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Seven Northern Virginia State Parks for Summer Fun

There is solace to be found in Northern Virginia if you know where to look. These seven Virginia State Parks are the first in a five part series to showcase groupings of parks and their offerings.

No matter where you are in Virginia, you’re never more than two hours (if that) from a Virginia State Park.

Don’t miss the map at the end.

— MASON NECK STATE PARK, LORTON —

Mason Neck State Park is in southern Fairfax County on a peninsula — an ideal location for birdwatching. Several miles of trails, as well as canoe, kayak and bike rentals, put the outdoor experience within easy reach.

Mason Neck is a day-use facility without camping or cabins, but just outside the park is Pohick Bay Regional Park, which does have a campground and cabins. Pohick Bay is sits along Gunston Cove off the Potomac River. Pair the two parks together for one well-rounded outdoor weekend escape.

Park Trail Guide

ALSO SEE: 20+ Virginia State Park Festivals & Events for Family Fun

— LEESYLVANIA STATE PARK, WOODBRIDGE —

The Potomac River becomes a playground for water sports enthusiasts at Leesylvania State Park. Love to fish? This park has made it easier for people of all abilities to enjoy such activities thanks to their universally accessible 300-foot fishing pier. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Swimming in the Potomac is not advised, due to swift currents.

Five hiking trails traverse the park’s 543 acres, including a 20-station fitness trail. A leg of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs concurrently here, too.

If you’d like to camp, a primitive, tents-only area is available for groups. Reservations are required.

Park Trail Guide

Factiod: Leesylvania is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Why? It was a home to the Lee Family. Learn more about them at nearby Stratford Hall.

ALSO SEE: The Great American Backyard Campout

— CALEDON STATE PARK, KING GEORGE —

Caledon State Park is a National Natural Landmark and is home to one of the largest concentrations of American bald eagles on the East Coast. Bike or hike the trails through natural areas (ponds and marshes), and to overlooks, where you may spot the famous inhabitants. There are about 15 miles of trails to explore.

In regard to camping, Caledon is one of the special places of Virginia for paddle-in/hike-in primitive camping. Only six sites are available. Amenities include a sand-filled pad, fire ring, lantern post, picnic table and portable toilet. Reservations and your own water are required.

Park Trail Guide

ALSO SEE: Nine Beautiful B&Bs for State and National Park Explorations

— WESTMORELAND STATE PARK, MONTROSS —

On the Northern Neck of the Potomac River is Westmoreland State Park, where Horse Head Cliffs is the major point of interest. From the Cliffs, the view of the Potomac is vast and breathtaking. Adjacent is Fossil Beach where fossil hunters seek (and find!) ancient shark teeth (swimming is prohibited; pool available). As with the previously mentioned parks, Westmoreland is a birding hot spot with osprey, kingfisher, great blue heron, green heron, and American bald eagle making homes in the vicinity.

Bring the whole family! The Potomac River Retreat (above photo is from inside the Retreat) is a five-bedroom waterfront accommodation with a dock and patio seating. Additional camping sites (133) and 26 equipped cabins are also available. The Retreat and cabins have a week-long minimum stay.

Park Trail Guide

— LAKE ANNA STATE PARK, SPOTSYLVANIA —

Beach swimming at one of Virginia’s most popular lakes (and its’ third largest) is in order. Pack up and head to Lake Anna State Park for boating, fishing (accessible pond fishing, too) and 15 miles of trails (including bridle trails).

Ten miles of frontage set you on your way to the 13,000-acre lake. Boats, including pontoons, are available for rent.

Camping and cabins are available; reservations required.

Park Trail Guide
Park Facilities Guide

Factoid: Within Lake Anna State Park is Goodwin Gold Mine. Gold was first discovered here in 1829 and the park offers gold mining-themed programs and events, including panning on Pigeon Run Creek.

— SKY MEADOWS STATE PARK, DELAPLANE —

Sky Meadows State Park is truly picturesque with rolling pastures and woodlands. Bring your horse to enjoy the 12 miles of bridle trails, lace up your boots for 24 miles of hiking, or bike on nine miles of trails. The Appalachian Trail can be accessed from Sky Meadows. The three-acre pond is stocked with bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish and bluegill for fishing. Boating is prohibited.

The camping at Sky Meadows is purely hike-in or bike-in. There are individual, buddy and group tent sites, with tent pads, picnic tables, non-potable water, and pit toilets.

Park Trail Guide
Park Facility Guide

ALSO SEE: The Mansions of Virginia State Parks 

— SHENANDOAH RIVER STATE PARK, BENTONVILLE —

On the South Fork of the Shenandoah River you’ll find the 1,619-acre Shenandoah River Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. State Park. A little more than five miles of shoreline makes this the perfect state park for throwing a tube in the water and floating for a while.

