Hazeltop, originally uploaded by Matthew Singer.

This past weekend, my mom came to Luray to visit me. We spent Saturday in town at the annual Festival of Spring. Main Street is shut down to traffic and the stores and other vendors set up shop on the street. We spent a good deal of time at the wine tasting area, where there ten or so local wineries set up with their products to taste. I tried everything. There were your traditional wines, Chardonet, Merlot, Shiraz, etc. And there were some new ones, wines made from fruits other than grapes, one made with hot peppers, and even a wine made with chocolate.

The other highlight of the day was the dog frisbee competition. Sandy entered Bizzy, who just couldn’t compete with the seasoned veterans. They did win 2nd in the free-style event. I didn’t even bother to enter Shadow. She was uninterested in the discs, but she was happy to watch all the other dogs.

Sunday, we went for a hike in the national park. I chose a nice 7-mile loop over Hazeltop, then down to Rapidan Camp and back to Skyline Drive. It was a bit cold out, but the weather was perfect. Spring had just hit the upper elevations, and many trees still had yet to produce their leaves. There were lots of Large-flowered Trillium and Wood Anemone along the Appalachian Trail. On the Laurel Prong Trail, we ran into a patch of Pink Lady’s Slippers, and later we found the elusive Showy Orchid.

Rapidan Camp was Herbert Hoover’s version of Camp David, a Presidential retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. The camp is located at the confluence of the Laurel Prong and Mill Prong where they form the Rapidan River. All that remains are the Brown House (president’s house), the Prime Minister’s Cabin for distinguished guests, and the Creel Cabin, currently used to occupy park service staff. There are exhibits set up in the other two buildings, but neither were open at the time. We did sit on the back porch of the Brown House to eat lunch and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the camp. We returned back to Skyline Drive by way of the Mill Prong Trail, stopping at Big Rock Falls for a photography break.