The Appalachian Trail is an epic roughly 2,180-mile stretch between Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way up to Katahdin in Maine.
For some, hiking through the trail’s 14 states is a months-long adventure filled as much with nature as new friends. “I love walking and thinking,” says Corky, 52, who’s been hiking the trail since April 5 and is expecting to finish sometime in August. “It’s stunningly beautiful here. It’s also about the people — you meet people you never would have otherwise.”
But for the rest of us — for whom tasting a smaller slice of the Appalachian is more realistic — Virginia’s Daleville, where we met Corky on a supply run, is a fantastic place to start. It’s just one of the many places where the trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway, a National Park that stretches 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia.
One of Virginia’s most scenic and historically significant counties, Botetourt is filled with rolling hills, scenic rivers, and historic towns — all framed by majestic mountain backdrops. It goes without saying that there’s plenty of outdoor recreation here.
Check out the Greenfield Trail System, a 125-acre park with access to hiking, horseback riding, and sports fields; or the Upper James River Water Trail, with 45 miles of the Upper James (14 of which is designated as a Virginia Scenic River).
While you’re in the area, history buffs can visit Historic Fincastle and its restored courthouse, blacksmith shop, jail, churches, and many beautiful historic homes — including an original log cabin depicting pioneer life, outfitted with furnishings and tools of the time.
The 200-year history of Fincastle includes numerous visits by President Thomas Jefferson, whose signature you can see on a document in the courthouse vaults, and William Clark, who returned here after his epic journey with Meriwether Lewis to marry a local girl.The Historical Museum behind the courthouse is open seven days a week, and walking tours can also be arranged.
Hungry hikers shouldn’t miss lunch at the White Oak Tea Tavern, a pub-style tearoom situated in the Cloyd House built in 1783. The tavern serves two delicious chicken salad sandwich options along with a huge selection of house-blended teas.
We have real-life testimony from locals Lois Carter Kerns and her mother, who have been coming here every Thursday for years.
“We love the food and every single tea; you can’t go wrong,” Kerns says. “It’s so lovely, we just pretend we’re on a little vacation when we come here.”
Read full article by Shelley Seale on Shermans Travel.