Search This Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Rappahannock Canal Path 2022

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Hi Blog!

It's been a while since our last blog post. We had a very busy week in South Jersey visiting with family in the Philadelphia area. On Wednesday, we moved the RV south to Fredericksburg, Virginia in hopes of avoiding cold weather, while still being within driving distance of Philadelphia for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. With lows expected to be in the teens here in Fredericksburg, we busted out the cold weather gear, flannel sheets and electric space heaters! At least we won't have to deal with 12 inches of snow like we did in January!

It took a couple days to get settled, but by Saturday, we were ready to get out and stretch our legs. We've stayed in Fredericksburg before, so we are familiar with the area.  Last December we had hiked along the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail to Embrey Dam.  You can click the link if you are curious about that section of the trail. For this hike, we decided to follow the Canal Path loop. We tried to take a selfie when we started the hike, but it didn't turn out. So, I just borrowed this picture from last December's blog.

The Canal Path is a paved pathway that, at 1.8 miles long, combines with a 1.7 mile section of the Heritage Trail to make a 3.5 mile route.  It winds along the canal from Fall Hill Avenue to Princess Anne Street. Since many of the trees have lost their leaves, it was easy to see the water level in the canal.

The Canal Path runs along the border of the University of Mary Washington. UMW is a public liberal arts university founded in 1908 as the Fredericksburg Teachers College. The institution was named Mary Washington College in 1938 after Mary Ball Washington, mother of the first president of the United States.

We stopped at Gayle's Pond to admire a couple of duck families.

As the day warmed up, more and more folks came out to enjoy the trail. The dog park was full of playful puppies. However, two local tom cats were having a dispute over the best hunting grounds along the banks of the canal.  They were dressed in a collar and a bandana, so we estimated that they lived in the neighborhood and probably know each other.  Familiarity breeds contempt.

As the canal approached the Rappahannock River, the path crossed to the opposite side of the canal.

This section of Fredericksburg is known as the Old Mill District. It dates to the earliest settlers along the Rappahannock River. Pictured below are the remains of the Meyers & Brulle’s Germania Flour Mill.
From the mid-1800s, this mill produced up to 100 bushels of flour per day. 

We left the Canal Path and started up the Heritage Trail. Along the way, we followed a Story Walk. A story walk is basically a children's book taken apart and its pages posted on signs placed along a path. Families can walk from the start of the book to each page and read as they go. The current book on display is What Can You Do With A Rock? Needless to say, Kathy read all 12 chapters!

We took a short side trip off the Heritage Trail to check out the Old Mill Park.

Old Mill Park features soccer fields, picnic shelters, a playground, restrooms and riverfront views. We decided to walk down to the banks of the river and came across this monument with a quote from Master Hsing Yun, a Chinese Buddhist monk. 

May palms be joined in every world in kindness, compassion, joy and giving.
May all beings find security in friendship,peace and loving care.
May calm and mindful practice seed patience and equanimity deep.
May we give rise to spacious hearts and humble thoughts of gratitude.

By Venerable Master Hsing Yun

The park protects the remains of the Washington Woolen Mill.  The mill served as a hospital during the Civil War.  Notably, the mill employed more female workers than any other business in Fredericksburg at the time, and Clara Barton worked there after the Union army turned the structure into a hospital in 1862.

As we continued along the trail, we passed several works of art. The Fredericksburg Art Commission sponsors a public sculpture project.  Aman is a Siouan word that means place, environment, or country, and appears throughout the language spoken by Mahock/Manahoac. 

Morning Glory Bench takes morning glory flowers as inspiration. Benches are playful art objects that invite interaction with the passer-by. This "whisper bench" has great views of the Rappahannock River, along the Heritage Trail. You can whisper into one blossom and your seatmate can clearly hear you at the other!

Several Native American tribes occupied the area surrounding Fredericksburg around the time that John Smith was exploring the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.  Supposedly, the tribes used certain indigenous plants to mix poisons for hunting, creating shallow “bowls” carved into rocks near the river.  

One such carving, known as the “Indian Punch Bowl,” was discovered and given this specific name by Major Francis Thornton, who inscribed the stone in 1720.  The Thornton family opened several of the original mills located in this section of the Rappahannock River.  Thornton often hosted large parties on his property along the river, and supposedly served punch to his guests from the rock, thus lending it the name “Indian Punch Bowl.”

The Rappahanock River tumbles out of the Virginia Piedmont and drops 25 feet over a distance of one mile. For more than two centuries, industries in this transitional zone used this natural energy. As we finished our hike, we enjoyed the sights and sound of the river rapids.

After four miles of hiking and exploring, we built up powerful thirsts. On the way back to camp, we stopped at one of our favorite breweries - Stangeways. With 34 taps, there are plenty of great beers to choose from. One feature we like is the way they color code their menu based on beer style. So, if you like lighter beers, pick from the yellow column. If you want dark, high alcohol concoctions, pick from the brown column.

We each picked four we were interested in sampling. Tiramisu (porter), Ape Armageddon (imperial stout), Lore of the Land (barleywine), Turbogenerator (doppelbock), Gingerbread Gourd of Thunder (pumpkin stout), Stand with Ukraine (golden ale with beet sugar), Monks Indulgence (Belgian triple) and Barrel aged Monks Indulgence (bourbon barrel aged triple).

 We had fun tasting and re-tasting to pick our top four to bring home with us. The winners were Ape Armageddon, Gingerbread Gourd of Thunder, Stand with Ukraine and Monks Indulgence.

And, so ends another adventure in the life of Dave and Kathy intrepid RV explorers!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.