Size and Character:
517 square miles in central Virginia, crisscrossed by Interstate 64 and bounded by Lake Anna and Spotsylvania County on the northeast, Orange County to the north, Albermarle County to the northwest, Fluvanna and Goochland counties to the southwest and Hanover County to the southeast. The county is primarily low and sandy-soiled, sparsely populated and covered by extensive woodlands. It is home to Virginia Power's North Anna Power Station, and the 9,600-acre Lake Anna, which was built by the utility.
Towns and Communities:
The county includes two incorporated towns, Louisa and Mineral, the Twin Oaks commune and a number of large subdivisions on Lake Anna.
Louisa has three elementary schools (grades K-5), one middle school (grades 6-8) and one high school (grades 9-12).
Population is 23,900. The median income is $28,598.
Virginia Power's North Anna nuclear plant employs many residents, as do recreation facilities on Lake Anna. County residents also work in lumbering, farming and light industry. Commuters go west to Charlottesville and southeast to Richmond. Unemployment averaged 7 percent in 1996. Major businesses include Virginia Power, Kloeckner-Pentaplast Inc., Tridum Filter, Klearfold and Busada Manufacturing, Virginity Community Bank, Trade Winds of Virginia, Piedmont Metal Fabricators and Virginia Vermiculite.
The county was formed in 1742 and named for Princess Louisa, daughter of England's King George II. Revolutionary War hero Jack Jouett Rode in 1781 from Cuckoo Tavern to Charlottesville to warn Gov. Thomas Jefferson about the approach of British soldiers.
The mid- and late 1980's saw Lake Anna become a favorite recreational destination for Washington-area residents, while retirees continued to build homes around the waterfront. County officials have placed limitations on mobile homes, many of which have been put around the lake. An application will be submitted to build a 138-townhouse unit on Lake Anna.
The County Courthouse on Main Street, a historical site, is being completely renovated. The courthouse was designed by Thomas Jefferson and should make a nice tourist attraction once work is completed.
Primeco is putting a 300-foot transmitting tower in the county and it will share the space with Virginia Public Broadcasting.
The North Anna Power Plant recently completed a dry-cask storage facility for nuclear fuel.
County offices are in the administration building at 1 Woolfolk Avenue. The address is Box 160, Louisa, VA 23093. The phone number is 540/967-0401. The Circuit Court is at 314 W. Main St., with a mailing address of Box 37, Louisa, VA 23093.
Back to Top
Size and Character:
342 square miles of red clay, rolling hills and flat, sandy soil, bounded by Culpeper, Louisa, Spotsylvania, Albermarle, Greene and Madison counties.
Towns and Communities:
Orange County includes two incorporated towns, Orange and Gordonsville along with communities at Locust Grove, Lahore, Mine Run, Nasons, Unionville, Rhoadesville, Somerset, Barboursville, Rapidan and Lake of the Woods, a large planned community in the county's eastern corner.
One elementary school with grades K-3, one elementary school with grades K-5, two elementary schools with grades K-6, another with grades 4-6, one middle school (grades 6-8) and a high school (grades 9-12). Total enrollment in the 1997-98 school year was 3,794 students.
Population is 23,961. The median income is $43,007.
Agriculture, including both beef and dairy operations, is the largest industry. Some work in light industry; others commute to Northern Virginia and Charlottesville. Unemployment averaged 4.5 percent in 1995. Major businesses or industries: American Press, American Woodwork, Ridged Products, Virginia Metal Industries, Atlantic Research Corp., Battlefield Farms Inc., Central Virginia Newspapers Inc., Robber S. Coleman Lumber Co., General Shale, Glass Dynamics Inc., Intertrans Carrier Co., Liberty Fabrics, MSAG Data Consultants Inc., Specialty Weavers and Technology Service Group.
Orange was formed in 1734 and named in honor of William IV, Prince of Orange, who was the husband of Anne, Princess Royal of England. Two U.S. presidents were born in Orange County: Zachary Taylor and James Madison. Madison, known as the "Father of the Constitution", lived much of his life in Orange County at his Montpelier estate. James Barbour, governor of Virginia from 1812-1814, lived in Barboursville, an imposing mansion that was completed in 1822 and burned on Christmas Day 1884. Many Civil War events took place in Orange; the Confederates made extensive use of the railroad through the county.
County offices and courts are in the town of Orange, 112 West Main St., Box 111, Orange, Va. 22960 540/672-3313 or 540/972-1455.
