October 24-25, 2015 Rapidan Camp

Our journey today was a ranger led tour of Rapidan Camp, Herbert Hoover’s get away when he was president.  We took this tour in 2011 and here is a link that will tell you a little more details on the camp and its history:

2011 Rapidan Camp Visit

We enjoy doing repeat tours in the National Parks because each Ranger has a different perspective.  In 2011, we learned a lot about the camp and the buildings.  Today, Ranger Ginny told us about Herbert Hoover’s life and his contributions.

Most people equate Herbert Hoover with the 1929 crash and the Great Depression.  That was only four years of his life and he lived to be 90.

Here is more information about him:

  • He was a graduate of the first class of Stanford University.
  • He was internationally known for humanitarian relief efforts in war-time Belgium.
  • He was the first leader of the United States Food Administration where he inspired Americans to observe "Meatless Mondays" and "Wheatless Wednesdays"-- to substitute fish and vegetables for beef and bread-- and to dig backyard War Gardens.
  • He was the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s where he promoted partnerships between government and business.  He met with many businesses in order to standardized items such as tires and tools – “economic modernization.”
  • He made a fortune in mining and was the first of two Presidents to give his salary to his staff and charity.  (President Kennedy was the other – he donated all his paychecks to charity.)
  • He wrote over 25 books including one titled The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson and another called The Principles of Mining.


Ranger Ginny is a history and social studies teacher. She became interested in Herbert Hoover’s life when she found only a small paragraph about him in the student books.  She felt there had to be more about him and went on a quest to find out.  When I asked about a book about him, she told me that there was really no one book.  However any recently published books give a better perspective of him. 


The tour is 2.5 hours long, cost $10.00, and reservations must be made by phone or online (that is new as of September 2015).  We started out in a van from the visitor center and traveled 6 miles to Rapidan Camp via a dirt road.  During the trip down, we learned about Hoover life up thru his presidency and the history of the camp and on the way back we learned of his life after the presidency.

The road:

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The camp originally consisted of 13 buildings.  When the Park Service took it over, the buildings had not been maintained for many years.  They decided to keep three buildings that were in better shape, bring them up to code, and open to the public.  Two of the buildings are open to the public via the tours or the hosts that live in the third building.

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The “Prime Minister’s House:

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Hoover’s greatest passion was fishing. The property is located right by the joining of two rivers that form Rappahannock River – famous for its trout.

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The “Brown House” where the President and First Lady lived:

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Lou Hoover loved the smell of campfires.  Since the summers here can be hot and humid and lighting a fire inside would be too hot, this fireplace was built in the center of the camp and a fire was always burning when she was in camp.  There are stories that the President cooked at the fireplace a few occasions and served many heads of state and guests.

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More information can be found here:



The third building houses the camp host.  We were able to talk to them about the position and the duties.  It really sounds like a lot of fun – Smile

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We arrived back at the Visitor Center, had a great lunch at the Wayside and saw this little gal on the way home.

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Another wonderful day in Shenandoah National Park.

October 25th

Today started out cold, foggy, and rainy so I did laundry.  They have a nice little laundry, clean and reasonable priced, near the shower area and I was able to use most of the washers and dryers – Smile 

This afternoon, we went to the lodge to use their internet – Very slow today – Bummer.

Just hanging out this evening.  The sun has come out but it is about 15 degrees colder than yesterday – Brrrr.


We have had a great week and great weather here in Shenandoah National Park and tomorrow we will continue our journey.  Our plans are to be in Cumberland Gap National Park by Tuesday/Wednesday so stay tuned and enjoy today.



DNPC said...

Good to see you're back on the road! We enjoy following your travels,

Diane said...

Thanks Keith - :-)