Virginia Highland Haven, a Blue Ridge Escape
In hindsight, it seems strange that we didn’t try this before. We love everything about Airstream trailers. When we find another one in an RV park, we almost always strike up a conversation and find like-minded people. But we’d never stayed at an Airstream-only RV park until we rolled into Virginia Highland Haven in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia.
Our expectations were high. We looked forward to the beautiful scenery, quiet countryside and a shared love for these iconic trailers. This RV park delivered all of that and more. Now we’re hooked, seeking out Airstream RV parks as key stops on our trips around the country.
Getting there is a trip
Southwest Virginia is beautiful. Forests cover valleys disappearing into the endless Blue Ridge Mountains. Susan knew this area from when she lived on the other side of the state. Adriel had never been here. Both were seduced by the beautiful land rising around us as we drove.
Except… Adriel had to keep his eyes on the road because even the major highways twist, turn and snake their way across the state. Here’s an excerpt from Virginian Highland Haven’s site page for how to get there:
Caution: U.S. 221 between Roanoke and Adney Gap and the portion of State Route 8 south of the Blue Ridge Parkway are not recommended for inexperienced RV drivers. Both have many sharp curves and steep grades (about 10%).
That’s right. Sharp curves and steep grades – they’re not kidding about the 10%.
Fortunately, Pearl (our Ford F250 diesel pickup) powered up those grades with no problem. Even better, it held our speed safely as we dropped down the other side. Any mountain truck driver will tell you it’s not going up that’s the problem; it’s coming down the slope.
Once you leave the highway, the road gets even more challenging as it narrows to two lanes. The twists and turns get even sharper as the road is carved out of the forest and mountainsides.
We’ve learned to slow down and take it easy on more difficult roads. That certainly worked in our favor here.
The view is worth it
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s good because words fail when it comes to describing how this place felt.
It’s so quiet that we found ourselves almost whispering.
The view is always beautiful but the sunsets are like something out of a movie.
And looking down a row of Airstreams nestled into the trees always brought a smile to our faces.
People like us do things like this
Seth Godin wrote this to describe the power of like-minded tribes. That’s at the core of our experience at this RV park. Most people in RV parks are friendly. Meeting new people and finding new friends is one reason people love RVing.
We discovered the couple next to us had been members for a long time. They both were associated with Colonial Williamsburg and shared lots of stories over afternoon tea.
But when your tradition goes back 90 years, it takes your experience of community to a new level. And, for us, it led to joining the Airstream Club International. This organization has been creating community and sharing information to help Airstream owners for sixty years. It’s the source of those Big Red Numbers you see on many Airstreams.
And we decided to go to the 2023 International Airstream rally in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We were already planning to be in Colorado to visit family next year, and the timing worked out perfectly to add this event.
It’s good to deliberately join and nurture community, especially when it’s integrated with your lifestyle. Our time in Virginia Highland Haven is a pivot point for us in our adventures on the road.
Details and amenities
Virginia Highland Haven was created in 1970 by a group of 46 Airstream club members from a 75-acre farm. It’s still a member-owned non-profit, so site rental rates are great. However, there are still only 46 sites, and many members leave their Airstreams parked on site for the season. You’ll need to reserve your site as far in advance as possible.
They built a spacious clubhouse at the bottom of the hill. We enjoyed the clean laundry with an honor system donation bucket. They use this facility for numerous member gatherings throughout the season, but it was quiet and empty while we were there.
All sites have full hookups (30 amp electric only), concrete patios, and plenty of room. There are miles of hiking trails on the property, including one that leads to a small waterfall.
One of the downsides to beautiful remote camping is having to drive a bit for supplies. You’ll need to drive 15 miles to Floyd, VA, for groceries or restaurants. The area has many interesting attractions with a Friday night bluegrass concert in Floyd topping the list.
It’s not for everyone
On travel days, you need a spot to park overnight, close to the highway, just enough for a rest before traveling on. Other times you need a place to relax, slow down and get back in touch with nature. Virginia Highland Haven will slow you down and give you memories of Blue Ridge sunsets to last a lifetime.