Back to Top
Size and Character:
Spotsylvania's 410 square miles make it one of the largest counties in Virginia. During the past decade, it also has been one of the states fastest growing counties, largely because of its location along Interstate 95 midway between metropolitan Washington and Richmond. Most of this growth is concentrated in the norwest portion abutting Fredericksburg. Much of Spotsylvania, particularly Livingston and Berkeley districts, remains rural. The county is bounded by Fredericksburg and Stafford County to the north, Orange and Culpeper counties to the west, Louisa and Hanover counties to the south and Caroline County to the east.
Towns and Communities:
There are no incorporated towns in Spotsylvania, but a number of communities have developed over the years. Some of them include: the Courthouse, Snell and Post Oak along State Route 208; Chancellorsville and Elys Ford areas in the vicinity of State Route 3; the Four Mile Fork area on U.S. 1; the Paytes area along the Spotsylvania-Orange county line; and the Goshen Church and Todds Tavern areas off State Route 612.
There are 14 elementary schools (K-5), five middle schools (6-8) and four high schools. Also the Spotsylvania Vocational Center serves students from all high schools. Enrollment was 16,580 at the end of the 1997-98 school year. Projected enrollment for 1998-99 is 17,100.
Population is 77,700. The median income is $52,574.
As of December 1996, 19469 people worked in Spotsylvania, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. About 6,221 jobs were in retail. There were 2,004 jobs in the manufacturing industry and 298 in health services.
Major businesses and industries: Spotsylvania's industrial center is the Lee Hill Industrial Park and Spotsylvania Industrial Park on Tidewater Trail (Routes 2 and 17). There are other large industrial parks on the south side of the US 17 Bypass, including 95 Commerce Place and the RF&P Corp.'s Crossroads Industrial Park. Hundreds of acres there are slated for industrial development.
The commercial center is the State Route 3 corridor, including Spotsylvania Mall, and the Four Mile Fork area along US 1.
General Products Co., which manufactures doors at a plant near Hamilton's Crossing, is one of the country's largest industrial employers, as is the GM Powertrain plant. CVS, formerly Peoples, operated a large distribution center on Lansdowne Road, and Western Wood Products, Mid-Atlantic Foam and the A. Smith Bowman Distillery are among businesses at Spotsylvania Industrial Park. Simmons USA is in Lee Hill Industrial Park. Northeast Foods, trading as Automatic Rolls of Virginia Inc., operates in Leonard Industrial Park on the US 17 Bypass.
Spotsylvania was formed in 1721 from a merger of Essex, King and Queen, and King William counties, and was named after former Gov. Alexander Spotswood. Spotsylvania is probably best known for several major Civil War battles fought on its soil, including one of the bloodiest of the war, the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.
The Courthouse area, where State Routes 208 and 613 intersect, is the county seat. Most county administrative offices are in the Holbert building. The county administrator's address is Box 99, Spotsylvania, 22553. The phone number is 540/582-7010.
Back to Top
Destination Lake Anna
Make no mistake.† Lake Anna is a major destination carved into the gently rolling piedmont of central Virginia, providing a place to live, a place to work, and a place to play.† Many things to many people, Lake Anna is very good at making her presence known through word of mouth, though not because of any glitzy tourist trap notoriety.† Rather, it's a comfortable feeling that quietly takes hold.† It becomes part of you, and it's why so many come back.†††††††††
For all her charms, Lake Anna remains first and foremost a sportsman's lake where, for almost three decades, skilled anglers return again and again to engage in high-caliber, trophy fishing for largemouth bass, coupled with a stocking program designed to create and maintain a second major recreational fishery--that of Chesapeake Bay-strain stripers.
Northern walleye, a fish species generally considered strictly a Yankee trophy, were also successfully introduced to selected Virginia waters, Lake Anna being one of them.† You could argue that a whole new class of southern angler has emerged because fisheries biologists have the latitude to be more creative in lakes like Anna, where traditional bass fishing is now but one of many pursuits to challenge your fishing expertise.
Large impoundment fisheries management provides biologists exciting options above and beyond baseline largemouth bass and bluegill ecosystems, and if you take into account the growing popularity of crappie angling, Lake Anna is a well-rounded, sportsman's lake with an eleven, or even twelve month potential.
Lake Anna can be a humbling lake to fish because of her sheer size (a total of 9,600 acres) and complexity (over 200 miles of convoluted shoreline).† Anna neophytes not wishing to endure many hours of frustration find it faster and easier to jump on the learning curve by investing in the services of one of Lake Anna's many professional guides.† They know the lake, work tirelessly to put you on good fish, and teach you a heap of insider information in the process that may take years to discover, otherwise.
Lake Anna is an important destination to out-of-state visitors, and for the nearby metropolitan areas of Richmond and Washington, DC.† Evaluating trends in state fishing license sales around the lake reveals that approximately fifty-percent of all fishing license sales are to out-of-state anglers.