Fairly new to the park are the ziplines. It’s the only Virginia State Park to offer such a fun opportunity. Organized and led by Virginia Canopy Tours, the three-hour experience includes a UTV (utility task vehicle) trail ride, eight ziplines, air stairs, sky bridge, two nature hikes and a rappel. Reservations are made directly with VCT.

Twenty-four miles of trails are available for hiking, biking and bridle.

Riverfront tent camping is a must. There’s really nothing like it. If those are full, however, there are other campsites and cabins available, as well as the six-bedroom Lodge. Cabins and the Lodge have a week-long minimum stay.

Park Trail Guide

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PODCAST: What Does the US Stand to Lose if it Pulls Out of the Paris Agreement?

PODCAST: What Does the US Stand to Lose if it Pulls Out of the Paris Agreement?Add Comment|PrintPresident Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address. Photo by National Museum of the U.S. Navy/Flickr When U.S. President Donald Trump took the oath of office last week, the world at large braced for big changes. It's already clear from cabinet hearing meetings and Trump's first week in office that his administration may pursue sweeping changes on one issue that demands international...

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Philadelphia Inquirer: 97.5 The Fanatic host Jon Marks to leave ahead of 'expense reductions' by Beasley

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Wisconsin week in review

Here’s a quickie rundown and review of recent Wisconsin political stories. WONDER BOY FAILS WONDERFULLY On Monday at 5PM Walker dropped out of the race. Well, technically he “suspended his campaign”. This LA Times cartoon sums it up for us. And this cartoon by Phil Hands sums up the average Wisconsinite’s response: Tomorrow's @WiStateJournal cartoon more »

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Wisconsin State Journal only employs white people

I’m embarrassed that I’m so late to the party on this issue. I learned this yesterday and promptly felt like puking: “..the Wisconsin State Journal, the newspaper that proudly proclaims itself “Madison’s largest reporting team,” the second-largest newspaper in the state and the newspaper of record for our entire region, is an all-white newspaper.” SOURCE: more »

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The backlash on Bernie Sanders begins!

Despite the fact that this [barely functioning] blog has tried to be Wisconsin-centric, I’m going to try to do some more posts to help people keep up on Bernie Sanders news. —————————————————-   It appears that the establishment and its candidates have decided to quit dismissing Bernie Sanders and start attacking Bernie Sanders. The guy more »

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BEFORE AND AFTER: DINING CHAIR UPDATE!

MY DINING CHAIRS WERE SHOWING SOME AGE....NOT THAT YOU CAN TELL FROM THE PICTURE BELOW, BUT UP CLOSE THERE WERE LOTS OF DINGS, SCRATCHES, AND THE SEATS COULD USE A NEW LIFE!

WHEN VISITING THE QUADRILLE SHOWROOM AT THE DC DESIGN CENTER, THERE WAS A CHAIR FULLY UPHOLSTERED IN A FABULOUS BLUE AND WHITE-AND NOT JUST ANY BLUE....BUT THE ABSOLUTELY PERFECT BLUE! I BROUGHT HOME A SAMPLE AND IT FOUND A HOME INSTANTLY!

AND LIKE BEFORE, I HAD IT LAMINATED-A MUST IN MY HOUSEHOLD!

AND THE BLUE IS PEFECT WITH THE NEIGHBORING MADELINE WEINRIB RUG :-)

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Walker goes full Forrest Gump, says Canadian border wall is “legitimate issue for us to look at”

Update: Readers who hunger for more mockery of Scott Walker should check out the #CanadaWall tag on twitter. ————————————– Today on Meet the Press, Scott Walker said that a border wall between the United States and Canada is “a legitimate issue for us to look at”. I expect his campaign will tomorrow release a “clarifying” more »

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Scott Walker flip flops on birthright citizenship. Blames tiredness.

"Scott Walker said he accidentally took a position on [citizenship] because he was 'tired'" https://t.co/BBMDYMZQJo pic.twitter.com/vqBv0rSU8b — Billmon (@billmon1) August 21, 2015 At the Iowa state fair, Walker was for elimination of birthright citizenship. By Friday he had “no position” on it. “I’m not taking a position one way or the other,” Walker said in an more »

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Proof: Scott Walker’s aide Archer lied. Maltreatment she claimed rec’d during #JohnDoe raid refuted by newly released recording

Recorded audio from the FBI-assisted raid of Cynthia Archer’s home has been released. “The audio of the raid is being released now in an attempt to rebut claims Archer makes in her suit. For instance, she said in her filing that officers stormed into her house “throwing the (search) warrant at her without giving her more »

