This is a “rerun” from last July but with the Fourth rapidly approaching and summer weekends in full swing, it seemed like a good time to offer this information again:
I don’t know about you but with these 100 degree days, I’m ready for a good old fashioned swimming hole. Clear, cold water, not many folks around, maybe even a waterfall or a few rapids and no chlorine. Doesn’t that sound good?
We did a bit of scouting around and came up with a great site for swimming holes created by someone right here in Alexandria, Virginia – Tom Hillegass.
Tom and his Website partner, Dave Hajdasz of Connecticut, focus on fresh water spots with moving water – creeks, rivers, springs and waterfalls. We’re happy to say that there are 80 swimming holes right here in Virginia.
There are also selected hot springs and lakes, quarries or bays with unique features that make them especially beautiful or fun for swimming.
I talked to Tom about how he got started on this project. After a childhood in Philadelphia where there were no ‘natural’ places to swim, Tom moved to Oregon and fell in love with swimming in local rivers. A final move brought him to Alexandria and it was then that he began collecting information about swimming holes in Virginia.
Sugar Hollow, VA
He and his daughter built the Web site in 1996 and listed 35 swimming holes. Now he has hundreds of listings, many of which have been sent by faithful fans of the site.
Tom tells me, “I get lots of emails . . . and the ones I especially like are from parents who took their kids (to a swimming hole) and opened them to a whole new/old world of delight. People used to know where the local swimming holes were, but today we travel all over the world yet don’t know what’s in our back yard. Young people, especially, have no idea but are discovering them as a result of my site.”
Tom’s site is utilitarian but includes important tips around water temperature, currents, underwater rocks and in some cases, very detailed instructions on how to find some of the more out of the way swimming holes.
Safety tips are another big part of Tom’s site and they are well worth reading.
There’s still some traveling time, and plenty of hot weather, before school starts so pull out your map and plan your next adventure – to a swimming hole in Virginia.