This Labor Day weekend, by most accounts, represented a significant, if temporary, population increase in Rappahannock County.
Several who visited Shenandoah National Park reported encountering healthy crowds, both on the trails and in the parking lots (backups and traffic tie-ups were reported Saturday at the Old Rag parking lot, off Route 231 at the county’s southern edge).
A park spokesman reported that its entrance sales were up 10 percent across the park this Labor Day weekend, compared to last year’s holiday weekend), with total entrance sales at 11,123 (up from 10,077 in 2015).
John McCaslin, co-owner of Tula’s Restaurant in Washington, reported serving a record 200 brunches on Sunday, a day when the patio dining area was crowded almost continuously from open to closing time. Cliff Miller III said the Inn at Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville was booked solid for the weekend, a report echoed by several other B&B operators around the county.
“It’s amazing how much tourism in this county is dependent on the weather,” said one local business owner, who theorized that the holiday weekend’s usual bump in visitors might have been bolstered by the fact that city dwellers in and around D.C. knew, by last Friday, that the weather at the beach would be awful, due to Tropical Storm Hermine, while the weather west of the city would be clear, dry and in the 70s. “So we also got folks out who would’ve normally headed to the beach.”