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Our 4th stopover on this route from Tampa to Upstate NY is Shenandoah Valley Campground. It’s approximately 264 miles from our previous stop in Harmony, NC. We often stop here overnight when we travel I-81. It has a number of nice amenities like pizza and sandwiches available on the premises. That said I would also say it’s a better stop because of the Passport America half price rate.
Day 16 and 17 – Snowbird RV Trip Florida to Canada
Mt Airy, NC to Mt. Jackson, VA 231 miles
Shenandoah Family Campground is located just off I-81, VA Exit 269. This campground is only a year old and already popular with RVers looking for an overnight spot on their way North or South. The young couple running the place are very personable and ready to answer any questions.
This stopover deserves a little more attention than just a quick night off the road. To begin with the Town of New Market is the next Exit South and an easy drive to visit the well known site of the Battle of New Market during the War between the States. In fact on this particular weekend they are having a reenactment of the battle. There are hundreds of the small white tents set up in various areas of the Park and blue and gray uniforms are everywhere.
Since we had only the one full day we opted for one of the other big area attractions and that is the Shenandoah National Park and a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This most Northern section runs for 30 miles along the crest from the Thornton Gap Entrance near our campground to the Northern Entrance at Front Royal, Virginia.
Admission is free with an America the Beautiful or Senior National Park Pass.
We were fortunate in that it was one of those beautiful sunny days when you can see forever. There are wide, paved “pull-offs” at regular intervals with names like Jeremys Run Overlook at 2,410 ft that we stopped at along the way.
We stopped at “Elk Wallow” where they have a large picnic area, gift shop, and snack bar. We had lunch there and we have to say that the hot dog and grilled chicken sandwich were prepared fresh and were quite good. I might mention that if you are on a tight budget you may want to bring your own picnic lunch. Same goes for the souvenirs and camping supplies. They are the only source for miles around and the prices reflect this.
We did enjoy sitting and watching the crowd. This is a junction in the Appalachian Trail as well and there were hikers and bikers and tourists from all over the World. The bikers were talking about a wildcat and a bear cub they had seen on their journey.
“Hogback Overlook” was our next stop and it is the highest on this part of the Parkway at 3,385ft.
There are views from other overlooks with names like Gimlet Ridge (2,655ft), Hogwallow Flats (2,665ft), Jenkins Gap (2,355ft), and Gooney Run Overlook (2,085ft).
On our way down toward the Front Royal Northern exit/entrance we stopped at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (1,940ft) where Rangers are on hand to answer questions and, of course, there’s another gift/souvenir shop. This was perhaps the most relaxing place to view the Shenandoah Valley.
The last was the Shenandoah Valley Overlook (1,390ft). This stop had signs explaining what we were viewing as did many of the other Overlooks.
We had dinner in New Market our first evening here, at the suggestion of our campground host. The restaurant is called the Southern Kitchen and is located on South Congress Street. It has a 50’s/60’s style with a soda fountain and the jukebox selection boxes at the tables along the walls. We didn’t really enjoy the food that much and it is rather pricey. Again, we don’t complain about price if the food quality and service merit it. This place is not a good value. However we do recommend a frozen custard stand also in New Market on US-211 just as you start out of town toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. They have a hot fudge brownie creation that you won’t soon forget!
Other reasons to make this campground a stopover? On the same street as the campground is the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory. They do give tours during the week with samples and they do have a retail outlet.
This is also a great starting point for a visit to either the Luray or Shenandoah Caverns nearby.
Gas at this Exit is $3.359.
Our next stop will be Dover, Pennsylvania.
More information about:
Shenandoah Family Campground
168 Industrial Park Road, Mt. Jackson (Quicksburg), Virginia 22842
(540) 477-3080 PA/$23.50
PT, 20/30/50Amp, FHU, Free WiFi & Cable. Passport America/1 night – Sunday through Thursday only.
43 total RV sites, can accommodate RV’s up to 70ft, 30/50 amp, dump station, back-ins, pull-thrus, full hookups, tent sites, Cable TV, Wi-Fi, restrooms, showers, laundry, handicap accessible, swimming pool, playground, BBQ, fire rings, picnic tables, horseshoes, recycling, security, restaurant, store, propane and ice.