During the heat wave last week, my son and I escaped to the relative coolness of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a long weekend of camping. I say relative because even though it was hot by mountain standards, in the low to mid 90’s, over the ridges in the Piedmont and down in Tidewater thermometers were cracking the 100 degree mark. The fact we were camping by the cool waters of Lake Sherando and could take dips on an as needed basis, also helped us to tolerate the high temperatures.
Lake Sherando is a nestled in the folds of the George Washington National Forest just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The fact that it is easy to get to, not too far from civilization and has a sandy swimming beach; make Sherando a very popular spot for daytrips as well as overnight camping. The early morning hours were quiet, but by mid-day the beach was in full use, with the surrounding mountains echoing the sounds of people having a good time. Though it is not a place for hardcore wilderness adventure, it is a great place to introduce children to the camping experience; in fact it was the first place I took my son camping.
First opening in 1936, the Civilian Conservation Corp created Lake Sherando and its facilities during The Great Depression. The bathhouse and visitor center are original and were constructed of local stone and timber and fit in with the setting perfectly. Being a federal property, this place belongs to all Americans and in my mind is money well spent. I hope the short sighted slash and burn mentality currently in vogue by many in Washington never compromises our ability to enjoy this little jewel, or any of our other national treasures.