While we stayed at the Sugar Tree Inn, a bed and breakfast just
off the Blue Ridge Parkway, we were curious to explore Goshen Pass, as
it was the name of our room. When we expressed interest, our innkeepers
quickly pulled out a map and offered directions.
traveled down Virginia Highway 56 through the tiny community of Vesuvius. At U.S. Highway 11
in Steele's Tavern, we made a left and then a quick right onto State
Road 606. Along the way, we drove by Cyrus McCormick's historic site (with a promise to return), under busy Interstate 81 and wound our way
through the quaint village of Raphine. We ambled past rolling hills,
farms, cows, sheep and a lone groundhog. At Buffalo Springs Herb Farm (NOW CLOSED),
we stopped to explore their different gardens: heirloom, medieval,
celestial, Mediterranean, fragrance, medicinal, kitchen and thyme and
took a quick peek at neighboring Wade's Mill.
in the car, we headed westward to historic Brownsburg, where we stopped briefly to take photos of its flag-lined
street. At Highway
39, we began to follow the Maury River, which is
located entirely within Rockbridge County. Here, the terrain began to change. The sound of the river was
inviting, so we soon pulled over to take photos. Fortunately, we found a footpath to the water's edge. The
river seemed low because of the large number of exposed boulders, but it remained forceful none-the-less.
As we drove toward the pass, the road began to climb and
within a brief period of time, we discovered why. Goshen Pass is a
3.7-mile long gorge that was created millions of years ago by the Maury
River. The vista is breathtaking. While trout fishing is popular, the
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries explains that high
water occurs during cold months, making the Maury River quite popular
among whitewater canoeists and kayakers. Beware though, Devil's Kitchen
at Goshen Pass offers 100-yards of Class IV rapids.
Back down Highway 39, we stopped in Rockbridge Baths
across the Maury River on a Virginia Department of Transportation
swinging bridge. Here, two water enthusiasts prepared to put in their
canoes for a journey down the Maury, while a Soggy Bottom Boys
recording played "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." They were headed to
the Alone Mills Road takeout, as they claimed this stretch of the river is one of the Top 10 in Virginia. A little post-trip research showed
this water trip includes Class II and III rapids and cliff views.
Time for lunch and then back to Sugar Tree Inn for a little rocking on the porch and a nap.