Back to Nature

Horticulture, Hiking and Conservation Forum Trees: Canopy of Conservation

Tuesday night Buffet Dinner at Cedar Creek and/or Stargazing SOLD OUT.
Contact communications@gcvirginia.org to waitlist. You might also choose to dine at the Natural Bridge Hotel restaurant (The Tavern), or other restaurants in surrounding areas.

Wednesday Conservation Forum Trees: Canopy of Conservation SOLD OUT.
Contact Ann Heller at communications@gcvirginia.org or 804-643-4137.

Join Us at Natural Bridge

September 24-25

Back to Nature with the Garden Club of Virginia!  The 2-day event at Natural Bridge State Park opens Tuesday, September 24 with our popular Horticulture Show and will include guided hikes, geocaching and a tree planting with Bartlett Tree Experts to celebrate our work at Natural Bridge. Join friends for Horticulture Sip and See in late afternoon.

Then head down to Cedar Creek for a casual outdoor "Tuscan" dinner buffet surrounded by what Thomas Jefferson called “the most sublime of nature’s works.” Meet conservation award recipients as well as presenters at the next day’s Conservation Forum. Pre-registration required for the Tuscan dinner buffet. $35 per person, limited seating. SOLD OUT. Contact communications@gcvirginia.org to waitlist. You might also choose to dine at the Natural Bridge Hotel restaurant (The Tavern), or other restaurants in surrounding areas.

Cap off the night with a guided hour-long Stargazer tour. The moon and stars have been a constant source of inspiration for centuries of generations. Unfortunately, electric lighting has made the starry skies a rarity for many of us. Take advantage of the dark skies at Natural Bridge State Park for a night of star viewing on Jefferson Point. Gain a new appreciation for night sky by learning about it with the rangers at Natural Bridge. Binoculars for enhanced viewing will be provided by the park. Pre-registration required for the Stargazer Tour. No cost, limit 20. SOLD OUT. Contact communications@gcvirginia.org to waitlist.

Wednesday, September 25 features the Garden Club of Virginia's 61st Annual Conservation Forum - Trees: Canopy of Conservation. This popular event includes four speakers who will present a broad range of topics relating trees to the benefit of our environment. Pre-registration required for the Conservation Forum. $35 admission includes continental breakfast. SOLD OUT. Contact Ann Heller at communications@gcvirginia.org  or 757-804-4137.

Getting Around

Please let us know if you have mobility needs during Back to Nature as the terrain is hilly and there are some stairs. Do not walk across Rt. 11, between the independently-owned Natural Bridge Hotel and Natural Bridge State Park. Please use the Pedestrian Tunnel from the Hotel to the Visitors Center. The tunnel is lighted at night. In many cases you may carpool or request (in advance) a shuttle to be taken from the Visitors Center to the Hotel. Personal vehicles may NOT be driven to Cedar Creek for dinner.  A bus/shuttle will be provided from the Visitors Center (downstairs) to Cedar Creek dinner.

Natural Bridge and its surroundings were once settled by the Monacan Indians, later owned by Thomas Jefferson and surveyed by George Washington. Carved out of limestone by Cedar Creek, Natural Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The earliest written account of the bridge was in 1742 by the explorer John Peter Sallings, who settled in this region. In 1774, Thomas Jefferson successfully applied for a land grant from King George III that included the 215-foot-tall bridge. In the late 18th century Natural Bridge, considered one of the natural wonders of the New World, became a popular tourist destination. 

Virginia Native Plant Horticulture Show. In celebration of GCV's 100 years of conservation advocacy.
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Guided Tours, Geocaching and Self-Guided Hiking. Gather friends and enjoy nature your way!
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61st Annual Conservation Forum - Trees: Canopy of Conservation. Four speakers, four topics.
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Timeline of Events and Activities

Monday, September 23 Natural Bridge Visitor Center
9:00 am - 2:00 pmHorticulture Show setup
2:00 pm -5:00 pmHorticulture registration and entries accepted
Tuesday, September 24 Natural Bridge Visitor Center
8:00 am - 10:00 amRegistration and entries accepted
10:00 am - 1:00 pmHorticulture judging
10:00 am - 12 noonGuided Tree Hike, geocaching and self-guided hiking
12 noon - 1:30 pmLunch on your own
1:00 pm - 1:30 pmBartlett program with Rockbridge Elementary School children
1:30 pm - 2:30 pmTree planting / Ribbon cutting / Conservation awards and reception
2:00 pm - 6:00 pmHorticulture open
2:30 pm - 4:30 pmGuided Tree Hike, geocaching and self-guided hiking
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmSip and See
6:15 pmGather at Visitor Center lower level for shuttle to Cedar Creek.
6:30 pm - 8:00 pmCedar Creek Buffet Dinner SOLD OUT. Contact communications@gcvirginia.org to waitlist.
8:45 pmGather at Hotel Lobby for Stargazer Tour shuttle.
9:00 pmStargazer Tour (limit 20) Contact SOLD OUT. Contact communications@gcvirginia.org to waitlist.
Wednesday, September 25 Natural Bridge Hotel, Washington Hall
8:30 am - 9:30 amRegistration and continental breakfast
9:30 am - 12:30 pmForum speakers
12:30 pmLunch on your own
2:30 pm - 3:30 pmHour-long, strenuous guided hike at Virginia Horse Center

Logistics

Recommended Lodging
Natural Bridge Historic Hotel and Conference Center
15 Appledore Ln
Natural Bridge, VA 24578
Telephone number and code
540-291-2121 ext. 1
GCOV23
Rate=$99 + tax

Lunch Options
Lunch is on your own. Natural Bridge State Park offers snack bar service in the Visitor Center. Natural Bridge Hotel offers a full service dining room.

Natural Bridge State Park, 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578

Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Rd, Lexington, VA 24450