Heading to the State of Love

Here we go, the beginning of our summer adventures, heading to the State of Love. The world we live in is finally slowing its out-of-control spin, settling into a new normal. Travel is more manageable, most businesses are open, and COVID is not the only big story in the news.

Virginia, huh?

Steve and I decided to load up our Coachmen Leprechaun 319MB and drive it to Manassas, Virginia, and spend some time with Steve’s cousin, Linda. We have created a route using the app RV Trip Wizard that is just under 3,500 miles and includes 23 stops.

Truthfully, our course is merely a sketchy outline with overnight stays only booked a few days in advance. We continue to find almost all of our overnight stays at Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome properties. Each experience has been just an excellent experience for us.

The Ranch at Walston Springs

2001 Anderson County Road 156
Palestine, TX 785801

Heading to the state of Love

Since we were beginning our trip midday, we drove about 200 miles to Palestine, Texas, for our first overnight stop. We decided on The Ranch at Walston Springs because it is a Harvest Host property. Remember, you cannot just show up without making a reservation at the Harvest Host website.

The Ranch at Walston Springs is so very much more than a Harvest Host overnight stay property, though. The Ranch is a full-blown event retreat offering facilities for events, weddings, B&B, vacation cabins, and corporate and extended stay housing. Amanda even makes and sells scented soaps!

If you’re looking for a country-style wedding in a beautiful setting, this could be your place. Need a family reunion destination? This would work perfectly.

We spent one night here parked in a vast solid packed grass field and woke up to birds singing and cows mooing in the distance. Amanda served us a very delicious breakfast right to our RV door! I did get the quiche recipe!

Heading to the state of Love

The owners, Amanda and Paul, have created quite a paradise here, just three miles from Palestine, Texas, and only a couple of hours drive from either Dallas or Houston. It’s just a great weekend getaway destination.

AR I-30 Social Hill Rest Area

East/West Bidirectional
Mile Marker 93
Near Malvern, AR

We drove about five and a half hours our next day, finally stopping at this rest area overnight. Steve chose to pass on a few other rest areas we had listed as potential stays because he felt comfortable driving all the way to Social Hill.

An alternate, “maybe stop here” plan, when we have long drive days, is always a good idea for us, and we had two alternate rest stop locations, just in case. Somedays, you might not feel like driving five hours straight.

Overnight RV parking is permitted at rest areas in Arkansas, and this rest area was an enjoyable overnight stay. It is located in the middle of the east and westbound freeways, meaning some traffic noise, but that was not a problem. The area was well kept and clean, pretty much all we required.

You never know who you will meet on the road.

After we’d stopped for the night at the rest area, a good friend of Steve’s texted that he was headed to the Houston area and wanted to get together, Steve let him know we were at a rest area near Malvern, Arkansas. Surprise! He and his wife were at an RV park a mere 20 minutes from us!

Heading to the state of Love

Steve and Jim made a plan for us to meet the following morning for breakfast at The Place. They both miraculously found adequate parking for our oversized vehicles, and Steve and I had a wonderful visit with Jim and Betty.

Betty passes the time crocheting while they are driving along on trips. She let me choose from several hot pad/washcloths she had made and even gave one to Eric, our cook, when he came out to ask if we had enjoyed our breakfasts. So thoughtful!

Eric, our cook, Haley, our waitress, and Darrell who owns the restaurant (along with his wife, Shu). We meet the nicest people during our travels.

Samuel T. Bryant Distillery

1331 Lower Brownsville Rd
Jackson, TN 38301

Heading to the state of Love

Our next stop was at another Harvest Host property, the Samuel T. Bryant Distillery. Again, don’t just pull up to the property in your rig without a reservation made online at the Harvest Host website. Of course, an RV is not required to visit for a tour, tasting, or a few drinks.

This is a fun distillery on a family farm. Their handcrafted spirits are available for purchase on-site and can be purchased locally in nearby stores. We arrived late in the afternoon but were in time to enjoy a tasting of some of the products and make a few purchases.

Heading to the state of Love

Samuel T Bryant Distillery also sells cocktails by the glass and also in pint containers to take away. We purchased a pint of their Pretty Lady cocktail made using their blackberry shine, amaretto, and pineapple juice. Very interesting.

The distillery space is quite large and available to rent for public events, weddings, special dinners. For us, it was a good place for a peaceful night’s sleep, right off the freeway but out in the country.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Heading to the state of Love

I love tours of historic homes, and luckily for us, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage was just a brief detour off our path to our next overnight stop. Photography is not allowed inside the home, so sadly, I have no pictures to share. I can recommend a tour of this home and its lovely garden. We enjoyed our visit immensely.

We learned many interesting historical pieces of information about “Old Hickory” from our tour guide. Here are just a few.

Seventh President.

Andrew Jackson was our seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837 after his heroic efforts as a major general during the War of 1812. Jackson also fought in Revolutionary War at the age of 13.

First common president

Jackson was the first president who did not become president due to his family wealth or background. He supported individual liberty and is remembered for founding the Democratic Party.

Trail of Tears

Andrew Jackson, as president, signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which allowed the government to remove Native Americans from their homelands to what is now Oklahoma. This removal has become known as the Trail of Tears.

Andrew Jackson’s support of Indian removal led to one of the most shameful times in our country’s history.

Old Hickory

Andrew Jackson’s toughness and authoritarian leadership resulted in him being nicknamed “Old Hickory.”

Moving on

We’re already four days into our probably more or less month-long trip, and all is going really well. We’re having a great time, seeing lots of beautiful scenery and meeting great people. Check back next week to see where we ramble off to next.

We are on our way to Manassas, Virginia, of course. I’d love to know about an exciting sight to see along our route, somewhere you’ve visited before maybe.

Heading to the State of LoveHeading to the State of Love

6 thoughts on “Heading to the State of Love

  1. Pingback: Excellent adventures in Virginia | Always Want To Go
  2. Pingback: We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee | Always Want To Go
  3. Hi Debbie,
    We sooo enjoyed having you and Steve stay with us!! Please come back anytime you are in the area!!
    I am so sorry to say anything, but my name is Amanda, not Amy. I wasn’t going to even mention it, so not a big deal and then I realized that if someone called and asked for Amy I would tell them they had the wrong number.
    Your Blog is incredible! I absolutely love it! Someday we’ll be on the road, your posts inspire me to do just that!!

    1. Oh my gracious! I am so sorry I just willy nilly decided your name was Amy! I wrote your name down as Amanda, but somehow decided to change it!! I truly apologize and have edited the post the identify you correctly as Amanda. We had a terrific time at your massive and beautiful place and do hope to return for another visit one day.

  4. Sounds like a really nice relaxing trip!!
    Thanks for the travel info , love it with all the travel suggestions! Need to plan a trip!!

    1. This is a fun trip. It is so beautiful here, green fields and trees everywhere.

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