Requirements: Comfortable walking shoes for field trips. Clothing for inclement weather is recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration, Social Hour, Orientation
(Sunday, May 12)
   
 Afternoon: Welcome to Staunton! 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 hotel dining room
 Evening: Orientation in the classroom.
   
Accommodations: Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Classes
(Monday, May 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 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. Two field trips led by our naturalist/instructor to Shenandoah National Park include drives along the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at overlooks and taking advantage of a number of the trails for short hikes. Evenings include classes and entertainment, with a special performance of Appalachian music, with talented musicians using traditional instruments. Class this morning: Origin of Mountains (Note: This is a sample schedule. Actual schedule may differ depending on availability of instructors. )
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel
 Afternoon: Class: Pioneering People of the Shenandoah
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Free evening to explore downtown Staunton, see a performance at the Blackfriars Playhouse next door, or take a trolley around town.
   
Accommodations: Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Classes and field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway
(Tuesday, May 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Led by our naturalist/instructor, a field trip by bus to Shenandoah National Park. Part of the drive will take in the wonderful views of first the Blue Ridge Parkway and then of Skyline Drive. 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: Lunch in the hotel
 Afternoon: Continued classes/field trip to explore Shenandoah National Park.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Class: Ecology of the Shenandoah National Park
   
Accommodations: Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Morning class/Free afternoon
(Wednesday, May 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Class this morning: People of the Shenandoah National Park
 Lunch: Lunch in the hotel
 Afternoon: Your time is your own after lunch. The Woodrow Wilson Museum and Library is a few blocks away, the Frontier Culture Museum is a short drive away, and the shops and attractions of downtown Staunton are close by.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Class: Folklore of the Shenandoah
   
Accommodations: Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Field trip on Skyline Drive to Shenandoah National Park
(Thursday, May 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Expect a moving panorama on our field trip today, as we travel by bus through the Shenandoah Valley—with the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Alleghenies to the west—to enter Shenandoah National Park. We’ll cruise Skyline Drive, with stops for selected overlooks and short hikes.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Park
 Afternoon: Field trip to Shenandoah National Park continues
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel
 Evening: Enjoy a delightful evening entertainment of "Music with the McKenzies" - this husband and wife duo perform Appalachian music with authentic period instruments, great voices, and good humor!
   
Accommodations: Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Classes on Ecology
(Friday, May 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Classes on the ecology of Shenandoah National Park.
 Lunch: Early lunch in the hotel
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The greatest single feature--a sky-line drive: 75 years of a mountaintop motorway


Author: Reed L. Engle


Description: A pictorial history about the planning and construction of Skyline Drive



Wildflowers of Shenandoah National Park: a pocket field guide


Author: Ann Simpson and Rob Simpson


Along Virginias Appalachian Trail


Author: Leonard M. Adkins and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy


Description: A pictorial history that covers sections in both Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway





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