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Article by: Norm Goldman, Editor Sketchandtravel.com

Love, Virginia, according to Keith Smith owner of the Royal Oaks Cabins, is located in western Virginia, atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, between the cities of Waynesboro and Charlottesville. Love is 16 miles south of Shenandoah National Park & Interstate 64, Exit 99 and borders the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 16. Love is a small mountain top hamlet with about 85 residents.

Keith further pointed out to me that the Blue Ridge Mountains run from Front Royal to Roanoke Virginia and form the eastern rim of the Shenandoah Valley.

Conversely, the Appalachian Mountains form the western rim of the Shenandoah Valley and extend from Front Royal down through southwestern Virginia and into North Carolina. George Washington National Forest and Thomas Jefferson National Forest which constitutes much of these two Mountain Ranges; however significant portions are privately owned.

Within the National Forests are designated wilderness areas which do not allow road construction and timber harvesting.


These wilderness areas located near Love are Three Ridges, The Priest, and Saint Mary's  and they have numerous hiking trails trekking through the mountains, some of which lead to streams, water falls and valley vistas. 


Sherando Lake is a National Forest Recreation Area 4 miles from LOVE, VA. It includes a 27 acre lower lake with a beach, picnic and fishing areas, and an upper lake for fishing only. Most camping areas are for tents campers; however, some RV sites are available on a limited basis. It is very popular with locals and transient tourists for camping, hiking, biking, and fishing.


Blue Ridge Parkway is a Federal Highway which traverses the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains beginning at the southern end of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and ending at the northern end of Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina. It is very popular drive which offers numerous Overlooks which have beautiful valley views and educational exhibits. Many hiking trail heads and parking areas are located along the Parkway. The  Appalachian Trail crosses the Parkway several time in the 16 mile section between Shenandoah National Park and Love, Va.


As for the Royal Oaks Cabins, Keith indicated to me that most of the property surrounding his is owned by the US Dept. of Agriculture (George Washington National Forest) or the US Dept. of Interior (Blue Ridge Parkway), therefore future development is limited.


Visitors are attracted to the area by its natural beauty and the opportunity to hike the many trails and visit the wineries of which there are eight: Wintergreen, Hilltop, Veritas, Afton Mountain, Cardinal Point, Mountain Cove, Delfosse, and Lovingston. These offer tours and samplings and according to Keith the Nelson County, which comprises 2/3 mountains with upland and hardwoods, will someday become known as the NAPA valley of the east.


If you are planning to celebrate your marriage in the area, Keith hit the nail on the head when he said what better place to celebrate a wedding than in a natural setting such as the Blue Ridge Mountains. It should be noted that some of the wineries have large social halls for hosting weddings and they make an excellent wedding venue. Royal Oaks also has wedding facilities.


According to Keith the most popular time to visit the area is in the Fall when trees create a kaleidoscope of colors which attract many visitors to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winter is popular with guests that like to soak in a hot tub in front of an open fire while recovering from a day at the ski slopes. Spring is popular with guests that appreciate the beauty of nature's rebirth from the dormant winter cold. Summer is also popular for guests who desire to escape summer's heat by climbing the cooler mountains of the Blue Ridge. It should be noted that the area is accessible all year round.


Insofar as dining establishments are concerned, Keith pointed out to me that Royal Oaks has a seasonal carry out deli which is open from May thru November. Wintergreen Resort (about 3 miles from Royal Oaks) has several restaurants and Nelleysford (about 9 miles) also has several modestly priced restaurants. Waynesboro (about 18 miles) and Charlottesville (about 30 miles) both has national chain restaurants in addition to specialty restaurants.


To find out more about the Royal Oak Cabins and the area, you can click on its WEB SITE or contact Keith Smith at:  royaloak@ntelos.net


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