Shenandoah National Park

     After leaving Connecticut we drove all of 1 hour to Rhode Island to the Rhythm & Roots Music Festival in Ninigret Park to celebrate Labor Day weekend.  The festival offers a wide variety of genres, but there is a heavy emphasis on Zydaco & Cajun music.  Bluegrass, blues, jazz, etc. are also featured.  Artists such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Marcia Ball, Natalie MacMaster and Rosanne Cash graced the main stage.
Our view of the Main Stage
at Rhythm & Roots.

     Our favorite band was Shinyribs.  The lead singer/performer put on a spectacular show which can only be appreciated live.  The band is a little weird, with an eclectic array of songs reminding me a little of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.  We even had the opportunity to see this band twice as it performed on both the main stage and the dance stage.
     The festival was a very laid-back event with no stress to line-up early for camping or the need to rush to set up chairs at the Main Stage as all spots were great for camping and viewing.  We lucked out with our campground neighbors who were all very friendly.  We ended up hanging out with a really fun couple, Vince and Louise.  They are planning to retire in June and travel full-time in their motor home.  We are hoping to see them again down-the-road.
Nancy is enjoying the sun and music
at Rythm & Roots

     After a great festival we took a couple of days to relax at Fishermen's Memorial State Park in Narraganset, RI.  This is one of our favorite state parks as it features full hook-ups near the ocean with lots of great stuff to do in the area.  We had a great time touring the area, spending some time at the beach, and eating oysters.  The best day was a kayak trip in Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. The kayak trip was on the calm waters directly behind a barrier island which protected the us from the ocean surf.  There were heaps of beautiful birds to watch as we paddled along while being serenaded by the sound of the ocean crashing its waves on the other side of the barrier island.
The put-in for our kayaks at Ninigrette National Wildlife Refuge.
In the background is the barrier island which separates this quiet
body of water from the ocean.

     Thereafter, it became time to get rolling on to Front Royal, Virginia.  Front Royal is at the northern entrance of Shenandoah National Park.  The prime feature of Shenandoah is Skyline Drive, a 105 mile road along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The drive is filled with scenic turnouts which send your gaze east into mountain valleys or west toward the Shenandoah River Valley, the mountains of George Washington National Forest and the mountains of West Virginia.  We even spotted a black bear!
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park
     We also took the opportunity to visit Harpers Ferry, WV.  (The apostrophe was dropped from the town's name.)  Harpers Ferry is best known as the location of John Brown's raid on the local armory in an effort to spur a slave uprising throughout the South.  The town is now a beautifully preserved National Historic Park at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  In addition, the armory at Harpers Ferry is also know as the location used by Lewis and Clark to secure weapons for their western journey.  Due to its history Harpers Ferry is one town I have always wanted to visit, so I can now remove it from my "bucket list."
St. Peter's Church
in Harper's Ferry.

John Brown's Fort

B & O Railroad Potomac River Crossing
in Harpers Ferry.

     My favorite time in Front Royal was the 2 days I spent mountain biking in Shenandoah River State Park.  The trails were fairly easy with long gentle downhills which sent me winding around trees on a narrow single-track path.  On one short section I spotted a "spotted" turtle at the top of a hill then while zooming down the trail I passed within a few feet of a deer scampering into the underbrush.  Then just as I passed the deer I noticed a frightened squirrel scurrying to get out of my way.  Unfortunately, the squirrel was real confused and it dove headlong into the spokes of my front tire.  Luckily, due to my high rate of speed, it bounced off the spokes, reversed direction and followed the deer to safety.  I love mountain biking and I love to see wildlife; however, I always feel bad when I frighten an animal.
Shenandoah River Valley


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  1. What a cool area with a wide variety of stuff to do! Love the chair Nancy was relaxing in during the festival. We are headed that way next year and will have to go kayaking in that area.

  2. Wow! Great blog! You gave us three great ideas for future stops! We vividly remember Harpers Ferry. In addition to the town, its battlefields were among the most walkable of the Civil War battlefields. We'd like to get back to hike/bike on the other side of the Potomac River, too.


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