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  • Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority

A Restless Virginia Resident Finds Sights To Evoke West In Her Backyard

Our residents can be our best advocates. Erin Gifford is one of our best...

Reprinted from the Washington Post

By Erin Gifford Oct. 15, 2020 at 7:43 p.m. EDT

Like many travel lovers, I’ve had no desire to go anywhere by plane — mask on, eyes darting anxiously from one passenger to the next, ears open for coughs and sneezes. Over the summer, I hiked, biked, kayaked and camped within an hour or two of my home in Virginia’s Loudoun County, an area of rolling hills and green countryside outside D.C. But by September, I ached to untether from my safe space in the suburbs. I fiercely desired a bona fide change of scenery.

As I pored over online regional maps and dug into local Facebook groups for suggestions, I was surprised to turn up photos of natural wonders reminiscent of our Western national parks and public lands, like textured sandstone slot canyons, a massive rock cave filled with an acre of beach-like sand and the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi River — Breaks Canyon.

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