needlefish

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When I started dating my wife, I spent a considerable amount of time driving back and forth on Interstate 81 between Knoxville, Tennessee and Washington, DC. If you’ve ever driven that stretch of highway, you know that it can be miserable at times due to heavy traffic.  I didn’t have to sit through very many traffic jams before I figured out some alternate routes. Highway 11, also known as Lee Highway, was the primary north-south artery along the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the Shenandoah Valley long before the interstate was built. I soon realized that, even on the heaviest traffic days, it’s possible to jump off onto 11 and ride for jam-free miles through some of the most scenic country in the region. Before long, I started picking out segments of Lee Highway to drive along even when traffic wasn’t backed up on the interstate.

Since I have family and property in Tennessee, I continue to make that trip often and I still plan these panoramic diversions into my travel. Sometimes my ventures off the main road last only for an exit or two, but on some trips, I’ll drive for miles though the beautiful scenery and quaint communities of the Shenandoah. I look at these Lee Highway detours like they are mini-vacations from the usual hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfare. As a result, I’ve made some interesting discoveries. For example, did you know there is a full-size replica of  Stonehenge made entirely out of styrofoam near Natural Bridge, Virginia, or that you can still get a delicious burger at the restaurant where Hank Williams ate his last meal in Bristol? Read More!


The main channel of the Chesapeake is currently closed to most fishing due to dense, muddy water. Debris fields containing trees, logs, railroad ties, even 55-gallon drums and partially-submerged refrigerators make it nearly impossible to navigate anywhere near the Bay Bridge.  The Susquehanna River remains near flood stage, so there is more bad water and trash to come. What’s a light tackle fisherman to do?  Go east, young man – go east and go shallow.  If you aren’t fishing the shoreline right now, you’re missing some of the most spectacular top-water action of the year.  September is almost always a great month for top-water fishing, and it’s even better now since fish have been pushed out of the muddy waters of the channel toward the shorelines.  Better yet, the high water makes it even easier to get our boats in tight and fish the current swept banks. Read More!