Hungry Mother State Park
GENERAL INFO: Hungry Mother State Park in southwestern Virginia
is noted for its woodlands and lake. Easily accessible from
Interstate 81, this park has folklore and history, swimming,
camping, cabin rentals, boat rentals, hiking and the park system�s
first conference center, Hemlock Haven.
Much of the land for Hungry Mother State Park was donated by
local landowners to develop a new state park in Smyth County on
Hungry Mother Creek. The park is one of the six original CCC parks
that opened in June 1936.
The Legend of Hungry Mother
Legend has it that when the Native Americans destroyed several
settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and
her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders�
base north of the park. They eventually escaped, wandering through
the wilderness eating berries. Molly finally collapsed, and her
child wandered down a creek until the child found help. The only
words the child could utter were "Hungry Mother." The
search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where Molly
collapsed to find the child's mother dead. Today that mountain is
Molly�s Knob, and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek.
Hemlock Haven Conference Center: (276) 781-7425 - Reserved
by Hemlock Haven.
This in-holding of Hungry Mother State Park, long serving as an
Episcopal Church camp, was purchased by the state in 1986. After
considerable refurbishing, the facility opened in 1989.
Facilities include meeting rooms, cabins, a sports complex and
picnic area. Packages and fees vary. Call the conference center at
(276) 781-7425 for more information and reservations. Cabins are
reserved through the State Parks Reservation Center,
1-800-933-PARK. Catering is available through the Hungry Mother
LOCATION: Hungry Mother State Park is in Smyth County. To get
there, take Exit 47 from Interstate 81. Travel approximately one
mile on Route 11 toward Marion. Turn right on Route 16 north and
travel four miles to the park Register at the Discovery Center.
Directions to Hemlock Haven (within the park): Use the
above, general directions to find Hungry Mother State Park. Once
within Hungry Mother State Park, follow signs for Hemlock Haven
Conference Center. Stay on the main road and follow the loop. The
first six cabins are named: Chestnut, Hickory, White Oak, Scarlet
Oak, Red Oak and Sycamore. Stay on this road to The Pines, which
are near the fork in the road. The Pines are numbered 21-25.
Register at the Discovery Center.
Directions to Camp Burson (formerly known as Hungry Mother
Family Campground): Before reaching the main entrance to
Hungry Mother State Park, you'll see Camp Burson on the right off
Park Boulevard. Campers who've rented sites with
electric/water/sewage hook-ups register at Camp Burson. Do not
register at the Discovery Center, which is inside the park proper.
Drive Time : Northern Va., six hours; Richmond, five hours;
Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, six hours; Roanoke, two hours.
PICNIC SHELTERS: This park offers three shelters for rent
through the Reservations Center at 1-800-933-PARK. Click here
for park fees. They can be rented from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (all
day). Shelter 3 is large and can be rented in two separate
sections. The park's amphitheater can also be rented (see below
under "special offerings"). Parking and
swimming fees are not included in shelter or amphitheater rental.
All shelters are available April 1-October 31; at other times they
are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Shelter
amenities include charcoal grill, picnic tables, electical
outlets, fireplace, lights and access to restrooms.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before
reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Shelter 1 - This handicapped accessible shelter is a
favorite because it's closest to the beach, playground, boat
rentals, restaurant and handicapped accessible restrooms. It
overlooks the lake and accommodates 75. Amenities include
electrical outlets, a fireplace at each end, a large Texas size
grill and 12 picnic tables. Around the shelter are tables not for
rent; they're taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Shelter 2 - This secluded shelter accommodates 75. There
are tables located around the shelter that are not reserved and
are take on a first-come, first-served basis. This shelter, near
parking lot 5, is tucked in the woods just past the restaurant and
near the boat rental area and the amphitheater. It is often used
along with weddings held at the amphitheater. It features
electrical outlets, fireplaces at each end, a large Texas-sized
grill and 12 picnic tables.
Shelter 3 - Shelter 3, the largest, accommodates 40 on each
of its two sides (a & b - but it can be rented in whole).
There are tables located around the shelter that are not rented
and are take on a first-come, first-served basis. There are
electrical outlets on each side of the shelter; brick
fireplaces separate two halves of shelter. This shelter is not
handicapped accessible. It has a large Texas-sized grill and six
picnic tables at each end of the shelter. It is near parking lot 6
and the restrooms. The restrooms are not handicapped accessible.
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