I just returned from a trip that took me to our 5 parks on the far Western side of the state, Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, Wilderness Road State Park, Natural Tunnel State Park, Grayson Highlands State Park and Hungry Mother State Park. It has been a while since I’ve been to any of them and for one of them my first visit ever. Over the next few weeks I’d like to take time to share highlights of my visits and some pictures I took while at each park in a 5 part series. This is the last in the series.
Hungry Mother State Park is a park I have spent a portion of my career at, as I worked here from 1989-1991 as Assistant Park Manager. I’ve been back on numerous occasions since for various training and recreation.
It is always one of my favorite parks with the beauty of the 109 acre lake at the base of the mountains surrounding it, the 1936 log cabins and lodge, the beautiful new Discovery Center, the incredible restaurant with views of the lake, extended campgrounds throughout parts of the park and so much more. I stayed in Cabin #1 during my visit, one of the original cabins built by the CCC boys in the 1930’s. I love the feel of these cabins, rustic, but with upgraded modern conveniences to make your stay relaxing and enjoyable. My only disappointment was that it was too warm to start a fire in the fireplace.
If you get a chance to stay in one of these cabins, take some time to just admire the craftsmanship that the Civilian Conservation Corps used during a time when the modern tools like laser levels weren’t available to them. The park was busy with activity during my visit and it was great to see several kayaks and peddle boats on the lake. This is a great park to take the family, no matter what the season. During the summer months though, there is a great sandy beach for swimming, playgrounds and plenty of other activities. There are some great interpretive programs held at the park, including evening programs at the amphitheater in which you cross a bridge to get to the island it is on.
One of the premier events at this park includes the Arts and Crafts festival held every July. If you have a family reunion coming up, I strongly suggest staying at the lodge that sits up on the hill overlooking the lake. The interior renovation we did a few years back has made this one of our very best overnight accommodations. A stop in the beautiful Discovery Center gave me a chance to see some old friends, Glenn Moorer and Chris Doss. Glenn was at the park when I was working there and is now about to retire. What a great asset to Hungry Mother he has been over the past 30 years. He is a great fisherman that loves “hooking” kids on fishing. You wonder how many children he steered in a positive direction with all the fishing clinics he led at Hungry Mother. As for Chris Doss, I hired him as a seasonal worker to clean toilets when I was at the park and he has now risen all the way to Park Manager. It’s nice to know he was paying attention to all I taught him. Chris’s entire staff is a great reflection of his values at providing quality service to our visitors. Great job everyone!
I would also like to mention Jim Kelly who was the Park Manager at the park when I was there and then was promoted to District Manager. I caught up with Jim at Wilderness Road State Park at Community Appreciation Day, which was fitting since Jim has always been an important part of the community at Hungry Mother and wherever he has ventured. He too will be retiring at the end of this year after 38 years of service with our park system. So if you get a chance, stop by and wish both Glenn and Jim a happy retirement and enjoy all the beauty that is Hungry Mother State Park.
For more information on Hungry Mother State Park or other fabulous Outdoor Destinations in Virginia, click here.