To help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, all Virginia State Parks are offering programs highlighting the effects of the war on the local population.
A Civil War Campfire atBelle Isle State ParkAugust 19 will highlight the naval, army, and home front aspects of the war through stories and music. The free campfire programs begin at 8:00 p.m. in the amphitheater and will feature songs, stories, and clothing of the Civil War.
Belle Isle State park is located near the Chesapeake Bay on a peninsula known as the Northern Neck. This peninsula is bordered on the North by the Potomac River, which belongs to Maryland and was part of Union territory during the war. As the Potomac also leads to Washington, D.C., vast naval protection was provided by the Union army and blockades were common. The Chesapeake Bay was a main transportation thoroughfare for both sides of the conflict and waterways were heavily patrolled by Confederate and Union navies.
Michael Dunaway dressed as a Confederate militia member
People living on the Northern Neck used boats to fish and to travel. Union naval boats often restricted boating traffic on the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers as well as the Chesapeake Bay for fear that civilian boats could be carrying spies or contraband. These restrictions led to hardships for many of the families living in the area.
The free campfire programs begin at 8:00 p.m. in the amphitheater and will feature songs, stories, and clothing of the Civil War.
Like all of the campfire programs at Belle Isle State Park, the program includes marshmallows and sticks. In case of inclement weather or excessive heat, the program will be held inside the Visitor Center (without the campfire and marshmallows). For more information call (804) 462-5030.
AmeriCorps member Stacey Hash, staff member Michael Dunaway, and volunteer Don Kenefick
Belle Isle State Park Location:
Lancaster County on the Rappahannock River. From Warsaw, take State Route 3 East to SR 354. Turn right and follow for three miles. Turn right onto SR 683 at Somers to the park entrance. From Kilmarnock, take Route 3 West to Lively, then left on SR 201 for three miles, then right on SR 354 for three miles and left onto 683 to the park entrance.
Drive Time:Northern Virginia: two hours; Richmond: two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach: two hours; Roanoke: five hours
Click herefor a Google map. Latitude, 37.774414. Longitude: -76.599364.
Belle Isle State Park, 1632 Belle Isle Rd., Lancaster, VA 22503; phone, (804) 462-5030; email,belleisle. Learn more about park offerings by calling1-800-933-PARKor emailingresvs. Be sure to specify the park of interest
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES:Bel Air Overnight Area (Bel Air house and guest house) and camping. For information on availability of campsites, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you canClick herefor details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for overnight stays.
Visit a photo collection ofBelle Isle's overnight accommodations.