Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Mystery of Gooney Manor

Another in the series of Retro-posts, this was first posted September 22, 2009.

(Cue spooky theme music.)

On my trip this weekend, I spent two afternoons at the Shenandoah National Park, meandering aimlessly on Skyline Drive. Alright, maybe not aimlessly because I was there to take photos, but it was a nice 35mph saunter through the mountains. I entered the park at the Front Royal, VA gate, and went as far as Thornton Gap, I believe, on my second visit. The first afternoon, I drove past a beautiful outlook twice. For some odd reason, something drew me to stop for a shot, but it was getting late and I wanted to get back to my hotel before dark. I was not in the mood to navigate the hot mess that was road construction in Tyson's Corner at night again.

I hadn't planned on going back to SNP, but the mountains had other plans.

I thought I was going to have to make a trip to Ocean City, MD for a friend, so when it turned out I didn't have to, I decided to go back to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. I was closer than I would have been if I were coming from home and figured, "why not?" To drive the full length of Skyline Drive, according to the park website, takes about three hours. I wasn't going to do that, but I did decide to go a little further than I did the day before. I drove past Gooney Manor overlook, thinking that it was interesting, but not what I was looking to photograph. I kept on driving.

After a couple of hours, I decided to head back and begin my 4 plus hour drive back home. I got some shots, but none that particularly "wowed" me. As I made my way back North on Skyline Drive, a tree in the distance jumped out at me. (No, I didn't hit it. You know what I mean!) I pulled into the circle and got out with camera in hand.

I got some of the best shots I'd had all day. Satisfied, I got back in the car, and pulled out to go home. As I drove away, I caught the sign in my rear view mirror. It read, Gooney Manor Overlook. The place I'd passed over several times.

Mulder was right.


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