Highland County VA in the Fall

Fall season in Monterey, VA and our 20 days of fun didn't disappoint with beautiful scenery, wildlife encounters, and great photography.  We stayed at our favorite place, the Wilson House in Monterey, VA located in beautiful Highland County, VA. This year we took off early because we thought Fall season might happen a little sooner up there. We were right. This year had a bad drought for the area and our normal fishing streams were pretty much rock gardens when we arrived. It usually never fails that we bring rain with us. This year we left them with a lot of rain the last few days of our adventure....your welcome Highland County VA.

One thing we do to plan these photography adventure trips is we research all kinds of places by using Google Images. Pick a place and Google that town, then start moving around that area of lesser known towns or destinations areas (parks, national forests, state forests and parks, mountain names). We search the images, then once you find a website with an image from that area, they usually have more photos and places in that area they visited. We find some incredible stuff doing this. Google Maps and images are your friend for photography. It always leads to another website with more info.

We arrived on a Friday just Troy and I, Steven stayed back for another 9 days running their business before he would drive up. When we arrived we were greeted by the neighbors dog, Riley, as always. She is the greatest beagle that ever lived. This dog has grown on us. We look forward to seeing her as much as the vacation sometimes. The weather in Monterey Va is usually 10 degrees lower than here in Piedmont of NC. So we look forward to the cool weather a lot! It was a nice cool 75° and a nice breeze as always. The weather is always great here in the Fall season. Our first 4 days were relaxing and we were getting warmed up shooting photography. Usually at this time of year most all the song birds have since disappeared so we photograph big birds like Eagles and wildlife photography of deer, small animals, whatever we can find. One thing we wanted to try more this trip was landscape photography. We do a good bit of wildlife and bird photography, but we wanted to improve our landscape photography and showcase the scenic views that we fell in love with. That is a tall order, because landscape photography is hard to do well. Bird and wildlife photography is easy compared to landscape, at least in our eyes anyway. So we decided to focus more on the farm life and landscape shots when we went this time. We wanted to create a sense of the whole environment and experience.

Highland County VA is just sheer beauty and is known as Virginia’s Little Switzerland. It is also the least populated county on the East Coast. This is one of the reason the US Forest service drops off troubled bears here from TN and NC. There are more cows and sheep than people in this county. Highland County houses several little towns in it. The biggest is Monterey Va. Down the road a little ways is probably our favorite places to photograph wildlife, Hightown and Blue Grass Va. Hightown is along the way to Blue Grass if your coming from the south headed North. Hightown Va. is the place where the division of the James River and Potomac River watersheds start.

You can take a ride to Mustoe and take the back road of 607 to Bolar Va, or jump over to the little town of McDowell off Hwy 250 and head down 678 and follow the Bull Pasture River. You can go  a little further down Hwy 250 and ride along the Cow Pasture river on 614 . Many of our shots came to be by regularly riding these roads. The roads never seem to end in this county, and we do enjoy that journey a lot.

We also took about an 1.3 hours ride one day to a place we have wanted to visit, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Estate. This place is a must stop if your even close to it. So much to see and so little time it seems. Oh the places you'll go....