Several weeks ago I snuck away from the office in order to take two days off with my partner, Val. The trip required driving to Front Royal, VA which is approximately 1.5 hours from our Nation’s Capitol. The first stop was the Royal Horseshoe Farm which was originally constructed in the 1740’s. It was a layover place for George Washington in the mid 1700’s while he surveyed the area for Lord Fairfax. It was also once the home of US Supreme Court Justice John Marshall.
Additional history for Royal Horseshoe Farm includes the civil war Battle of Front Royal during which the Union garrison commanded by Colonel John Kenly was captured by General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on May 23, 1862. This engagement pitted the Union Maryland forces against the Confederate First Maryland troops. The farm includes a canon emplacement which protected Morgan’s Ford on the Shenandoah River and surrounding bridges and railroad which supplied the Union Army. The farm property hides canons from this engagement.
We brought some hamburgers and cooked out on the gazebo grill while our guide, Rita prepared the horses for our ride. At the appointed hour, we meet our new friends Ben, Belle and Sadie. All three confessed to being camera shy and declined to sign photo releases. We saddled up and for the next hour and a half rode up hills, across a meadow, through the woods and traversed the Manassas Run (a tributary of the Shenandoah River). Upon our return, we helped put our friends into their stalls and rewarded them with carrots.
I must admit having not ridden a horse for decades left me saddle sore so relaxing in the whirlpool afterward was great. The next day was spent tracing the maneuvers of the forces of the Battle of Front Royal followed by a trek up into the Shenandoah Mountains to enjoy the sunset.
The point I take away is that every now and then we all have to remember to turn off the smart phone, tablet and laptop in order to take some time to look around, enjoy and appreciate that which nature shows along with the folks we’re with.
Historical information obtained from the Front Royal Visitor’s Center and other sites.