Last week I was driving in the mountains of Virginia, on the way to visit relatives in my hometown near the West Virginia line. About halfway between Lexington and Warm Springs, on two-lane Rt. 32 West, you come upon Goshen Pass scenic overlook. The large pull-off there has a waist-high stone wall to keep cars and people from falling into the gorge 60 to 80 feet below, at the bottom of which runs the Maury River. This time of year the river is low — no cascading white water that thrills the eye in the early spring — however, the views are just as beautiful. As with any tourist, the autumn color display attracts me — but when it comes to photography, not so much. It’s hard to do fall foliage images without resorting to visual cliché, so I had my eye out for compositions that would respect the natural beauty of the area, but also have another level — in this case something a bit humorous, perhaps. Standing by that wide rock wall, all I had to do was glance down to find my subject. Of the seven graffiti samples pictured here, my favorite is “SAUSAGE,” with the little smiling stick figure sausage man.
(Click images for larger views.)
Copyright © 2009 Jim Sizemore.
If you’re interested in taking the same drive, here’s a bit more information about Goshen Pass and nearby attractions, adapted from the “Virginia is for Lovers” website.
Enjoy the natural beauty this area of the state has to offer by following scenic Route 39 up steep mountains and along deep gorges. Begin in Lexington, Virginia, I-81 exit 188, home to historic sites and universities (Virginia Military Institute, Washington and Lee). Start out on Route 11 N and then drive west on Route 39 and head out of town. You will come upon the Virginia Horse Center, a modern facility that operates year-round and hosts horse shows, auctions, festivals and educational clinics.
Proclaimed to be “the loveliest spot in Virginia” you will pass through Goshen Pass, the narrow passage carved out by the Maury River with its steep rocky sides where you’ll see mountain laurel, rhododendron, rocky cliffs and rushing whitewater. Here you’ll find easy access to a roadside pull off from where you might spot someone fishing or enjoying a kayak ride. These are perfect spots for a picnic followed by a refreshing walk along the Maury River’s rippling waters. Restrooms are available here too.
As you continue, you’ll enter the George Washington National Forest, you will soon enter the town of Warm Springs, location of the famous Homestead resort and spa. The Town of Warm Springs got its name from the natural mineral springs that maintain a 98-degree temperature year round. In fact, you might just want to try a dip in the pools.
Taking a side trip off Route 39 in Warm Springs, travel south on State Highway 600 to Lake Moomaw which offers boating, water skiing and swimming, in addition to fishing. Several nearby developed campgrounds offer a good place to stay while you enjoy the outdoors.