It is obvious from these findings that Lake Anna, a major freshwater fishery and an economic gem for the region, has evolved into one of Virginia's premier recreational destinations able to pull visitors from near and far, visitors like Jim Schaefer of Chicago, Illinois, and his best friend, John Zuiker of Centreville, Virginia, who have been fishing Lake Anna since 1983.
Every fall and winter, Jim and John like heading to the lake for three day stretches of uninterrupted striper fishing. Mirroring the habits of their Chesapeake Bay cousins, Lake Anna stripers are schooled, active, and feeding heavily on baitfish during the late fall and early days of winter.† As these die-hard striper anglers will attest, Virginia weather swings are unpredictable that time of year, but it also can be quite mild.† It's a fact of life that striper anglers will fish through anything November and December can throw at them for a chance at the big stringer, and sometimes they are rewarded for their efforts with big fish and shirt sleeve weather.
Without the boat traffic that can sometimes frustrate weekend fishermen during the spring and summer months, late-season striper fishermen have a lake virtually to themselves, cruising at will to tangle with stripers in the ten to fifteen pound range and occasionally larger.† Stripers from the depths attack live shad, bucktails, or big trolled plugs such as Stretch 25's and Redfins.† Schools of surfacing stripers are known to corral, then crush, baitfish in the shallows where an angler can cast a Hopkins spoon, surface plug, or plastic shad body into their midst for instant action.† There are so many ways and so many places to hunt winter stripers on Lake Anna that† Jim and John now prefer their Lake Anna striper excursions to bass fishing.† The names of striper hot spots roll easily off angler's tongues, fish-speak for insiders--Dike 3, Christopher Run, Rose Valley, The Splits, Contrary Creek.when the bite is on, get there or get left out.
Schaefer puts it this way, "We used to be bass fishermen, and then we started catching stripers by mistake, actually.† We realized how much fun it was, so now what we do is try to key our trips when we come down here, basically, just for the stripers, just about this time when the water temperature starts cooling off and the stripers really get active."
"I'm a school teacher in Chicago, so I pick my three day weekends when I can get them," Jim added, "which is usually four or five times a year."
"When we're here, basically it's 99% on the water," said Schaefer, "and we're on the water an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset."
"I really enjoy the hospitality, the people down here, I feel like I'm at home, actually.† Dave (Fauntleroy) takes care of us down at Anna Point Marina.whenever we walk into the marina he remembers our names, asks us about the Bulls and the Blackhawks, everyone is real friendly."
During their last trip, things really fell into place while fishing near Christopher Run.† On one of their fishing days, Schaefer and Zuiker ended up with eight keepers, the largest striper weighing 15.1 pounds, and a eight fish total weight of 54.5 pounds.† It was Jim's largest Lake Anna striper, ever.† All told, they caught about 15 stripers, releasing those that needed another year to fit their size criteria.
To Jim and John, Lake Anna stripers may be the big draw, but the hospitality keeps them† coming back year after year.
Come discover for yourself.
Back to Top
Stripers On Lake Anna
by C.C. McCotter
If you have ever wanted to harness a lightning bolt, you might want to consider learning the secrets of Lake Anna's growing striper fishery. These saltwater transplants (known as rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries) have flourished in Lake Anna since they were first stocked by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) officials back in the early eighties. While Anna's stripers do not successfully reproduce, annual stockings in excess of 96,000 fish since 1990 have filled the lake with stripers above the 20-inch minimum size requirement. In 1990 alone, 692,623 fingerlings and fry were stocked in Anna. 1998, a slightly above normal year for the hatchery, saw almost 200,000 young stripers stocked.
What all this fish mean is that Anna will have plenty of linesides for years to come. In fact, biologists are currently discussing whether or not to decrease the amount of fish stocked into Anna. The goal is to see if Anna can maintain current fishing success rates at a lower rate of fish stocked.
Recent biological surveys have revealed there are more stripers in Anna than ever before. One recent year class of stocking will have an impact on the fishery for years to come. A large portion of the 1997 stripers survived the crucial recruitment phase and should reach legal limit size in three to five years. If you see or have seen large schools of small stripers breaking the surface on Anna, you have seen evidence of this strong year class certain to provide a lot of action over the next few years.
Fishing for stripers is similar to hunting. Veteran Anna striper anglers know you must spend as much or more time looking for them as you do fishing for them. To actually catch Anna's well-traveled stripers you must first locate them. The next step is to pinpoint what time of the day and how they are feeding. Finally, you must narrow down what exactly they are feeding on.
