Driving into the area I missed the turn (darn GPS!) so we got to enjoy the local countryside getting to Lake Anna State Park. The local rural farms along the rolling hills were so beautiful. This is what happens sometimes, it’s nice not to be in a hurry and take it as it comes. (Norma calls it our “adventures.”)
Lake Anna State Park
Lake Anna is one of the largest freshwater inland lakes in Virginia, covering an area of 13,000 acres and is one of the most popular recreational lakes in the state. This lake was created for a nuclear power plant’s cooling system, and there was a warning sign at entrance to the state park about what to do if a siren sounded. (I think the first step is to kiss your loved ones goodbye.) When the lake was dug it was predicted to take 3 yrs to fill but it happened in only 18 months due to Hurricane Agnes in 1972. This caught the construction crews off guard, and some large earth moving equipment is still on the bottom on the lake.
On the first evening at our site we noticed another Leisure Travel Van at the site next to us. It’s rare to see two LTVs parked next to each other. We met the couple from the other LTV and shared our stories. They were recent retirees (one month) and just starting out on a trip and seemed a little lost trying to figure out what they wanted to do. I remember back when we were the “newbies” and freshly retired.
While we were here a wonderful cool front passed through and we enjoyed our hikes through the woods to the lake. One of the highlights though was our nightly strolls around the park, the skies were lit up with stars – it was breathtaking!
While at the park we decided to take a park ranger led private (2 rangers & us) kayak trip and now we are hooked. (And shopping for a kayak!) We enjoyed a peaceful paddle along the shores of Lake Anna into Ware Creek. The rangers let us take the lead to give us the best chance of spotting wildlife, we were fortunate to see beavers, osprey, turkey vultures, snakes and turtles. (The beavers were really big! I would guess they were 60 lbs. each.)
Farmer’s Market in Fredericksburg
Surprise, surprise we went to another farmer’s market. It was in downtown historic Fredericksburg and the stands were all staffed by farmers! This may not sound like a big deal to you but so often our Farmer’s Markets are really crafts markets. It was refreshing to see fresh vegetables and farm raised meat at the market.
Road Trip to Monticello
While in this part of Virginia we just had to make time to visit Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Jefferson spent 33 years in public life, serving as a delegate to the Virginia Assembly to Congress, as governor of Virginia, Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice President, and President. He drafted the Declaration of Independence with the unheard of idea that “all men are created equal.” He was against slavery but owned slaves, believing that the younger generation would have to tackle that task. During his Presidency the Louisiana Purchase was made, doubling the size of the United States, and the Lewis and Clark expedition was funded.
Jefferson designed (and redesigned) Monticello over a period of 40 years. It was his laboratory to experiment and try new ideas. His home had double pane windows, skylights, a clock in the entrance hall that gave the time/day of the week, and a personal library which later became the nucleus of the Library of Congress. Jefferson even gave dinner parties where the guests had to serve themselves (buffet style) which was unheard of in early 1800’s. All of these were radical ideas for his time and there were many more.
Jefferson believed that education was key and he founded the University of Virginia after he retired from public life. A great quote from Jefferson is “I cannot live without books” and I know several members of my family and friends feel the same way.
Unfortunately, Jefferson died in debt and everything was sold off. Fortunately, a great admirer of Jefferson purchased the home and saved it for us to tour.