4th Annual Highland County Star Party
September 27, 2019 @ 7:00 pm – September 29, 2019 @ 11:00 pm
Highland County will host astronomers from the Charlottesville Astronomical Society for this annual Star Party at one of the darkest dark sky location in Central Virginia. The public is invited and will have a chance to view nebulae, galaxies, planets, and other astronomical wonders. A number of club members will be there with powerful telescopes set up atop Jack Mountain on the clearest night within the three-day viewing window. The final decision as to which one of these three possible nights is selected (based on the weather forecast) will be made the Thursday prior.
Go ahead and book a stay in Highland County for Friday through Sunday so you will be there the night of the Star Party. Highland County is the home of the Maple Festival held earlier in the year. Dress warmly… it gets cooler than you think at night in the mountains. And bring a folder chair to be comfortable.
These are the directions from Charlottesville (about 2.5 hours driving time)
Take I-64 West to I-81 North to Exit 225. Drive several miles on the Woodrow Wilson Parkway until you see a sign on the right for Churchville; take that exit, then turn right on U.S. 250 West. After a number of miles, you’ll come to a crossroads in West Augusta. From there, you’ll cross the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains several times until you pass into Highland County. The first town you’ll encounter is McDowell; there’s a large white country store on the right that, if open, is the best place in the county to buy maple syrup.
Just before descending the hill into Monterey, turn left on Sounding Knob Rd.; you may see a sign pointing to the Laurel Point Retreat. Proceed up the mountain on a hard dirt road, passing the turn-off to the Laurel Point Retreat on your right. The Star Part location is accessed by the first gravel road leading off to the left, which has a large sign marked “Jones”. That’s your turn.
Photo credit to Kathy Cobb Photography.
Organizer – Scott Duresky