The best times to catch a Lake Anna striper are early spring and late fall. You can catch them during the summer and other times, but these fish are most active during periods of cooler water - 45-55 degrees.
There are many ways to catch a lake striper. Perhaps one of the most common and easy ways is to long-line troll a deep-diving plug such as a Redfin or Norman's DD22 during the summer and early fall. With two rods in holders and the outboard at the slowest possible in-gear speed, anglers will probe Anna's underwater humps and channel edges during the summer, when stripers go deep in search of cooler, oxygenated water. Here, the fish will eat everything in that preferential layer of water, then finally, go inactive. If your plug happens by.. wham, grab that rod and fish on!
One of the most satisfying methods of landing an Anna striper is to use light casting gear. Knowledgeable anglers use eight to 10-pound test line on spinning or casting gear to lob such lures as plastic shads, shallow Redfins, bucktails and Stumpjumpers to fish that often reveal themselves with surface action. The months of March, April, October, November and December are the best times to cast for Anna's stripers.
These aggressively feeding fish will follow the baitfish as they migrate from the upper lake regions. All you have to do is "find the bait and you'll find the fish". A good depth finder is an invaluable tool when striper fishing Anna no matter what time of the year.
Recently, a whole new type of striper fishing has developed on Anna. Pulling live bait, whether it is native blueback herring, gizzard or threadfin shad or even jumbo minnows from a marina has become a popular method of catching stripers. Depending on your rig, you can pull anywhere from two to 10 lines of bait with your trolling motor. The baits are employed on a variety of rigs including free lines, down lines, cork lines and side planers. When all else fails, check the live bait angler's boat back at the ramp. He usually has stripers.
No matter the technique or time of year, Anna's striper fishery awaits any angler looking to harness one of the hardest fighting fish that swims in freshwater.
Structure Enhancement Program
by John Smith
Over the past three years the watery haunts of Lake Anna's famed largemouth and crappie populations have been changing for the better. If you were a fish, you'd appreciate the upgrade to the "neighborhood" that has been the goal of the annual Fish Structure Enhancement Program since it was initiated in 1997.
Anglers, both visiting and local, along with Virginia Power officials and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologists, have worked hard to create six enhanced and marked Fish Structures throughout the lake. In addition to, but separate from the annual FSEP, approximately nine new Fish Hab locations were installed and marked in Anna in 1998.
After most of the lake bottom was bulldozed before Anna was flooded, a very limited amount of structure in the form of rocks, stumps and natural dropoffs remained in the lake for fish habitat. Since the lake currently does not offer much in the way of submerged aquatic vegetation, the enhanced Fish Structures and Fish Habs have been a great way to enrich and add to the scant underwater cover left in the lake.
Begun and organized by lake guide and writer C.C. McCotter, the FSEP has had immediate impact on Anna. Numbered structures five, three, seven and one in Pigeon Run have received a total of approximately 500 Christmas trees and over 500 hundred cinderblocks. Fishing on these locations for bass, crappie, even catfish has been excellent since enhancement.
A complete map of the 14 original Virginia Power Fish Structures is available at lake marinas. The FSEP's goal is to "ensure good fishing into the future for visiting and local anglers" and plans are to eventually enhance the remaining eight Fish Structure sites.
Currently there is no map available for the Fish Hab locations, however, anglers will note a site by a conical, Fish Reef buoy. These attractors are made from recycled fishing line and other plastics and in a "log cabin-type" layout. Three to four units were dropped on each site.
For the ‘99-’00 FSEP effort, lake biologist Ed Steinkoenig plans to supplement the hundreds of Christmas trees with "Dumbo-type" attractors. These experimental fish structures consist of a dome framework made of draintile hose and weighted with cinderblocks. These units will last indefinitely and offer far fewer snags than the traditional Christmas tree structure.
What makes the FSEP so special is that it is completely accomplished by volunteers. All the materials are donated. All the work is done by concerned anglers, Virginia Power and VDGIF biologists and technicians. Anna Point Marina has been the program headquarters for the past two years, though all marinas are welcome to volunteer materials or manpower. The underwater habitat has bee
Back to Top
The American Civil War was fought at locations spanning the continent, but the very heart of that tumultuous conflict was contested within a 17-mile circle taking in present-day Fredericksburg and parts of Spotsylvania County, together with associated sites in two nearby counties.
There, in a span of three years, four major campaigns and dozens of battles and skirmishes of the war were bitterly fought, taking a toll of some 110,000 young American men.
Because of its bloody significance for the young nation, the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania area today encompasses the largest military park in the world--more than 9,000 acres of land at seven major sites plus a number of other points of interest.
