Well the earth has circled around the sun again and today is the autumnal equinox. For me, this is my favorite time of the year to be out with a camera. Here in Northern VA we are exceptionally fortunate that there are scenic opportunities close by. Where ever you might be located, with a little research and planning you can find spots that show off the colors and the promises or threats of cold weather to come.
There are fairly expensive, but totally worth it places, like the beautiful Homestead Resort, where you can go and retreat for a weekend.
You don’t have to travel very far or spend a lot of money to find great leaf peeping. Here are four of my favorite local outing spots where it is easy to get great fall shots. All of them are within an hour of Warrenton.
Number 4 is up Route 17 near Paris, VA and it is Sky Meadow State Park. A huge meadow, scenic ponds and a variety of hiking trails including access to the Appalachian Trail makes this a good place for a family outing.
My 3rd favorite fall haunt has to be traveling down Skyline drive. The views are amazing, but I have to warn you, during peak life color traffic can be a pain. The speed limit is intentionally set at 35 mph and that annoys some people. They seem to want to play Speed Racer and get through it as fast as possible. You can take Skyline Drive starting at Front Royal and cruise for 130 miles down along the Shenandoah near Blacksburg. There is plenty of wild life including black bears. The park normally costs $15 dollars per car, but this Saturday, September 26th, you can get free entrance onto Skyline Driveas it is National Public Lands Day—Get out and go!
My Second favorite place has to be the little town of Sperryville. It is located at the intersection of Rt. 211 and Rt. 522 and sits right on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are magnificent old trees including Maples and Oaks which seem to burst into fall flame. The older houses seem timeless as they decorate for fall. The town has good places to eat, neat little art galleries and is near a lot of friendly wineries. Go out early shoot some pictures, grab a bite to eat, drink a little wine and then shoot some more.
Now the place I love most of all during fall, and spring and summer is the gorgeous Shenandoah River State Park. Just outside of Front Royal, it has some of the most amazing views I’ve found anywhere. You can sit up on the viewing platform of the overlook and see the river and the valley and the colors fading off into the blue horizon, or you can trek down to the easily accessible parking lot and take the trails along the river. I don’t think this park gets as many visitors as it deserves and in some ways that is ok with me.
f you have spots you would like to share please post them to the blog or to our facebook page. This weekend Roger is hosting a Photowalk up at Harpers Ferry for 500px. It is spectacular this time of year. Unfortunately, we are committed elsewhere.
The leaves change an fall too quickly. Take your camera and create some fall magic for yourselves.