Sky Meadows State Park
Sky Meadows State Park is a 1,862-acre (754 ha) park in the Virginia state park system. It is located in extreme northwest Fauquier County, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Paris, Virginia. It is about an hour outside of the Washington, D.C. metro region.
|Sky Meadows State Park|
Fall in Sky Meadows State Park
Location of Sky Meadows State Park
Sky Meadows State Park (the United States)
|Nearest city||Front Royal|
|Area||1862 acres (754 ha)|
|Governing body||Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation|
Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm
Visitor Center at Mt Bleak-Skye Farm, April 2013
|Location||11012 Edmonds Ln., near Delaplane, Virginia|
|Area||1,618.3 acres (654.9 ha)|
|Architectural style||Federal, Vernacular|
|NRHP reference #||04000552|
|Added to NRHP||May 24, 2004|
|Designated VLR||March 17, 2004|
The park was formed when Paul Mellon donated 1,132 acres (458 ha) of land in 1975. The name Sky Meadows came from former owner Sir Robert Hadow, who named the property "Skye Farm" after an island in Scotland. It has expanded its borders twice since then—248 acres (100 ha) were added in 1987, containing the Appalachian Trail, and in 1991 Mellon donated an additional 462 acres (187 ha), bringing the park to its present size.
It is located near Paris, Virginia off US 17, one mile (1.6 km) south of US 50 and seven miles (11 km) north of Interstate 66.
It starts in a valley between the foothills and the Blue Ridge Mountains, then has meadows and forests stretching up to the ridge of the mountain and the Appalachian Trail.
There is a basic walk-in campground, over 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails and 6 miles (10 km) of bridle paths. The horse trails are east of US 17 and the hiking trails (and most of the park) is west of US 17.
With a combination of meadows, grazed fields, forest, scrub, and streams, it has a wide variety of ecological zones.
Most of the year, there are monthly "astronomy nights" where amateur astronomers bring their telescopes and use them to show attendees various celestial objects. Typically, an astronomer from the Smithsonian Institution is among the leaders.
Sky Meadows is a year-round bird watching site. It is known for a colony of red-headed woodpeckers that live in an oak grove just past the contact station. Depending on the time of the year, it is almost certain that this and the other six species of woodpeckers—downy, hairy, red-bellied, yellow-bellied sapsucker, pileated, and northern flicker—commonly found in this part of Virginia will be present.
Except for "astronomy nights", the park closes at dusk, and campers must be in the park and others out of the park at that time.
Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm
Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm is a national historic district located in Sky Meadows State Park. The district encompasses 23 contributing buildings including barns, 1 contributing site, and 3 contributing structures dating between 1780 and 1954. The oldest is the 1 1⁄2-story, Wayside Cottage dated to about 1780. It also includes the Timberlake farmstead (c. 1860), Federal-style Mount Bleak mansion (c. 1843), and the frame Meeting House (c. 1845).
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "Sky Meadows State Park: Other Info". Virginia State Parks. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- Cheryl H. Shepherd (January 2004). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. and Accompanying three photo
- Official website of Sky Meadows State Park
- Sky Meadows State Park in World Database on Protected Areas
- Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) Birding Hotspot Factsheet
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