Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Scenic lodging off the beaten paths

Before reaching Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland in Virginia on Sept. 26, I stayed overnight at the Shenandoah Crossing Lodge and Resort north of Charlottesville near Gordonsville, Va.

The complex is positioned on a hill overlooking virtually the entire the east shore of Izac Lake nestled in one of Virginia's vast forested areas and offers lodgers a choice of "roughing it" in yurts or cabins or enjoying more traditional hotel accommodations in the central lodge.

I arrived well after dark on Sept. 25 and stayed in the lodge. In the morning, before heading to Monticello, I briefly walked the grounds to photograph in daylight what I was unable to appreciate when I arrived the night before.

Shenandoah Crossing calls itself a resort; it has swimming pools behind the central lodge (the pools were operational in late September), and there are trails in the woods, a stable where guests can visit and ride horses, a place to dine separate from the lodge, and boating and fishing on the lake.

I wanted to assess whether Shenandoah Crossing would be worth returning to for a longer stay in the future in case I wanted to pursue visits to the homes of presidents Madison and Washington. Madison, the fourth president, lived at Montpelier not far from Gordonsville; Washington's Mount Vernon is along the Potomac River about 23 miles south of Washington, D.C.

There was no time to explore any of the lodge's amenities this time, but maybe if there is a next time.

Photo geek stuff: I shot all of my images at Shenandoah Crossing with a Canon 6D equipped with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens. I bracketed my shots for three exposures of each scene, melding them into one using Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software in post-processing. As always, I used my shutter speed as the exposure variable for the bracketing; my aperture was set at f/8. Thick cloud cover prompted me to use an ISO of about 500.

To see a full gallery of my shots from Shenandoah Crossing, visit my site at As always, to view a larger and sharper version of a photo in a post, click on the picture. This is especially important if you access the post from a mobile device.

Side views of the lodge's front (above) and back (next two below). 

Above and next two below: Looking down to the lake from the back of the lodge. 

Standing on the pier, two views of the shore (above and below) and a glance across the lake to a private home (two below). 

Photographing the stables complex to capture the undulating grounds separating the stable and the lodge (above) and the flat area in front of the area as seen from the access drive to the lodge (below). 

Above are some of the horses grazing when I arrived near a fence along the access road. One of them (far left) decided to risk an amble over to me to see if I had something edible to share. Unfortunately, I did not, and I think the horse's disappointment is apparent (below).

The central lodge's circular pickup/drop off road (above) and the tree-lined access road (below).

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