You might think twice about staying at a place called “Hungry Mother.” I sure did. Turns out it’s a local legend involving the original settlers (Native Americans) vs. newer settlers (white people taking the land) and somehow a child saying “hungry, mother.” Sure, let’s go with that.
Meanwhile, the park itself is yet another jewel in the crown that is the Virginia state park system. A lake, hiking trails, cabins, two campgrounds, fishing, swimming, this place has a lot going on. Two fun facts about this park: it is one of the six original Civilian Conservation Core (CCC) parks that opened in June 1936 and in 2007, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
I stayed here for a few nights back in the fall of 2018, when I was being chased all over southern Virginia by hurricanes. That time, I got booted after two nights, told to search for higher ground than my nice creekside spot. I vowed to return, and I knew just the site I wanted too. Site 19. Because this…
Sites by water are sometimes not ideal for sitting by the fire and listening to the burble of the stream and watching ducks bob on the water. Number 19 is not one of those sites. It was totally ideal for blissing out with a pretty private view of the stream.
My friends Janet and Leigh from Roanake came down with their spiffy truck camper and we spent a few days hanging out by said campfire and taking a hike around the lake. We were all pretty mellow, early to bed one night and then a quiet campfire the next, talking about retirement, campers, and the state of the world. I don’t always have campfires with friends, so I really enjoy it when I get the chance.
We spotted the first mountain laurel of the season, a wonderful harbinger of warmer weather and longer days. The flowers are only about an inch wide but they are beautiful in their detail.
After seeing rhododendren bushes for a month without any blooms, I was quite excited to spot the first blooms of the season deep in the forest on our walk. The rhodies come quick and don’t stay all that long, so I enjoy them while they’re out.
And, no, I never got tired of the creek view from my site. Every hour it was different light and every hour it was beautiful.
In summary: good campground, excellent site, great friends = a perfect time at Hungry Mother.
HUNGRY MOTHER STATE PARK (VA STATE PARKS)
- Two campgrounds, one (Camp Burson) closer to Marion but more like an RV Park. I prefer the smaller Creekside campground, farther into the park. Anything along the creek is good; site 19 is the best, of course. Creekside is for small rigs only, partly because the sites are short but also because the road to get there is curvy and narrow. Reserve at Virginia State Parks.
- Services: electric and water. Each loop has a bath house with showers and a laundry room (I love parks that provide laundry machines!). Dump station is at the visitor center, which also has some great “Hungry Mother” t-shirts.
- Slow Verizon, very week ATT, no T-Mobile.
- Groceries: 10 minutes to Walmart and Ingles in Marion. Same for gas; if you are towing, look for the Shell on Route 11 north of Walmart, it’s big enough to easily get in and get out with your rig. The farm supply store a bit south and east of downtown Marion sells propane, if you need to fill up.
You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.