And with interest in the Civil War at an all-time high in recent years, visitors to Lake Anna are ideally situated to visit these key historic sites in easy day trips.
For those with a casual interest in the war, highlights of these battlefields, key buildings and museums can be covered in one to two full days. For the dedicated Civil War buff, there is enough in the Fredericksburg area to occupy an almost unlimited time.
An ideal starting point for an orientation to these resources is the National Park Service Visitor Center on Lafayette Boulevard, in Fredericksburg. There, and at the visitor center on State Route 3 for the Chancellorsville Battlefield, orientation films are regularly screened, rangers are available to provide more information and tour options, and there are bookstores to provide not only background information but cassette tapes for self-drive tours.
As an overview, the war was neither begun nor ended in the area, yet it could be said that some of the heaviest and most important fighting occurred in the region.
In November, 1863, Federal troops crossed the Rappahannock River and stormed well-defended Confederate troops on the high ground to west of the city center. They were slaughtered in that battle, thrown back to positions in nearby Stafford County on the north shore with heavy losses.
The following spring, a probing Union Army once more crossed the historic Rappahannock, further upstream in Spotsylvania County. The aim of the maneuver was to threaten the army of Southern forces commander Gen. Robert E. Lee near Chancellorsville. But the Union advance was discovered, prompting Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to take one of the most daring countermoves of the war. In a chancy 12-mile flank march, Jackson circled the forces of Gen. Joseph Hooker, catching them by surprise in a running battle that turned into a rout.
One year later, in May of 1864, a major near along the highway to Orange pitted armies of Lee and Union commander Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in a bloody fight with no clear winner.
Days later the two armies locked in a devastating battle once more, this time near Spotsylvania Courthouse.
Any visit to these fields where so many gave their lives, where the air was thick with the smoke of battle, where survivors describe hellish conditions for all, by all means should include at least some exploration on foot in these now still woods and peaceful fields. The Park Service has provided ample marked trails and self-guiding tour routes.
Within each of these major sites there are individual highlights too numerous to enumerate. For example, the Wilderness Battlefield includes Ellwood, also known as the Lacey (sp?) house, a key site used by Federal forces during the war.
Visitors should also look closely at battlefield tour maps, noting that not all parcels of land are contiguous and it may take some driving to be sure and take in even all of the major sites connected to a particular conflict.
In addition to the battlefields themselves, there are other historic properties of the National Park Service in the area. These include the historic Chatham estate, opposite Fredericksburg in Stafford County. Chatham, serving as a field hospital for Union forces during the war, is now headquarters for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
The Park Service also oversees Old Salem Church. Though surrounded now by commercial development, the historic church was both a refuge for civilians as well as a temporary hospital, at various times during fighting in the area. Also of interest is the Stonewall Jackson Shrine at Guinea, in Caroline County. The site was of vital importance to Confederate forces during the war as a key rail supply route and terminus. Today it is an attractive but melancholy place, much as it was when the famed Confederate leader died there, the nearby train tracks still a major north-south rail artery.
There are also a number of Civil War related sites elsewhere in Fredericksburg, such as the Confederate Cemetery, at the west end of Amelia Street. Union dead from the Battle of Fredericksburg are interred at a dramatic tiered site on the battlefield itself, looking down on Lafayette Boulevard, near the Park Service Visitor Center.
The Fredericksburg Visitor Center, on Caroline Street, is another key point for tourists interested in Civil War sites. In addition, there are several businesses in the vicinity dealing in items of interest related to the conflict. And with its rich history dating back well over 350 years, the old city is full of other points of interest, from the American Revolution to sites relating to two presidents with close ties to Fredericksburg.
Some six miles east of the city, on State Route 218 in Stafford County, there is a new private Civil War Museum said to be well worth a visit.
It is no exaggeration to say that Fredericksburg and its surrounding counties are one of the most historically rich areas in the United States.
---------------- PRACTICALITIES: National Park Service Visitor Center, Lafayette Boulevard, Fredericksburg, 540/373-6122; Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center, State Route 3 west of Fredericksburg, (9001 Plank Rd.) 540/786-2880; Jackson Shrine, Guinea Station, 804/633-6076. If at all possible, anyone planning a visit should also look at the Park Service's highly detailed internet web site, with key links: www.nps.gov/frsp/ The Fredericksburg Visitor Center, with a wealth of information on the city, may be reached at 540/373-1776 and the Spotsylvania Tourism Center, at 540/891-8687.
Back to Top
Dalton and Penny Lee followed their hearts right to Lake Anna. Their story is unique as they don't fit either of the typical Lake Anna scenarios for a transplanted resident. Those relocating to Lake Anna are usually either retiring or moving to a more peaceful environment and commuting to their urban work-places. As Dalton puts it "we just got tired of the rat race."
