Hot summer fun in North Carolina, Virginia, and wild West Virginia

After being in Marietta, GA almost all summer, we decided to take to the road again. We left “Hotlanta” to go north to more heat. In early August, we went to Western NC to see family, friends, and Jason played in the Asheville Open disc golf tournament. Also, I reconnected with a former supervisor. She and her husband renovated and moved into a very cool historic house near downtown Asheville. Their house was named Far Away and built by E.W. Grove of the nearby Grove Park Inn. You can see the before pictures here and I’ve shared one picture below of the fireplace after renovation. It’s amazing what they have done!

We often go to Hendersonville to relax with family but this time we tried some new touristy activities such as biking along the Oklawaha Greenway and floating on the French Broad. Both were a blast. And of course, we had to go to my favorite ice cream haunt, Dolly’s (only open in summer), near the Pisgah National Forest. Upon returning to GA, we visited more family and revisited local areas such as Carters Lake and the Rich Mountain Wilderness Area near the Chattahoochee National Forest. We also discovered the Toccoa Swinging Bridge. 


Later in August, we headed north to WV for the West Virginia Open, an annual disc tournament at a course called Paw Paw, a huge piece of private land with two courses. It was very hot, and we made our first attempt at boondocking (so no air conditioning) for multiple days. We met up with friends who continued camping with us (they had their own rig/trailer) to Westmoreland State Park in VA for more boondocking. While there we checked out a gorgeous and challenging private disc golf course called Lake Marshall.

After Westmoreland S.P., Jason and I headed back west to Shenandoah State Park in VA. Even though we had been there before, we saw new places and biked along a section of the Potomac River. We felt like we had come full circle since this is the same park where we spent our first night after hitting the road almost exactly one year before.

In between the VA state parks, we headed to Harpers Ferry, WV, and once again visited our friend who runs the Stone House B & B but this time we stayed in our first-ever Kampground of America (KOA). We discovered that most KOAs have tons of entertainment and this one was no exception. They had mini golf, a bounce pad, and even a mini movie theatre. Plus, we had a full hook-up, so we were able to cool off at night with a/c. Did I mention it was very hot?

We have been to Harpers Ferry many times, but we were with folks who had never been, so we tried something new. We floated down the Potomac but unlike the calm French Broad River in NC, this part of the Potomac River had rapids. We caught a nice view of the town of Harpers Ferry from the water but I will share that I had an extremely unnerving experience. Since I have already admitted this to my Mom, I can share it here. As a group of four, we were each in our own small raft. Mine was a round tube and I had no paddle. The river was quite wide with lots of rocks popping out. I was heading toward a big rapid and was not able to steer away. I flipped out in the first rapids and was flushed to shallow waters where I landed forcefully on my knees. I lost my hat but held onto my tube. I was shaken! I seriously considered making a beeline to land and walking back but two very nice kayakers directed me to safety and gave me the courage to finish the trip.

Our last stop in WV was the Dolly Sods Wilderness area. This special place is a small section of the larger Monongahela National Forest. It is on the Allegheny Plateau and the Allegheny Front marks the Eastern Continental Divide. Dolly Sods is unusual because its elevation ranges from 2500-4700 feet. It has huge open expanses and the scenery feels like a place much farther north. It rained much of our visit, as it often does in Dolly Sods (maybe they should call it Dolly Sogs) but it was still beautiful. It is very remote and one of those well-kept secrets so that you barely see anyone while you are hiking around. We stayed at Red Creek Campground (no hookups) with only 11 sites, and they are on a first come first served basis. We were relieved to arrive and find a site easily on a weekday.

As we were heading south away from Dolly Sods we passed through more forests and the scenery was amazing. There were so many trees and in places, there were steep rock formations (near Seneca Rocks) and even a humongous telescope. That’s right. As we were driving in the middle of the wilderness of WV, suddenly you could see a large piece of metal popping up from the trees.  It looked otherworldly, and we thought our eyes were playing tricks on us.  As it turns out, we passed the home of the Greenbank Telescope, one of the world’s largest moving structures. We didn’t take any pictures because it was a fleeting moment while we were driving, but if you search Google images of the Greenbank Telescope, you will see what I mean.

After WV, we headed to Tennessee to explore the Great Smoky Mountains and the surrounding area, but I’ll save the rest of this expedition for my next travel blog.

P.S. This November, I released my first book. The Purple Parachute: A Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Winds of Career Change.  If you want to find out more about it, please go to