Burke’s Garden

Visits to Burke’s Garden is what happens when you spend too much time on Google Earth. Maybe it’s the explorer in me, but I love to scroll all over the world. One day I was looking at the SW corner of Virginia and discovered an unusual bowl-shaped valley and thought…”What’s this”?

That’s Burke’s Garden at the bottom on a topographic map

What I found is one of Virginia’s natural wonders; a lush valley surrounded by high mountains, practically cut off from the rest of the world. Today, it’s the home of about 300-ish people – mostly Amish – who take advantage of the fertile land to raise high-poundage cattle.

I stayed at the Burke’s Garden Cottage, a B&B a short drive down from the local general store. This may be a misnomer; it’s stocked with fresh baked goodies and they offer good, hearty meals as well. Because seriously – you can’t go wrong with Amish food.

At the end of every September they throw a festival full of music, arts & crafts, and of course food. If you’re going to pick a time to visit, this would be a good one. But short of the dead of winter it’s not like there’s every going to be a bad time to visit this place.

Not visited this trip is part of the Appalachian Trail, which crosses the crest of the valley. From what I could see there is definitely some excellent hiking here. I was too busy soaking up the serenity of it all to explore much beyond the country roads – but maybe next time?

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