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WI Supreme Court “went well beyond what any court has ever held in opening the floodgates to secret money in politics”

Brendan Fischer of PRWatch was recently interviewed by Janine Jackson of Fair.org. A couple of exerpts: JJ: Well, it sounds as though the charge was that Walker actively sought to skirt finance laws and that the ruling is: Yes, he did, but it’s OK? I mean, help us to understand exactly what happened here. BF: That’s about right. more »

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“Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar”

This is a bit from an opinion piece by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: “Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting America), even though unions represent just 11 percent more »

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Billboard: Z100's Elvis Duran Talks 20 Years of Superstars, Project With Dr. Oz and His Place as a Gay Media Figure

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Juice Flows Into Niagara Falls

Just north of Buffalo on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Vista Radio has broken its CHR “2DayFM” simulcast.

101.1 CFLZ-FM Fort Erie ON has flipped to Variety Hits utilizing Vista's “Juice-FM” brand. Chris 'Barn' Barnatt moves over from 2DayFM to remain in mornings on CFLZ, while also hosting afternoons on CJED.

The CHR format will remain on “105.1 2DayFM” CJED-FM Niagara Falls. Joe will host mornings on CJED and afternoons on CFLZ.

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60% of WI disapproves of Walker’s job performance in WPR/St. Norbert poll

This comes from a poll with a small sample: 603. Notables: 57 percent of those polled say that Wisconsin is headed in the wrong direction. Russ Feingold leads against Ron Johnson.  51 percent to 40 percent. 60 percent of Wisconsinites disapprove of the way Scott Walker is doing his job. In fact, 40% of Wisconsinites more »

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Video: “Walker’s critics celebrate, supporters reminisce …”

Despite having no more than a few hours notice of the 5PM press conference announcing Walker’s drop out from the presidential campaign, protesting Wisconsinites were ready, able, and willing to serenade Wisconsin’s delusional governor. This TMJ4 footage includes just a SNIPPET of protest singing. This brief broadcast also includes snippets from Wisconsinites who do not more »

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Vendors tell AP that Scott Walker campaign owes them $100,000

I could have told them to demand cash up front with this guy. But what do people like me know? Link to source You just finished reading Vendors tell AP that Scott Walker campaign owes them $100,000! Consider leaving a comment!Visit bluecheddar.net for more news and opinion. You can contact blue cheddar through twitter or more »

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If Walker could see past his enormous ego, he’d realize he’s in 7th place and has no chance

Scott Walker only has 2% in the latest national ABC poll. The average of Scott Walker’s national polls put him in 7th place according to Real Clear Politics. The Republican Party only needs 1 nominee to run for president. I suppose it’s very difficult for a megalomaniac to quit looking in the mirror long enough more »

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Walker goes full Forrest Gump, says Canadian border wall is “legitimate issue for us to look at”

Update: Readers who hunger for more mockery of Scott Walker should check out the #CanadaWall tag on twitter. ————————————– Today on Meet the Press, Scott Walker said that a border wall between the United States and Canada is “a legitimate issue for us to look at”. I expect his campaign will tomorrow release a “clarifying” more »

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Quinnipiac poll of FL,OH,PA: fortunes of Walker and Clinton sink as Biden’s rise

Notice that in the crucial state of Ohio, Scott Walker is only at 2%. This is all come to a poll looking for these days: Walker’s failure.   But other people are paying attention to the bigger picture, of course. Rubio is the only Republican polling ahead of Clinton in Ohio. Quinnipiac Poll: @MarcoRubio is the more »

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Marquette U. Poll of Wisconsinites: 39% approve of job Walker is doing as Guv, 57% disapprove

The most significant bit of news in this poll, in my opinion, is the fact that Wisconsinites are taking a dim view of Scott Walker’s performance. His 39% “job approval” rating is down 2 points from where it was in April when 41% approved of his performance as Governor. Walker’s doing much worse than Obama more »

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Milwaukee Bucks arena is product of bizarre and bipartisan bedfellows

It takes an incestuous bipartisan pile of snakes to foist this expense upon Wisconsin when only 9%* of the Wisconsin public wants to help fund it AND when the administration is slashing public education funding. Steve Horn and Michael Arria have a long and interesting piece out on Truthdig that exposes backroom bipartisanship and public more »

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Republican presidential candidates cluster accounts at bank with only 1 branch in McLean, Virginia

Hmmmmm. From Bloomberg: “According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Chain Bridge is the sole bank serving Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, which reported raising $11.4 million as of June 30, and his allied super-PAC, Right to Rise, which says it’s raised $103 million so far. Donald Trump’s campaign banks at Chain Bridge, and it’s more »

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