Swamp Fox Campground – Florence SC

RATING: ♦♦♦
  • Length of stay: 1 day
  • Cost per night: $35.00
  • Discount: Good Sam
  • Hook ups: 30 amp electric, water, sewer, and cable TV.
  • Site number/quality: #123. Gravel pad. Fairly level. Pull-through. 
  • Park quality: Very rundown campground. However, next to interstate, so very convenient, but noisy. 
  • Access: Directly off I-95.
  • Connectivity: Verizon OK, AT&T strong with antenna, T-Mobile OK.
  • Return yes/no?: No.
  • Notes: OK for overnight.
  • Website: Swamp Fox Campground

Raleigh Oaks RV Resort and Cottages – Four Oaks NC

RATING: ♦♦♦♦♦
  • Length of stay: 5 days
  • Cost per night: $36.00
  • Discount: Good Sam
  • Hook ups: 50 amp electric, water, sewer, and cable TV.
  • Site number/quality: #412. Gravel pad. Fairly level. Grassy seating area. Wide pull-through sites. Easy parking. 
  • Park quality: Very nice campground. Neatly laid out. Most sites are pull-throughs. Reasonably priced considering how nice the park is. There are few trees, so could be hot in the summer. But the lack of trees made our stay more pleasant since we were there in the fall. There were some seasonals, but no run-down rigs. Very well managed park.
  • Access: Close to I-95 and US-301, but far enough way to not hear the road noise.
  • Connectivity: Verizon very strong, AT&T strong with antenna, T-Mobile OK.
  • Return yes/no?: Yes.
  • Notes: Between Raleigh and Fayetteville NC. Close to major shopping in Smithfield about five miles away.
  • Website: Raleigh Oaks RV Resort and Cottages

Canal Walk – Richmond VA

RATING: ♦♦♦♦

It was the last nice day of our stay at Pocahontas State Park. The weather forecast was calling for cold and rainy days ahead. David had some things to do around “home”, so I drove into Richmond on my own. I had read about the downtown Canal Walk and thought it would be fun to take some pictures.

I parked at the west end of the Canal Walk, which was close to the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge. I had to check out this bridge which hangs under the Robert E. Lee Bridge which is part of U.S. Route 301. This pedestrian bridge crosses over a section of the James River to small Belle Isle in the middle of the river. The walk over the bridge was interesting and traffic was not as loud as you might imagine. The river below is only 5 feet deep, rocky, and beautiful.

After walking the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge, I continued along the Canal Walk, which runs along the James River. There were many small bridges spanning the canal, making it possible to cross over and walk along either side. I noticed many downtown employees having lunch or otherwise taking advantage of the pretty area. The Canal Walk has access points at nearly every block between 5th and 17th streets.

Not far from the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge is the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, which is another (newer) pedestrian bridge. This one spans the entire James River. I walked halfway across and then back, and headed home.

There were signs and quotes along the Canal Walk that illustrated the important roll Richmond played in the Civil War. It was worth a day of exploring.

Pocahontas State Park – Chesterfield VA

RATING: ♦♦♦♦
  • Length of stay: 6 days
  • Cost per night: $37.50
  • Discount: None
  • Hook ups: 50 amp electric, water, but no sewer.
  • Site number/quality: #87. Gravel pad. Very level. Gravel seating area. Thickly wooded, but site was cleared. Easy parking. Our site is the newer “End Loop”, and was quite large. Quiet and fairly secluded. 
  • Park quality: Nice state park, with very nice campground. Not far from Richmond. Close to shopping in Chesterfield.
  • Access: Away from highways. Four miles off VA-10 and 15 miles off I-95.
  • Connectivity: Verizon strong, AT&T strong with antenna, T-Mobile strong.
  • Return yes/no?: Would love to.
  • Notes: There are lots of well maintained hiking trails in the park, and two lakes. There is also a small museum about the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, which originally built the park during the Depression. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy most of the time we were here, so we weren’t able to enjoy the park as much as we had hoped. Becky took a day to drive into Richmond and take some pictures along the Canal Walk.
  • Website: Pocahontas State Park

Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg VA

RATING: ♦♦♦♦♦

We spent a couple of warm sunny days walking through Colonial Williamsburg, which is a 301-acre living history museum in the historic district in the modern city of Williamsburg VA. It includes some restored original buildings from the 18th century when the city was the capital of Colonial Virginia, along with reconstructions built mostly in the 1930s through the efforts of Rev Goodwin of Bruton Parish Church along with financial help from John D Rockefeller Jr and his wife Abby.

Colonial Williamsburg is one of the largest history projects in the nation and a major tourist attraction. It is part of the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which includes Jamestown and Yorktown. The three towns are linked by the Colonial Parkway, which is quite scenic, much of it running along the York River.

Colonial Williamsburg is unusual for having been constructed in a somewhat rundown section of a town during the Depression whose then current inhabitants and post-Colonial-era buildings were removed. In their place is a Colonial-era printing shop, a shoemaker’s shop, blacksmith, cabinetmaker, gunsmith, taverns, etc., as well as an impressive Episcopal church, the Capitol building, and the Governor’s Palace. Costumed employees work and dress as people did in that era. Horse-drawn buggies are everywhere.

Surviving colonial structures have been restored as close as possible to their 18th-century appearance. Many of the missing colonial structures were reconstructed on their original sites based on historical documents. The result is quite effective, and we did feel like we were visiting an important colonial city. The effect was heightened somewhat since we had recently visited the home of Thomas Jefferson. He was the last governor of the Colony of Virginia, and was instrumental in moving the capital from Williamsburg to Richmond at the start of the American Revolution.

Back when the restoration project was being planned, the city wisely insisted on maintaining control over the streets and sidewalks in the historic area. So unlike other living history museums, Colonial Williamsburg allows anyone to walk through the historic district free of charge, at any hour of the day.

However, you have to pay for entrance to the shops and museums. We chose to explore for free. Automobiles are restricted from the historic area, but there is free parking in the Visitors Center just a few blocks away with shuttles running back and forth.

The first day we went was on the Saturday before Halloween. The weekly Farmer’s Market was in full swing in the Market Square section. It was a great venue with a lot of vendors and live music. We returned a few days later to explore the rest of the historic area. All in all, it was a pleasant way to see the city and take in some history.