We return to the Manassas, Virginia area, for five weeks surrounding Barb’s birthday and thru Thanksgiving to spend that time with friends and our new church family. The beginning of this post overlaps a bit with our previous post that ended at Lake Fairfax County which is about 45 minutes to the Northeast of Manassas, Virginia.
We had planned to spend four weeks in the area but with our new church hosting a Trunk or Treat we moved up our arrival by a week to spread out our stay to five weeks in total. Unfortunately, there are no long-term stay campgrounds to be found in the Manassas area. One campground that caters to this clientele was only offering monthly stays to “front-line responders in the medical field” at the time. The two campgrounds that are local to the area have 2-week limits on the stays and the county park has a 2-week limit within a month total. So that meant we had to bounce around a little bit.
This was all worth it so that we could spend time in the area with friends. We got to experience fellowship with friends, with our new church family, and experience new experiences no one in 100-years has ever experienced.
Dates in the area: 10/31/2021 – 11/28/2021
Lesson learned! Do NOT try to go south out of DC the Sunday afternoon post-Thanksgiving! It took about 4-hours to go 90 miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic which was grid-locked in both directions.
100-Year Flower Laying Ceremony
For the first time in 100 years, the public could participate in this commemoration of the tombs by laying a flower. More than 13,000 people registered for this event. After we laid our flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we paused on the steps overlooking the plaza to appreciate the moment. The guard continued to walk their post but in a modified way alongside and behind the tombs while the public was permitted to walk across the plaza.
Shenandoah National Park
While the “mountains” here may not be as high as the Western US they are just as pretty for other reasons, especially when you visit here in the fall during prime leaf color season. You can access the park primarily from three different gates on the DC side of the park. There are numerous pull-outs alongside the road that runs the length of the ridge of the mountain range and the park primarily hugs the narrow foothills of this range so this is the only road. There are a couple of campgrounds inside the park but most sites are geared for smaller RVs and tenting.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
Most of the campgrounds in the DC area are very focused on short-term tourists and it is hard to find long-term stays in the area at an affordable cost. Most campgrounds will be more than $50/night and some will even be more than $100/night in the area.
Greenville Farm Family Campground
Greenville Farm Family Campground is a Good Sam campground with discounts for members. We were able to reserve a site with no money down. At over $50 / night, it is one of the more pricey campgrounds we have stayed at, but proximity and availability are key to the pricing.
This campground is very difficult to get to from the East (Manassas) and you should review the route before you begin. From the East Google Maps will take you through residential areas and some are fine to that and others are not. Instead take the route from the 7-Eleven on Sudley Road SW of the campground staying on Shelter Lane. Note just East of the 7-Eleven that there is a quick turn you will make.
The campground is indeed a farm, you will see and sometimes smell cattle there. Brought back memories of growing up in Wisconsin! The sites are mostly level and have inclines up onto a terrace and up off the terrace but they are all pull-thru in a field for the big rigs.
Bull Run Regional Park
We stayed at Bull Run Regional Park in two separate segments, first for a week at the end of October and another two weeks at the end of November 2021. Even though the campground is a meer 1000′ feet at most from our church getting to the campground is just difficult due to its location. The campground is located at the back end of the regional park and it is about a 10-minute drive from the highway to the campground through residential areas and the park itself. So everything is at least 10-minutes away and those 10-minutes are not in a useful direction. There are limitations on the number of nights in a 30-day period in which you can reserve a spot.
The area is rich with a selection of restaurants that represent many cuisine and cultures. It may seem like we were eating out a lot, due keep in mind we were in this area for five weeks!
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
Not only was the food excellent, but they were also very accomodating with our friend’s allergy requests. We enjoyed burgers and flatbreads on a “date night” with friends at the Gainesville location.
Ashton Family Restaurant
This little restaurant makes it to our list after we had both breakfast and lunch here. What makes this restaurant distinct are the unique flavors with a wide range of ethnicities on the menu.
Numerous locations around the area including our favorite in Haymarket.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
If Chipotle and Quoba had a baby its name would be Moe! He would grow up and have hundreds of restaurants across the East and Southeast US called “Moe’s Southwest Grill.” They have a party box that is excellent for full-time RVers to bring to a party, they provide everything in one box.
Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
Mostly a “west” thing there are 11 locations in the East including in Manassas. Why they make it to our list is the fresh tortillas being rolled and cooked in front of you. Not like Chipotle where they are putting pre-made tortillas in a steamer for a few seconds.
Also, this makes our list because of the amazing Mint Limeade and the rice milk horchata.
Blue Ridge Seafood
We returned to Blue Ridge Seafood again because it was so good in 2020 when we tried it for the first time.