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 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

81-Year-Old Bridge Demolished

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The old Route 7 bridge, a two-lane span built over Goose Creek in 1932, connecting Leesburg to eastern Loudoun County, is no more. Demolition was completed this month after the county decided not to fund it’s rehabilitation. Since the 1980s, the bridge served as a scenic overlook for hikers and bikers of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and the Keep Loudoun Beautiful Park. I took this photo of the bridge during Hurricane Sandy when the flood waters crested inches below its span.

Camping at Burke Lake Park

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Burke Lake Park is located in Fairfax Station, Virginia and is owned and maintained by the Fairfax County Park Authority. The centerpiece of this 888-acre park is 218-acre Burke Lake where guests can rent boats and canoes to angle for six different species of fish. The park also offers campgrounds, miniature train rides, a carousel, outdoor volleyball courts, an 18-hole par 3 golf course, disk golf, horse shoe pits, an ice cream parlor and snack bar, picnic areas with grills, playgrounds, and a miniature golf course. Pets are welcome in the park and must be leashed and supervised during their stay. Continue reading

Camping at Lake Fairfax Park

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Lake Fairfax Park is located in Reston, Virginia and is owned and maintained by the Fairfax County Park Authority. The highlight of this 476-acre park is 18-acre Lake Fairfax where guests can canoe, pedal boat, and fish for rainbow trout. The park also offers a one-acre waterpark, a restored antique carousel, playground, picnic areas, campgrounds, hiking trails, athletic fields, and a new skate park. Pets are welcome in the park and must be leashed and supervised during their stay. Continue reading