Sky Meadows State Park

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Sky Meadows State Park
Sky Meadows State Park Virginia.jpg
Fall in Sky Meadows State Park
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Location of Sky Meadows State Park
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Sky Meadows State Park (the United States)
Nearest city Front Royal
Coordinates 38°59′5″N77°57′31″W / 38.98472°N 77.95861°W / 38.98472; -77.95861 Coordinates: 38°59′5″N77°57′31″W / 38.98472°N 77.95861°W / 38.98472; -77.95861
Area1862 acres (754 ha)
Governing bodyVirginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm
MtBleak-SkyeFarm 0022.jpg
Visitor Center at Mt Bleak-Skye Farm, April 2013
Location11012 Edmonds Ln., near Delaplane, Virginia
Area1,618.3 acres (654.9 ha)
Builtc. 1780 (1780)
Architectural styleFederal, Vernacular
NRHP reference # 04000552 [1]
VLR #030-0283
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 24, 2004
Designated VLRMarch 17, 2004 [2]

Sky Meadows State Park is a 1,862-acre (754 ha) park in the Virginia state park system. It is located in extreme northwest Fauquier County, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Paris, Virginia. It is about an hour outside of the Washington, D.C. metro region.

Virginia U.S. state in the United States

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.

Fauquier County, Virginia County in Virginia

Fauquier is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,203. The county seat is Warrenton.

Blue Ridge Mountains mountain range

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, and extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.


The park was formed when Paul Mellon donated 1,132 acres (458 ha) of land in 1975. The name Sky Meadows came from former owner Sir Robert Hadow, who named the property "Skye Farm" after an island in Scotland. [3] It has expanded its borders twice since then—248 acres (100 ha) were added in 1987, containing the Appalachian Trail, and in 1991 Mellon donated an additional 462 acres (187 ha), bringing the park to its present size.

Paul Mellon American racehorse owner

Paul Mellon was an American philanthropist and an owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. He is one of only five people ever designated an "Exemplar of Racing" by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. He was co-heir to one of America's greatest business fortunes, derived from the Mellon Bank created by his grandfather Thomas Mellon, his father Andrew W. Mellon, and his father's brother Richard B. Mellon. In 1957, when Fortune prepared its first list of the wealthiest Americans, it estimated that Paul Mellon, his sister Ailsa Mellon-Bruce, and his cousins Sarah Mellon and Richard King Mellon, were all among the richest eight people in the United States, with fortunes of between 400 and 700 million dollars each.

Appalachian Trail 2,160-mile hiking trail going through fourteen US states

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy describes the Appalachian Trail as the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than 2 million people are said to take a hike on part of the trail at least once each year.

It is located near Paris, Virginia off US 17, one mile (1.6 km) south of US 50 and seven miles (11 km) north of Interstate 66.

Paris, Virginia Unincorporated Village in Virginia, United States

Paris is now a small unincorporated community in Fauquier County, Virginia, United States. Located in Virginia's hunt country, it was established in a strategic spot at the eastern base of Ashby Gap along U.S. Route 17 and U.S. Route 50.

It starts in a valley between the foothills and the Blue Ridge Mountains, then has meadows and forests stretching up to the ridge of the mountain and the Appalachian Trail.

There is a basic walk-in campground, over 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails and 6 miles (10 km) of bridle paths. The horse trails are east of US 17 and the hiking trails (and most of the park) is west of US 17.

Bridle path Path that can be used by people riding horses

A bridle path, also bridleway, equestrian trail, horse riding path, ride, bridle road, or horse trail, is a path, trail or a thoroughfare that is used by people riding on horses. Trails originally created for use by horses often now serve a wider range of users, including equestrians, hikers, and cyclists. Such paths are either impassable for motorized vehicles, or vehicles are banned. The laws relating to allowable uses vary from country to country.

With a combination of meadows, grazed fields, forest, scrub, and streams, it has a wide variety of ecological zones.

Red Headed Woodpecker at Sky Meadows State Park Red Headed Woodpecker at Sky Meadows1.jpg
Red Headed Woodpecker at Sky Meadows State Park

Most of the year, there are monthly "astronomy nights" where amateur astronomers bring their telescopes and use them to show attendees various celestial objects. Typically, an astronomer from the Smithsonian Institution is among the leaders.

Smithsonian Institution Group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government

The Smithsonian Institution, also known simply as the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. It was founded on August 10, 1846, "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. It was originally organized as the "United States National Museum", but that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.

Sky Meadows is a year-round bird watching site. It is known for a colony of red-headed woodpeckers that live in an oak grove just past the contact station. Depending on the time of the year, it is almost certain that this and the other six species of woodpeckers—downy, hairy, red-bellied, yellow-bellied sapsucker, pileated, and northern flicker—commonly found in this part of Virginia will be present.

Red-headed woodpecker species of bird

The red-headed woodpecker is a small or medium-sized woodpecker from temperate North America. Their breeding habitat is open country across southern Canada and the eastern-central United States. It is rated as least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Endangered species, having been downlisted from near threatened in 2018.

Downy woodpecker species of bird

The downy woodpecker is a species of woodpecker, the smallest in North America.

Hairy woodpecker species of bird

The hairy woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker, averaging approximately 250 mm (9.8 in) in length with a 380 mm (15 in) wingspan. With an estimated population in 2003 of over nine million individuals, the hairy woodpecker is listed by the IUCN as a species of least concern in North America. Some taxonomic authorities, including the American Ornithological Society, continue to place this species in the genus Picoides, while others place it in Dryobates.

Except for "astronomy nights", the park closes at dusk, and campers must be in the park and others out of the park at that time.

Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm

Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm is a national historic district located in Sky Meadows State Park. The district encompasses 23 contributing buildings including barns, 1 contributing site, and 3 contributing structures dating between 1780 and 1954. The oldest is the 1 12-story, Wayside Cottage dated to about 1780. It also includes the Timberlake farmstead (c.1860), Federal-style Mount Bleak mansion (c.1843), and the frame Meeting House (c.1845). [4]

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. [1]

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  1. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  3. "Sky Meadows State Park: Other Info". Virginia State Parks. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  4. Cheryl H. Shepherd (January 2004). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Mt. Bleak-Skye Farm" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. and Accompanying three photo