June 19, 2012

Tour President's Hoover's Rapidan Camp


Years ago I took my parents to Skyline Drive and we went on the Rapidan Camp tour. At that time it was offered only one weekend a year in honor of Herbert Hoover's birthday.

Now it's open on weekends and certain other days during the warm seasons. You need to make a reservation in advance because the group travels on a small bus.

For two years I've intended to take my husband on that tour but the schedule did not work out. Finally I got reservations while his sister was visiting us. Rapidan Camp is located at the headwaters of the Rapidan River. The tour leaves from Big Meadows and travels part way down the mountain on a narrow road. Half an hour later the bus reaches the camp, which was once the presidential retreat of Herbert and Lou Hoover.
The camp can also be reached by hiking or horseback. Some visitors drive in from below as far as the gated road and then walk the rest of the way.

The tall hemlocks that were there 20 years ago are gone now, victims of a tiny but powerful pest. A couple of things that I did not remember from my previous visit were that William E. Carson was instrumental in persuading Hoover to locate his retreat here and that First Lady Lou Hoover was a very accomplished woman.

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