The road to Shrine Mont in the early Spring is filled with verdant meadows, hillsides and mountains, red buds and dogwoods in bloom, bright green cow pastures, and my favorite seasonal change of all, the pale burgundy buds and chartreuse leafings among the treetops

One usually arrives to find dinner ready and waiting in the large dining hall. The hall is in an old hotel surrounded by porches on three levels. If you go to the third floor you will be enchanted by the ballroom that was used by gentrified Easterners in the 1800’s when they came many miles by buggy to bathe in its medicinal spring waters.  Becky, here shown with her grandchildren, was one of the hospitality folks who welcomed us to the weekend in Hall House, the customary gathering place for those from our parish. We have been coming to Shrine Mont since the 1980’s and spend the weekend in worship, outdoor exploration, group games, and especially in lots of laughter and relaxation.


Once the welcoming circles and activites are complete for the evening, we settle down for worship. This year, Martha, our priest, began the weekend with an Order of Compline that was adapted from the New Zealand Prayer Book

Saturday starts off with a big breakfast and afterwards many of us hike to either the Fire Tower or the Cross a shorter distance up the mountain. I didn’t quite make it to the Cross, but another weekender hiked back down the mountainside with me and we sat for a spell on the Adirondack chairs, got better acquaintanted, and were then joined there by my son. During the day the parish children are cared for and take up some kind of learning and craft project.

Saturday evening is a time of continued worship, organized games, more food and fellowship and sometimes extends to the wee hours.

Sunday morning we usually gather for worship at the outdoor Shrine, but this year we were rained out and had our morning service at Hall House using an Iona Eucharistic prayer.

Sunday dinner is always fried chicken and all the fixin’s. Then its time to say goodbye and head home. Here is a picture of my son, who was driving ahead of me heading down the moutain pass.

Returning home by way of Luray Caverns past skyline drive is a beautiful southern route home.

Cloud-veiled Blue Ridge Mountains in early Spring