Having first visited the lake in 1983, the Lees have always liked being around water. In the fall of 1985 when a co-worker mentioned seeing an ad in the Washington Post about Lake Anna lots for sale, Dalton and Penny immediately went looking. Before heading home that weekend, a Louisa County A-frame shell and water-view lot were theirs. This was to be their weekend get-a-way. For the next four years the New Carrollton Md. couple missed only two weekends at the lake. Saturday and Sunday at the lake had become a routine, a highly anticipated and enjoyable one. "We found ourselves living for the weekends" Penny explained. "We would leave after work on Friday and usually stop at the Chesapeake Bay Seafood House in Fredericksburg for dinner". The next morning it was straight to Food Lion in Louisa. "The cashiers knew me by name. That never happened in sixteen years back in Maryland."
The unique twist to the story came in 1993 when Dalton's future as a salesman with a commercial printing company became uncertain. In addition, their neighborhood was also changing, and not for the better. However Penny's job, as a home health care nurse, seemed secure. Decision time was near. Do they look for another house in the metro area? Or was this their opportunity to take flight and make their wooded weekend retreat a permanent address? The rub was that neither were of retirement age nor prepared to retire. Finding equivalent jobs in the Lake Anna area would be difficult. After some serious number crunching and calculating the cost of living differences in the two areas, the FOR SALE sign went up on their split level suburban home∑ Destination Lake Anna. Dalton took a buy-out of his interest in the printing company. Now the job search was on. Penny secured a job, and almost similar salary, with Mary Washington Hospital Home Health Care. Dalton was offered, and accepted a job with a local lumber company as a salesman. "No more suits and ties" Dalton said with a smile. The children, now both in college, were surprised they didn't make the move sooner. David, a junior at the University of Maryland at the time, joked to his parents that while in high school he felt they were going to show up at his graduation with a U-Haul trailer.
The transition was surprisingly stress-free. "The lake was already our home" Penny explained. "This is where our heart was." Penny essentially traded an 11 mile, forty-five minute rush-hour adventure for a 40 minute, 32 mile cruise in the country. Dalton, who grew up in Pine Level N.C. was just happy his daily business rounds into downtown D.C. were over. "I got to the point where money was not going to motivate me happiness was more important" he said with conviction. "We took a hard look at what is really important in life" Penny added. Dalton had his doubts, however, that Penny would take to the move once the dust settled and the reality of being out of the city finally hit her. "I really didn't have any with-drawl symptoms" Penny said. Getting used to the song of a whippoorwill for an alarm clock took her some time. Watching the neighborhood "wildlife" here means deer, foxes, raccoons and even a white owl. She describes her new setting as "it is like living in a Norman Rockwell painting." Now they seldom venture north of the Rappahannock River. When asked what they gave up Dalton shrugged his shoulders and said "my corvette" Penny was quick to point out several new "vehicles" indicating it might have been a even trade. Dalton just grinned.
Dalton is now making the same drive Penny does into Fredericksburg three day per week working for the Fredericksburg Auto Auction. Penny is still working with Mary Washington Hospital. "This life is not for everybody. We've seen some people move down here and then leave" Dalton stated. "But we have never regretted the move for one minute." Penny turned her head and with a smile added "We regret that we didn't come sooner"
Back to To
NYC to LKA
††††††††††† They've found the lake works like a magnet, enticing frequent visits from family.
By C.C. McCotter
There are two kinds of folks around Lake Anna…year-round folks and weekend folks. Funny thing is, most of the year-round folks used to be weekend folks. The Lake Anna lifestyle has won the hearts of many, and from a wide area. Year-round folks with say, more than 10 or 15 years of “local knowledge” can be a great source of information for first time lake visitors. These “lakers” have had years to seek out the finest restaurants, best antique shops, shopping, recreational opportunities, sporting events, cultural events and more. We have polled a cross section of long-time lake residents and compiled their list of favorite things to see and do in the area, besides being on the water. Our goal is to make your stay at Lake Anna more enjoyable.
Hiking at Lake Anna State Park is something many overlook as a convenient and affordable outdoor activity. You don't have to be hardcore and check off all the trails on the map to achieve Laker status. Start with an easy meander like the Old Railroad Ford or Glenora trails. Walk the route of 100-year old ore trains or discover the ruins of the Glenora plantation house. There's even an old mill you can hike to. I've done them all -- with a kid in a stroller or backpack. It's the perfect activity for an early weekend morning with the family, someone special or just by yourself.
