One of my favorite things about Southwest Virginia is the change of seasons, and fall is hard to beat!
It was on a beautiful Sunday drive last fall that I first discovered the other hidden treasures along the Parkway — Foggy Ridge Cider, which is currently receiving troves of hard-earned national media acclaim; Blacksnake Meadery, where I enjoyed my first and eighth tastes of mead on the establishment’s unassuming front porch; Chateau Morrissette, where I had the good fortune of stumbling upon one of its ever-occuring afternoon concerts and cookout; and the iconic Mabry Mill.
I must admit that the top of my to-do list this fall has nothing to do with the foliage. I’m a bit of a whitewater junkie, and having just learned about the dam releases that happen on Dickenson County’s Russell Fork every weekend in October, I’m looking forward to getting my fix in the coming weeks.
Two of those weekends sound particularly intriguing — the October 13-14 BADDLUN (a 13 mile Bike, 8 mile pADDLe, and 3 mile rUN mashup finished off with a 20 yard swim), which attracts extreme athletes from all parts and coincides with Paddlers’ Appreciation Weekend, and the October 27-28 Lord of the Fork class 5 downriver race and Russell Fork Rendezvous, when the water kicks up to a mighty 1100cfs (cubic feet per second in dam release jargon) from the respectable 800cfs of the preceding 3 weeks.
I love the whole whitewater subculture, and I’m like a kid at Christmas in anticipation of my first Russell Fork release season.
What’s your favorite part about fall in Southwest Virginia? We’d love to know.
Karen Quina-Doyle | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
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