Almost heaven, indeed!
On Saturday Jacqueline and I took a casual road trip with no particular destination, and ended up at the Shrine Mont retreat and conference center owned by the Episcopal Church in the old resort town of Orkney Springs, Virginia. It is situated just west of the mountain ski resort of Bryce, about 30 miles north of Harrisonburg, very close to the West Virginia border. There are hiking trails, a picturesque pond, and a variety of recreational and artistic facilities. It was our first trip there, and we were so mesmerized by the natural beauty and tranquility of the place that we promised each other that we would return. This Pileated woodpecker (male) showed up just as we were walking through the unique and enchanting outdoor cathedral at Shrine Mont. An angel dressed in black, perhaps? Several photos of our visit there can be seen on the new Virginia, Fall 2005 page.
On the way to Orkney Springs we stopped at an ice cream stand on the west edge of Bryce, and were fortunate to see some White-breasted nuthatches, a Blue-headed vireo, and a Black and white warbler.
Early this morning we went for a walk behind R.E. Lee High School, and saw a family of five Brown thrashers, a Red-bellied woodpecker (M), a Downy woodpecker (F), a Hairy woodpecker (F), but only one warbler: a Chestnut-sided one.