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Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail: Naturalist Study in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

Program Number: 11662RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/4/2014 - 5/9/2014; 5/18/2014 - 5/23/2014; 9/7/2014 - 9/12/2014; 9/28/2014 - 10/3/2014; 10/5/2014 - 10/10/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Abingdon, Virginia
Price starting at: $627.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Bicycling; Science & Nature Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Ride the beautiful Blue Ridge highlands of Virginia on expert-led bicycle rides to experience rich history and its variety of nature. Bike through cool forests and over high, wooden railroad bridges on the Virginia Creeper Trail, a scenic retired corridor of the Virginia-Carolina Railroad.




Highlights

Bike the entire 35-mile Virginia Creeper Trail plus enjoy a ride amid the mountain bogs of Shady Valley, Tenn.
Attend a performance at the Barter Theatre, official State Theatre of Virginia.
Discover the creativity of Southwest Virginia by experiencing the artisans and musicians of Heartwood.



Activity Particulars

Biking 14-35 miles per day on mostly level terrain. Elevations of 3,000 feet. Mountain bikes provided.



For an adventure that combines kayaking the Clinch River with biking the Virginia Creeper, see Program #20705.



Coordinated by Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center.




Abingdon

Founded in 1778, this historic community in the Blue Ridge highlands has long been a center of culture and natural beauty, attracting visitors to its Depression-era Barter Theater and nearby recreational trails in the woodland hills.



Accommodations
Hotel-style lodging in modern conference center.
Meals and Lodgings
   Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
  Abingdon, VA 5 nights
 Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Small conference center with modern facilities, each room with a private bath. Located in a scenic, but convenient location to downtown area attractions.
  Contact info: 25236 Hillman Highway
Abingdon, VA 24210 USA
phone: 276-676-6180
web: www.ext.vt.edu/resources/4h/southwest
  Room amenities: Air conditioning. Private bath
  Facility amenities: Air conditioning. Computer lab with access to the internet. Communal comfort lobby with television, telephone, and access to games and puzzles. Communal kitchen facility with access to microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker. 25 acres of woodland with walking trails. 53 acres of open land for recreation. Fishing pond. Outdoor swimming pool.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $32.00 plus tax. Reservations for additional nights must be made in advance by calling 276-676-6180
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $32.00 plus tax. Reservations for additional nights must be made in advance by calling 276-676-6180


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3 PM. You will be staying at Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center that night.
  End of Program:
9 AM. You will be staying at Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available for the entire duration of the program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Abingdon, VA
  Nearest highway: Interstate-81
  Nearest airport:  Tri-Cities Regional Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Abingdon, VA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Kingsport, TN

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
4-H Center
phone: 276-676-6180
Advanced Reservations Required

   

The 4-H Center is sometimes able to provide transportation from Tri-Cities Airport near Kingsport, TN. Please call ahead to arrange transportation.

 
Driving Directions
  From the North via I-77 Take Interstate 77 south to Virginia. In Wytheville get on Interstate 81 South. Travel for approximately 50 miles on I-81. Take exit 22 (Enterprise Road). Turn right at the end of the exit ramp. Drive until you arrive at a stop sign and turn left onto Hillman Highway. The 4-H Center is approximately 1.5 miles on the left. The Dickenson Conference Center (2 story brick building) will be on the left. Turn left into the Dickenson Conference Center parking lot and proceed to the parking area at the back of the building (unless you are an RVer - then park in the front).
  From the North via I-81 Take Interstate 81 South. Take exit 22 (Enterprise Road). Turn right at the end of the exit ramp. Drive until you arrive at a stop sign and turn left onto Hillman Highway. The 4-H Center is approximately 1.5 miles on the left. The Dickenson Conference Center (2 story brick building) will be on the left. Turn left into the Dickenson Conference Center parking lot and proceed to the parking area at the back of the building (unless you are an RVer - then park in the front).
  From the South via I-77 Take Interstate 77 north to Virginia. In Fort Chiswell get on Interstate 81 South. Travel for approximately 58 miles on I-81. Take exit 22 (Enterprise Road). Turn right at the end of the exit ramp. Drive until you arrive at a stop sign and turn left onto Hillman Highway. The 4-H Center is approximately 1.5 miles on the left. The Dickenson Conference Center (2 story brick building) will be on the left. Turn left into the Dickenson Conference Center parking lot and proceed to the parking area at the back of the building (unless you are an RVer - then park in the front).
  From the South via I-81 Take Interstate I-81 North. Take exit 19 (Abingdon) and travel South on US Route 11 to the first stoplight (Hillman Highway). Turn right onto Hillman Highway. Travel approximately 1.5 miles. Dickenson Conference Center (2 story brick building) will be on your right. Turn right and proceed to the parking area in back of the building (unless you are an RVer - then park in the front). The Dickenson Conference Center is part of the larger Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center.
Elevation Note: Whitetop Mountain has an elevation of 5520 feet. We will bike down the mountain on a 3% grade.

