It was a chilly day when I visited, too cool for the beetles, but skies were clear and the sun bright - uplifting for February. There were still patches of snow on the ground from the latest (and hopefully final) storm of the season just days previous. In order to get to the dunes and beach you must first walk through a thicket of young Sweetgums (Liquidambar styraciflua) so thick you can barely see more than 20' in. Soon after you enter a more diverse forest with a mix of Oaks, Maples and American Hollies, but the most dominant tree species is the Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda). Where the dunes begin the forest thins and eventually you reach the beach where Mother Chesapeake comes into view.
At one end of the beach is a drowned forest, where among the exposed roots discarded ropes and netting are trapped and barnacle gardens grow. All of this is perhaps best viewed from what appears to me to be the perfectly sized and perfectly located beach cottage, just outside the refuge bounds.
At the other end of the beach I found my throne, which was not that easy to get into, nor that comfortable....
... but what a commanding view.
Though this was my first visit, I know I will be back. It is the kind of place where you are not likely to see many other people, and it will be great place to gather thoughts and to study water and sky. I know that the sunsets here must be glorious as the beach faces west, unusually for people on this coast.
If you would like to learn more about Savage Neck Dunes, here is a link to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and if you would like to see more of the day's photos, here is a link to my Flickr set.