Monday, August 13, 2012

Blue Ridge Mountains' Majesty

Looking NW from Carter Mountain, Fall 2011
Did you know that the Inn at Monticello is located within half an hour of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail?  The Blue Ridge Mountains are more than 400 million years old, but still beautiful after all those years!

Within minutes of the Inn are some historically important (and spectacular) Blue Ridge foothills, Montalto and Carter Mountain.  Montalto, the mountain next to Monticello, rises 410 feet above its neighbor, with a total elevation of 1,278 feet.  Thomas Jefferson purchased it in 1777 from Edward Carter and held it until the time of his death in 1826.  Carter Mountain (named after Edward's family) is next to Montalto and is best known today for its vineyards and its apple and peach orchards.  In 1781, Carter Mountain served as Virginia Governor Jefferson's escape route when the British tried to capture him at Monticello.  The views looking north, west and east from both Montalto and Carter Mountain are spectacular.    

The Rose River, near White Oak Falls/Canyon and Old Rag Mountain,  Spring 2010
We also like the mountains around us for their hiking trails.  In the most recent edition of Albemarle Magazine, Alex Shannon has written an article titled "Take A Hike," that discusses favorite trails in our area, including those going to Crabtree Falls, Humpback Rocks, Monticello (the Saunders-Monticello Trail, right across the street from us!), White Oak Falls/Canyon, and Old Rag Mountain.  Coming up are a few events where you can enjoy walking some of these great trails and contributing to their upkeep.  On September 8th, the Monticello Trailblazers group is sponsoring a sunrise hike from the Monticello Visitors' Center to the summit of Montalto.  The trek starts at 5:45 a.m. but you will be invigorated by the views (and some strong coffee) once you reach the top.  On September 22nd, the Shenandoah National Park Trust is the beneficiary of "The Shenandoah Scramble," consisting of 6 separate hikes of varying degrees of difficulty.  Hope you will walk some of these trails and experience the majesty of the mountains.