No summer at Anna would be truly complete without a visit to nearby Kings Dominion, one of Virginia’s top tourist attractions. Take the kids, grandkids or go and be a kid yourself. Rides, shows, shopping, water-park and more await all ages at this mega theme park in nearby Doswell, just off Interstate 95.
Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Park are about an hours drive from Lake Anna. What a spectacular day trip this can be, especially in the early fall. Take 522 north to Sperryville and then west on Rt 211. Head south on Skyline Drive and stop in at Skyland and then continue on to the visitors center at Big Meadows. The fall scenery is breathtaking. See plenty of white-tailed deer and maybe even a black bear. The visitor center has plenty of educational displays for the kids.
At first glance, the area restaurant landscape looks barren. Nothing could be farther from the truth…you just need to know where to look. Granted, you might have to drive a bit depending on what you crave. There is no “restaurant row” at Lake Anna.
Many want to know where to get something to eat when traveling BY BOAT. The overwhelming vote belongs to Lakeview Restaurant, located at Hunter’s Landing on Lake Anna. John and Linda know what they are doing. Lakeview is overlooking the lake but don’t go on Monday or Tuesday because everybody needs a day or two off. Lakeview’s menu covers the spectrum from burgers to prime rib to Italian. The prime rib is a favorite and served every Saturday night. Nightly specials are also offered.
Dining out on Customer Appreciation Night at Chelsea Joe's is a tradition around the lake. Half the challenge of this activity is actually finding a table these days. Joe and Lester have created an institution with their half price burger on Wednesday nights. See all your friends and neighbors and meet many more. You can eat inside or out if the weather is nice. Linger into the evening and join the crowd at the bar for a cool one. Chelsea Jo’s is on Route 208 across from Sturgeon Creek Marina.
The Tavern On The Rail is a must-do for those of you that desire an elegant, yet relaxed dinner out. We can't blame you for missing those posh restaurants of the city. Try Tavern on the Rail for the sumptuous food with a rustic, refined atmosphere. Melody and Kenny offer weekly seafood specials, special cut steaks, beer from all over the world and their famous Train Wreck dessert. True Lakers eat here once a month and know when the All-You-Can-Eat Crab Legs night is. The Frederick’s Hall casserole is a “can’t miss” mainstay of the menu. Tavern On The Rail is located on Rte. 618 approximately 5 miles out of Mineral.
If you enjoy a nice drive in the country there are two delightful dining opportunities in Culpeper, about 35 minutes from mid Lake Anna. Located just down the street from each other are: The Hazel River Inn and It’s About Time. Follow Rt. 522 North into Culpeper and turn right onto Davis Street. They are both well worth the drive.
Another off-the-water activity Lakers enjoy is a visit to downtown Fredericksburg for some of Carl's famous ice cream. This is no ordinary ice cream. The 30-minute drive is worth every mile to sample some of this 50-year old fixture's products. Located on Princess Anne Street, not far from Route 1, Carl's serves three flavors of frozen custard, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. What makes it so good? A 1940-era Electro-Freeze ice cream machine and fresh ingredients. Carl's is open from mid-February to mid-November.
Fredericksburg sports the full gamut of chain restaurants, but many of the local favorites are not widely known outside the area. The downtown area has a wonderful assortment of small café’s and restaurants. Olde Town Steak and Seafood, located at 1612 Caroline Street, has been an area favorite for years. Olde Town was voted “Simply the Best” Seafood and Upscale Restaurant, by a Free Lance Star annual readers poll.
Baseball has been described as America’s pastime. What better way to spend a mid-summer evening than in a ballpark. Lake Anna residents have been known to frequent The Diamond, home of the Richmond Braves. We watched Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesco and Javy Lopez, who “came through” Richmond at the same time. The “R” Braves are the AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. If you are a baseball fan you will love “The Diamond.”
Mary Washington College, in Fredericksburg, hosts a variety of events including free concerts, art exhibits and plays. Visit www.lakeannaonline.com for complete event listing of events.
The Four County Players, a semi-professional company produces five shows per year. The theatre is located in Barboursville at the Barboursville Community Center. The Riverside Center Dinner Theater, in Falmouth, is also a popular stop for lake residents.
If you like Civil War history, when you visit Lake Anna, you are in “civil war heaven.” Spotsylvania County and the Fredericksburg area were at the heart of many major conflicts. The best place to start your journey into the past is at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Visitors Center on Lafayette Boulevard and Sunken Road in Fredericksburg.
The area is equally rich in historic sites. Kenmore, the colonial home of Betty Washington Lewis (George’s sister) and Fielding Lewis is a showplace built in the late 1700’s. Tours are from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Fredericksburg Visitor’s Center, 706 Caroline Street is your starting point for historical site tours.
