Highroad Guide to the Virginia Mountains
By Deane and Garvey Winegar
[Fig. 40(1)] On the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge in Nelson County, partly surrounded by National Forest and bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail, is a year-round resort called Wintergreen.
In the lofty headwaters of Stoney Creek, spreading into Rockfish Valley below, Wintergreen offers 17 ski trails, a 30-mile network of hiking trails, 25 tennis courts, equestrian center, six swimming pools, fly-fishing stream, and two championship golf coursesone the highest course in the state, the other selected as a favorite by Golf Digest. Facilities at the resort are clustered in two areas: one with a mountain entrance and one with a valley entrance.
Wintergreen, however, is more than a sports resort. Wintergreen's original planners committed a major portion of its 11,000 acres to wilderness, and today over 6,000 acres remain as undisturbed forest with a rich mosaic of natural wildflower gardens, waterfalls, and rock formations called Old Appalachia, dating back as far as 1,100 million years.
When a high-altitude spring seepage was found to have an unusual boreal wildflower garden growing beneath a canopy of yellow birch, the land was set aside as Shamokin Springs Nature Preserve. Protected are such treasures as the speckled wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum), wild lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum), spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata), monkshood (Aconitum), and Turk's cap lily (Lilium superbum). Among the ferns that also thrive here are cinnamon, shield, New York, silvery athyrium, and Christmas.
The Wintergreen Nature Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization, delves into the land's natural heritage annually with two eventsa Spring Wildflower Symposium and, in fall, the Virginia Natural History Weekend Retreat. The spring event is conducted by well-known botanists, photographers, and artists. The fall retreat is cosponsored by the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Some of the state's finest field scientists offer hikes, lectures, and workshops on such topics as birding, geology, paleontology, mammalogy, herpetology, and botany.
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