We stayed on the docks at the Visitor Center for 4 nights. The dock is free and when we registered, they said it is usually is limited to a two night stay. However, because there was bad weather coming, they said we could stay longer. Boats can raft together. And most of the boats that came on Wednesday, stayed right through until we left on Sunday.
The Visitor Center is open from 9-5 and the restrooms stay open all night. It is also a great place for tourists to stop for info and free maps. They offer free coffee and have a sitting area with chairs, use of a computer and printer should you need it, and free wifi. We had many coffees and chats with all the boaters up at the center.
The weather was unseasonably cold for here, we were told. The first morning, it was 7 degrees! And I thought 9 degrees was cold! We ran the buddy heater in the mornings and the evenings and through the day would go up to the Visitor Center. They had bicycles there for free use as well. Mike decided to bike up to a grocery store on Thursday and that turned out to be 6 miles each way so he certainly got his exercise that day!
Up on the grounds of the Visitor Center, they have a pet run for your dogs, bags for cleaning up after your dog and a garbage spot just for that. They also had this plaque and display. Mike took these photos for Ken and other railway friends.
Mike also was at the center one day when these two cruised in, on their way to a car rally. Grampie Claude and Grammie Pat will love looking at these beauties.
On Friday the storm front moved through with rain and wind. We were lucky to be on the canal and not get much wind but it did rain hard and was cold. We ran out of our little propane bottles for the heater too so had to suck the cold up. We were off to the Visitor Center in the afternoon to visit and get warm. The evenings were very chilly, even for Mike, who never seems to mind the cold. Cruisers were always teasing him for wearing shorts and T-shirts but even he had to get into jeans and sweaters. I had to wear layers to get warm and even wore a hat to bed.
On Saturday morning, one of the trawlers on the wall wanted to leave and get farther south so boats were moved around so they could exit.
Also on Saturday, it was their 6th annual Dismal Swamp Day. It was an overcast day, no rain but still chilly. Because of the weather and other events around the area, they didn’t draw as big a crowd.
The lift bridge was down as the festivities were on the other side of the canal.
I snapped this photo of all our boats on the canal wall from the bridge.
Here’s some of the things we saw at Dismal Swamp Day:
The Dismal Swamp State Park Visitor Center
The next two remind us of our son, Scot, who has an ice cream wagon and also is a beekeeper. 🙂
Homemade Ice Cream
The Rocky Mountain Rehabber
Note the mouse in his claw for his breakfast
And a girl had a duck; she runs a refuge for for teaching purposes
Wagon rides. A lot of newly made boat cruising friends were on this ride. The gentleman with the black leather jacket and the brown hat is a lockmaster at the Deep Creek Lock. He was excellent and gave so much info on the Dismal Swamp. He painted a picture of the swamp that was not dismal at all. We tend to agree with him. So very beautiful here. Apparently he gave a somewhat different talk each ride….I wanted to go on them all!
We also got a lesson on how they made their moonshine in the early days on the Swamp
One of the earliest boats used on the Dismal Swamp Canal
Some folks getting ready for canoe rides that were offered
We ate lunch at the Dismal Swamp Days and I enjoyed a Brunswick stew with hush puppies and Mike had a pulled pork bun with fries. By then it was getting colder and we went into the warmth of the Visitor Center, had coffee and chatted with the staff and the cruisers. Now if you ever find yourself on a boat going south, make sure you take the Dismal Swamp Canal route, pull in to the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center and stay a day or two. And if you are driving by, stop in at this rest area. You will get great Southern hospitality.