Everybody has visited Spotsylvania Mall and Fredericksburg’s Central Park is a mainstay for locals, but Downtown Fredericksburg gets the most votes, especially for something unique. The downtown area of Fredericksburg is a fresh blend of sidewalk café’s, antique and specialty shops. And we mean lots of antique shops. Enjoy eighteen blocks of friendly, personalized service.
Closer to home, downtown Louisa or Gordonsville is worth a look for similar antique and specialty shops.
Tami Love wanted a better, safer place to raise her kids. Sally Pope wanted
to live where she and her husband could enjoy a life with less pressure.
But what these two escapees from Northern Virginia found when their families moved to the Lake Anna community last year was not only a slower pace and more enjoyable life but wide-open opportunities for new business.
As it was for so many other Americans, “Sept. 11” was a turning point for Love. With two kids to raise she sought an opportunity to open her own business in a place where her children would have a good life.
In Northern Virginia, Love had been a service manager for an auto dealership. For years she had brought her own boat to Lake Anna and began to think about opening her own business there.
“I looked for somebody to clean up my own boat but couldn’t find anybody doing that down here,” she recalls, “That’s when I decided to try opening a boat-detailing business.”
It’s been nearly a year since she set up shop at the Anna Point Marina, and what had been a tentative first step has turned into a profitable enterprise. “We work by appointment only now,” she said, “and we currently have a two-week backup.”
What began as a one-woman operation now employs 12 people and demand is growing, said Love, who said owners want to put their boats into shape for winter and keep them that way during the boating season. “We do it all,” she said, including restorations, upholstery, Teflon waxes and anything else needed to the old family boat look new again.
From October to December last year Love’s company, Buffers Boat Detailing, completed 176 boats and she can scarcely keep up with demand. She had planned to wait longer to move her residence to the Lake, but with the business keeping her busy Love moved here last Fall.
Sally Pope knew about Lake Anna because her husband’s parents had lived there and they often visited. A Fairfax resident, she worked as financial director for a trade association she had been with for 25 years. When husband, Craig, had a heart attack in 2003, she began to think about finding someplace to live where he could escape his high-pressure career and she might go into business for herself.
Lake Anna seemed like the answer and she decided to find a franchise for a fitness center. That seemed straightforward enough, and Pope applied to open one of the highly successful Curves facilities to serve women in the vicinity.
Pope was surprised when the company turned her down, she said, indicating there wouldn’t be sufficient demand. Undaunted, she sought data to back her firm belief that the community had grown plenty to support a fitness facility. She was also surprised to discover that little local data was available to support her idea.
Pope went to work, compiling data and even going door-to-door to survey the need for such a service business. Armed with her own information, she again sought the franchise, noting that between residents of the Lake itself and several nearby communities in the three counties contiguous to Lake Anna there was more than enough demand for a womens’ fitness center.
The company agreed with her and, last April 2, she opened her Curves franchise in space leased from Charlie & Judy Titus on State Route 208 at the entrance to Anna Point Marina
Was it a good bet? Pope said that in the 10 months since she opened she has gotten 600 members. Business is so good, in fact, that she and her general manager are opening another fitness center to serve women at Lake of the Woods.
Pope had moved to Lake Anna last February to prepare to open her business while her husband stayed behind. By September, husband, Craig, made the move. Life in the busy lakeside community has been good for them and, she said, and now he is planning to start a lawn care service business.
For those who visit Lake Anna between Memorial Day and Labor Day only, there
is a side of Lake Anna waiting to be discovered. The fall season is by far
the most spectacular and tranquil time on Lake Anna. The shoreline is aglow
with a fall spectrum that, during it’s peak, is truly breathtaking.
Something about the perfectly still reflections, lit by a late afternoon October
sun, that the mountains can’t match.
You’ll enjoy not only the scenic splendor that IS the fall season, but also combine a time that invites contemplation and quietness. Venturing into the Lake Anna State Park in late September or October, chances are that the only people you’ll see will be an occasional park employee. Hike the lakefront trails and watch the colors unfold as you meander along the well marked trails. The careful observer might see a great blue heron, beavers, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys or an occasional bald eagle. Take your camera along and spend time recording the fall spectacle on film.
If you like to fish, again this is a perfect time to come. Just being on the lake during this fall season is a reward in itself. Catching fish becomes less important, even though it is usually an excellent time for topwater action.
So don’t be in such a hurry to put the boat away this year. The summer season is great, but it doesn’t compare to Lake Anna After Labor Day if you are in need of a quality, back-to-nature, outdoor experience.
For more information call the Lake Anna State Park 540/854-5503.