Day 177: Castle Chimneys In Virginia


time of year

C&O Canal Lock and McMahons Mill, Big Slackwater, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Williamsport, MD. Along the 184.5 miles of the canal are 74 lift locks. These locks were put into place to help boats overcome the 605-foot elevation change between Georgetown and Cumberland. It’s seems like a fantastic place to ride a bike. We parked at the McMahons Mill and walked just under a mile to lock 42. It was a very pretty and peaceful place for a morning walk.


difficulty: 1

Natural Chimney Park, Mount Solon, VA. Shenandoah Valley was once the floor of a great inland sea. Centuries ago, as that sea receded, the forces of nature etched out these impressive rock formations. The seven Natural Chimneys tower up to 120’ above the field below. From one angle, they look like an old castle. From another they look like the remnants of huge chimneys or giant claws. There are caves, sink holes and tunnels through the base. You can walk up to an observation area and view the towers from above where you’ll also get a great view of the surrounding mountains and countryside.


Douthat State Park, Millboro, VA. Douthat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because its design influenced the development of parks nationwide. This park is huge at 4,545 acres and a 50 acre lake stocked with trout and a beach. There’s a good camp store, good facilities, and lots of camping and cabins. We’re here late and only have time for a walk around the lake but there’s more than 40 miles of hiking to come back for. Weirdly, they don’t connect the lake trail without a fair bit of road walking at one end. It was a very pleasant, peaceful walk.


difficulty: 1

Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe, Lexington, VA. There just aren’t that many options near our hotel. It was good but not great. Both our ice creams had ice crystals inside. We probably won’t go back.


Wingate by Wyndham, Lexington, VA

Price: $105/night


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