The reward for walking up the rough-and-tumble St. Mary’s River in the Wilderness of the same name is modest St. Mary’s Falls, about two miles into the largest of Virginia’s official Wildernesses.
As the Wilderness Act celebrates its 50th anniversary, there’s no better time to explore one of Virginia’s 24 areas, all along the I-81 corridor from Harrisonburg south.
What you can do, if you’re of a mind and you have a free weekend this warm season, is trio up: the outdoors, the live music/dining and the place to stay.
The keys? Not too far away, a compelling reason/destination to go outside, equally luring music and dinner, and a place you don’t mind paying to sleep when you could be back home in your own bed for free.
And while the primary lure may well be getting to watch the likes of Jesse Winchester or Fred Eaglesmith right there a few feet in front of you, the most-lasting memory may well be the place you went into the woods and felt nearly lost a few times; wondered how you’d get across the stream; felt like you were out in a wilderness.
Because, up there around Staunton/Harrisonburg where I’m talking about, you were in a Wilderness.