Best laid plans… and all that drivel.

So, I FINALLY made it to Big Stone Gap, Virginia where I’ll be spending the next 2-3 months. It’s a lovely area surrounded by forested hills and the temperatures range from 30’s – 40’s at night and 60’s – 70’s during the day – which is to be expected since it IS fall – and for me – it’s perfect! There’s a really easy, 2.5 mile “greenbelt loop” that I can easily walk to from the RV park simply by crossing a footbridge over the river. I’m not enamored with the local grocery stores, as there aren’t a lot of fresh fruit and vegetable choices, but I’ll adapt. lol 

However, GETTING here turned out to be an expensive challenge this year due to RV issues. When I left Newfound RV park on Sept. 9th, I went to my mechanic (Jim’s Garage in Canaan, NH) to get new tires on my truck and to do regular maintenance on the RV. Once I got there, he discovered 2 broken springs on the rear axel (this RV has 2 axels). Since those had to be replaced, I figured I might as well do the 4 shocks that were shot as well. I had to order the shocks from a RV repair place, which took 2 days to arrive due to an idiot mistyping 4 as 1. Luckily Jim had a spot next to his garage with water and electric hookups. 3 days later, I was finally on the road again. (Jim gave me a fantastic deal on ALL the work he did. If you ever need work done, I highly recommend him.)

I stayed at my friend Tish’s new house in Stow, MA for a week. It was great to see her as the last time we got together was 5 years ago.  Once I left her place, I drove to a winery in NY, where I spent the night overlooking the grape vines and their gardens. (Check out

The next day (Friday, September 18th) I made it to the NJ, NY, and PA border before I noticed yet ANOTHER broken spring. (Hindsight is always 20/20 as I should have replaced all 4 in NH.) I made a stop at the closest RV repair place which was Alpin Haus RV in Port Jervis, NJ only to find out that they couldn’t get the new springs until the following Wednesday and repairs couldn’t be done until Thursday. I called 3-4 places all within the general area to only find out the same story: parts are hard to get and no one had any in stock. I ordered the work done ($550+) THEN had to find a place to stay for a week that was CLOSE! (Driving too far on a broken spring is never a good idea.)

Unfortunately, because it was a Friday AND in northern NJ, which is a popular destination, only 2 places had a spot available for a week… and I have to tell you, I paid more for ONE WEEK than I normally pay for a MONTH! I ended up at Pleasant Acres Farm RV Resort in Sussex, NJ. It was $428 for 1 (one… that’s right, ONE) week. The WiFi didn’t work at my spot and my cell phone only had 2 bars. I thought the place was way over priced but the only other place would have been $90/day for 6-7 days. I did end up making the best of it because

  1. It was actually a very pretty area.
  2. It was close to some great places to go hiking.
  3. Teddy LOVED chasing the million squirrels that were there.

I FINALLY got back on the road Friday, September 25th. (I paid for 7 nights – I was STAYING 7 nights!)

I did stop at a few fantastic wineries in Virginia and North Carolina, which you’ll see below, before making it to my RV spot. I HAD hoped to make it a leisurely trip from NH but that one week cost me over $1,000 and I just couldn’t justify spending any more money. All in all, in spite of the RV troubles, it was a good trip.

Below Teddy is making friends with the pig at Home Range Winery in Canaan, NY. LOL! They chased each other around the fence. The gardens at the winery were fantastic. I wish I’d seen them in the summer. They had a delicious raspberry wine that I purchased – perfect for warm fall days.

One of the ponds at Pleasant Acres Farm RV Resort just down from my RV. As I mentioned, it is a pretty area.

The next 3 images were taken at the “Liberty Loop Trail” in Unionville, NY. A very easy 2.8 mile loop around protected wetlands.

The following 2 images were taken from High Point State Park in Sussex, NJ. The High Point Monument is 220′ and the base of the monument is erected on the highest point in the state of New Jersey. Lovely views even when cloudy.

The next 2 images were taken at Wawayanda State Park. There are over 25 marked trails and Teddy and I did 5 of them. I didn’t see another soul on 2 of those trails and the Appalachian trail does go through here.

Grandview Vineyard in Mount Joy, PA. The parking area was actually on a slope but I managed. Their wines were good and I purchased a lovely red, the only red I purchased out of 5 wineries. At all the other places, their whites were supreme.

The next 3 pictures are from Marceline Vineyards in Mount Crawford, Virginia. The views were AMAZING and they had a delicious chocolate and wine tasting. The owners and the people working there were ALL so NICE! It was a great place to walk Teddy too.

The next 2 images were taken at Sanders Ridge Winery in Boonville, North Carolina. They also had a pretty vineyard and a nice quiet place for my RV.

This is the bridge at the edge of the RV park that I mentioned. I’ll be doing more posts once I start exploring more!

8 thoughts on “Best laid plans… and all that drivel.”

  1. Wow !! thanks for the update Hillary. Great photography. Love the adventure stories. Love the pictures of the winery. When I retire someday I wanna be like you

  2. Oh so wonderful as usual I just love looking at your photography. Glad you made it safe and sound talk to you soon.

    Your forever friend

  3. Dog park Margaret

    Teddy has become such a worldly boy … swimming in a lake … chasing a big pink pig …. and he looks like a King wearing a magnificent Royal fur collar! Enjoy all of that beautiful green scenery and cool weather … you and Teddy deserve it!

  4. Hi Hillary, HAPPY TURKEY DAY!
    Not sure where you are now, I better do some reading!
    What a year but you have us all beat on style of living through.
    See you on one of your trips, and thanks always for the awesome photos.

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