Equipment Requirements: Mountain bikes and helmets will be provided as part of the program. Participants will need to bring rain gear, good hiking shoes, and comfortable clothing.
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/Program Orientation
(Sunday, October 5)
   
 Arrive To: 3:00-5:00 pm arrival and registration to Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
 Dinner: In dining hall at 4-H Center
 Evening: Orientation to biking program. Meet with guide. Get acquainted.
   
Accommodations: Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Biking - Abingdon to Damascus/Overview of Southwest Virginia
(Monday, October 6)
   
 Breakfast: At 4-H Center dining hall
 Morning: Bike a 14 mile section of the Virginia Creeper Trail from Abingdon to Damascus. Level terrain. Intermediate biking level. *Biking content is flexible and easily adjusted to accommodate the size and interests of the group.*
 Lunch: Bagged lunch on the trail.
 Afternoon: Complete the biking trip after lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying free time in the area or resting. Optional afternoon biking opportunities may be available.
 Dinner: In 4-H Center dining hall
 Evening: Watch a video that features the town of Abingdon and its rich history and a documentary focusing on the people and culture of this region.
   
Accommodations: Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Biking - White Top to Damascus
(Tuesday, October 7)
   
 Breakfast: In 4-H Center dining hall
 Morning: 17 miles from Whitetop Mountain (elevation 5520 ft) to Damascus (elevation approx. 2100 ft) on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Downward, Steady grade. Intermediate level biking through national forest on well-groomed trail. *Biking content is flexible and easily adjusted to accommodate the size and interests of the group.*
 Lunch: Bagged lunch on the trail
 Afternoon: Complete the biking trip ater lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying free time in the area or resting. Optional afternoon biking opportunities may be available.
 Dinner: Dine in 4-H Center dining hall
 Evening: Enjoy an evening of Celtic musical entertainment provided by local musicians.
   
Accommodations: Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Biking - Shady Valley and the old cranberry bog
(Wednesday, October 8)
   
 Breakfast: In 4-H Center dining hall
 Morning: Bike through Shady Valley, Tennessee and enjoy interpretive stops along the way at a Cranberry mountain bog, an old growth conifer forest, and other lands managed by the Nature Conservancy. *Biking content is flexible and easily adjusted to accommodate the size and interests of the group. Depending on group preference, ride is 5-10 miles.*
 Lunch: Bagged lunch at Damascus town park.
 Afternoon: Complete the biking trip ater lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying free time in the area or resting. Optional afternoon biking opportunities may be available.
 Dinner: In 4-H Center dining hall
 Evening: Attend a performance at the world famous Barter Theatre, State Theatre of Virginia
   
Accommodations: Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Biking - White Top to Abingdon - the whole trail
(Thursday, October 9)
   
 Breakfast: In 4-H Center dining hall
 Morning: Bike the entire Virginia Creeper Trail, 35 miles from Abingdon to the North Carolina state line at White Top. This beautiful trail always has more to offer and a second look is often more interesting than the first. *Biking content is flexible and easily adjusted to accommodate the size and interests of the group.*
 Lunch: Bagged lunch at a picnic area
 Afternoon: Complete the biking trip ater lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying free time in the area or resting. Optional afternoon biking opportunities may be available.
 Dinner: In the 4-H Center dining hall
 Evening: Enjoy music of a local flavor, usually bluegrass, at the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance Pickin' Porch.
   
Accommodations: Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Check-out
(Friday, October 10)
   
 Breakfast: In 4-H Center dining hall
 Morning: Check-out
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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


Abingdon Virginia


Author: Donna Akers Warmuth


Description: In this book it "celebrates the town's singular heritage by offering readers a rare find of almost 200 photographs, showcasing many well-known town entities, personalities, and businesses from the past century. These images portray such structures as the Stonewall Jackson Female Institute, the Abingdon Academy, the Belmont Hotel, and the Martha Washington Inn, as well as the Barter Theater,"



The Virginia Creeper Trail Companion


Author: Edward H. Davis & Edward B. Morgan


Description: This book is "a guidebook which will enable the user to understand the trail's origin as an important railroad and the natural world one encounters along this scenic route. With photos, old train schedules, detailed maps, and essays on geology, trees, wildflowers, fish, birds, and mammals, The Companion will enhance the trail experience for anyone who travels this route" *This book is available at the 4-H center to read*



Virginia Highlands


Author: Susan J. Harrington


Description: General descriptions and history of the local area and surrounding counties. Including Wythe, Smyth, Grayson, and Washington Counties.



Washington County


Author: Donna Akers Warmuth


Description: "With over 200 images, Washington County provides an intricate visit to yesteryear of this rural region with scenes of the Virginia Creeper trains and railroads and the larger communities of Damascus, Meadowview, and Glade Spring, as well as early photographs of the smaller communities"





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