Rolling Ridge Historic Sites
Come appreciate the history at Rolling Ridge by exploring these sites. As you do, help us maintain the area for all visitors by leaving historical artifacts as you find them. Walking amid or climbing on old ruins could be dangerous. Caution is recommended.
Langdon and Other Cemeteries
The foundation land is dotted with cemeteries with markers dating back as far as 1798. Most are highly weathered field stones stood on end and can be easily missed.
In 1888, Reverend John McGill began to hold Episcopalian Sunday school classes and services for lumber workers and their families. Annual picnics drew folks from across the Shenandoah River. The stone outline of the building remains today.
Across from the Christ Church site are the ruins of an old home belonging to the “missionary lady”, Mrs. Cambell, who was sponsored by the Episcopal Church to teach local children. She had the only telephone in the community.
One of the most impressive monuments to the human history on the land is the two story chimney near Niles cabin on a site locals refer to as “The Grey Place”. With the stone foundation still gating the east side and the foundations of several smaller buildings spread on either side of the nearby path.
Rolling Ridge is located on the west side of the Blue Ridge. First Nations peoples lived along the nearby river valleys venturing onto the mountain to gather chestnuts and hunt turkeys. European settlers also came at first to hunt and gather ginseng, though some eventually settled in the area to farm and log.
In the early twentieth century the Rolling Ridge area supported a large farming community. The land here is very rocky and farmers spent many back-breaking hours clearing stone from their fields and piling them to the side. As you walk on the property, you will see many stone walls and piles. The meditation shelter and several residential community homes were built with stones from these piles.
Many of the trails were old roads, some of which were used for logging the land and others of which were small farm roads connecting the households in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Just east of the meditation shelter is the Memorial Grove, a place dedicated to the memory of Rolling Ridge friends and founders who have passed on.
Hiking and Biking Trails/Map
Mountain bikers and day hikers are welcome! You may park either in the designated parking area at the kiosk on gravel Mission Road or at the designated parking area at the intersection of Mission Road and Christ Church Road. For your own safety we ask that all visitors sign in at the kiosk in the parking area on gravel Mission Road. A waiver must be signed in order to have permission to access the trails. At the kiosk you can also find maps and other helpful information. Mountain bikers should use the Rolling Ridge Foundation perimeter trail. Please note that all biking is prohibited during deer hunting season which goes from September 26 through December 31 and hikers are encouraged to wear orange outerwear during the same timeframe. Happy journeys!
“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”