One of the places we love to go to relax and unwind is Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, VA. We discovered this oasis of nature by accident. Now for more than ten years we’ve journeyed here to re-center.

Hungry Mother is one of Virginia’s original state parks, opened in 1936 and constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. (CCC). The park offers miles of hiking trails, swimming (in a lifeguard monitored area), and fishing in the 108 acre lake. Pack a lunch and go picnicking, wildlife viewing, or sit and meditate in the peace and quiet.

To see the wonder of the place just watch our video:


Hungry 3Local citizens donated 1881 acres (much bigger than Winnie-the-Pooh’s woodland) to the state for the establishment of a state park in Smyth County on Hungry Mother Creek in 1933. Later the CCC construction began on this and five other state parks. Six hundred men worked from 1933 to 1941 creating the infrastructure. Including the dam along the creek which allowed for the forming of the lake.

Whenever we share the adventures of our sojourn to this park everyone asks about the park’s name. The legend of Hungry Mother takes many forms, but the literature on hand highlights this one as the most accepted in Southwest Virginia.

The story goes that Indians destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raider’s base. During the night Molly and child were able to escape into the woods. They wandered for days eating berries, but it wasn’t enough to sustain them and Molly collapsed. The child continued to wander and eventually found help. The only words the child could utter were “Hungry Mother”.  The rescue party would find Molly at the foot of the mountain, she was dead. Today the mountain is Molly’s Knob and the stream is Hungry Mother Creek.

Sitting on the front porch of our cabin reading while a gentle rain rolls over the canopy Hungry 1of trees is just a wonder. Roasting marshmallows in the evening at our pit fire while deer of all sizes slowly pass-by is like a little Eden. Walking the dogs along the water’s edge is cool and refreshing. Swimming in the cold water of the lake is rejuvenating.

Hungry Mother is that little spot on face of the earth that brings us back to who we are, and what we want out of life.

Editor’s Note: Virginia offers a number of other wonderful state parks that we have also enjoyed staying at and relaxing. Fairy Stone, First Landing, Smith Mountain, and Staunton River are all excellent, and each offers it own unique take on being a tonic for the mind, body and spirit.

Editor’s Note #2: For years the park remained free of the trappings of technology – no phone, no TV, and even radio’s struggled to pick-up a signal. Sadly modern times are now a part of the park. WiFi is available in most of the camp, and as we walked around you could see teenagers leaning against trees with cell phones in hand.

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