The 388-Year Old Atomic Bomb Survivor

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Prominently displayed at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the United States National Arboretum in Washington, D. C. is the remarkable bonsai known as the Hiroshima Survivor. This rare White Pine (Pinus parviflora ‘Miyajima’) from Miyajima Island in Japan was part of a bonsai collection in Hiroshima when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city, 6 August 1945. Continue reading

Camping at Assateague State Park

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Assateague State Park is located on Assateague Island near Berlin, Maryland and is owned and maintained by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The big draw of this 859-acre, ocean-front park is the population of feral horses that roam free on the island. The park also offers a visitor center, a 350-site campground, fishing, clamming, swimming, nature trails, bird watching, a boat launch and marina, a camp store and snack bar, and kayak rentals. Pets are welcome in restricted areas of the park. Continue reading

Out of this World


On the second Saturday of each month, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) hosts a public star-gazing event at Sky Meadows State Park near Paris, Virginia. The grassy field behind the 1860s era Mount Bleak House is transformed into an extraterrestrial observatory with dozens of high-tech, high-powered telescopes exploring and imaging the cosmos. Continue reading

Camping at Pocomoke River State Park

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Pocomoke River State Park is tucked away on Maryland’s lower eastern shore near Snow Hill, Maryland and is owned and maintained by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The highlight of this 15,000-acre park is the wild and scenic Pocomoke River, where locals and travelers come to boat, canoe, kayak, and fish. Pocomoke means black water, and the scenery is outstanding around these dark, tannin-stained waters. The river originates in the Great Cypress Swamp in Delaware and flows southwesterly 45 miles to the Chesapeake Bay. The surrounding forest is famous for its stand of loblolly pine and for its cypress swamps which border the river. There are several campgrounds in the park and they are divided into two separate areas by the Pocomoke; the Shad Landing Area on the south and the Milburn Landing Area on the north. The park offers riverfront campsites, mini cabins, picnic areas, a marina, watercraft rentals, multi-use trails, a camp store, playgrounds, and a swimming pool. Pets are allowed in the following areas:
Shad Landing:
– The marina day-use area, including the boat ramp area to board vessels.
– The Acorn Trail camping loop.
– They are allowed in all day-use areas after Labor Day to Memorial Day weekend.
Milburn Landing:
– Pets are welcome in all areas of the park. Continue reading

Camping at Shenandoah River State Park

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Shenandoah River State Park is one of my favorite campgrounds and is located near Bentonville, Virginia; it is owned and maintained by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. One of the highlights of this 1,619-acre park is the 5.6 miles of shoreline along the south fork of the Shenandoah River where guests can hike, canoe, kayak, tube, and fish. The park offers panoramic views of the George Washington National Forest to the west and the Shenandoah National Park to the east along 24 miles of trails—seven of which are multi-use. There are riverfront campsites, cabins, picnic areas, a car-top canoe/kayak launch, horse stables (bring your own horse), and a playground. Pets are welcome in the park and must be leashed and supervised during their stay. Continue reading