Lynchburg is in a dry county!
A couple of days later, we had a wonderful camping and touring experience at Great Smoky Mountains NP. Even though the weather was overcast, foggy and often drizzling, we had a superb self guided tour of Cades Cove. It boasts a great collection of a preserved turn of the century community at the base of a mountain. Buildings such as the mill, pioneer cabins, white clapboard homes and Methodist and Baptist Churches with picturesque old cemeteries lined with flowering dogwood. Around the buildings and barns were great pieces of farm machinery and incredible rail fences. Many deer and wild turkeys wandered through the grassy fields in the park. We enjoyed a porch- performance by a friendly musician playing the country dulcimer and banjo while his daughter tapped her boots and played tambourine.
It's an idyllic place and easy to see why folks would settle there.
By April 18, we were heading into Virginia, enjoying the expansive views of farm country across the hills. Spring was not as far along and many trees were just beginning to leaf out. We ventured along "Skyline Drive" where we stopped at many of the overlooks of spectacular mountains in spring bloom and fresh leaf. Set up camp in the beautiful woods of "Big Meadows Campground" Spent a couple of great days there enjoying hikes along the Appalachian Trail, some campfires and foggy walks in the woods!
We spent most of the following day at the incredible Arlington Cemetery. Among the remarkable number of standard white gravestones were some amazing tributes to military,civilian and political heroes. Dixie came with us and behaved with the respect we'd hoped for.
We also toured the important DC hot spots: The Washington Monument, Lincoln's Statue, The White House and The Mall (which was chewed up with construction) World War II Memorials and The Vietnam War Memorial. These sights were all very overwhelming and evocative.