DIRECTIONS TO HOPEWELL OBSERVATORY:
Short version, if you have Waze, Google Maps, or some other GPS navigation system: make your goal to be 3804 Bull Run Mountain Road in The Plains, Virginia. That will get you to the gate mentioned in step 6, below.
(1) From the Beltway, take I-66 west about 25 miles to US 15 (Exit 40) at Haymarket. At the light at the end of the ramp, turn left/south onto US 15. (Exit is at approximately latitude 38°49’00″N, longitude 77°38’15″W.)
(2) Go 0.25 mi, at the second light turn right/west onto VA Rt. 55. There is a Sheetz gas station & convenience store at this intersection, along with a CVS, a McDonald’s, and a Walmart-anchored shopping center on the NW corner. This is a good place to stop for restrooms or supplies.
(3) After 0.7 mi on Va 55, turn right (north) onto Antioch Rd., Rt. 681. You will pass entrances for Boy Scouts’ Camp Snyder and the Winery at La Grange. (38°49’12″N, 77°39’29″W)
(4) Follow Antioch Rd. to its end (3.2 mi), then turn left (west) onto Waterfall Rd. (Rt. 601), which will become Hopewell Rd. (38°51’32″N, 77°41’10″W)
(5) After 1.0 mi, bear right onto Bull Run Mountain Rd., Rt. 629 (this is beyond Mountain Rd.). This will be the third road on the right, after Mountain Rd. and Donna Marie Ct. (38°52’00″N, 77°42’08″W) Please note that Google Earth and Google Maps show a non-existent road, actually a power line, in between Donna Marie Ct. and Bull Run Mtn. Rd.
(6) In 0.9 mi, enter the driveway on the right, with the orange pipe gate. There is a stone gate on the left, opposite the entrance. We’ll have some signs up. This is a very sharp right hand turn. (38°52’36″N, 77°41’55″W)
(7) Follow the narrow paved road up the ridge to the cell phone tower station. You can park here (but PLEASE don’t block the driveway around the towers!) and proceed the remaining few hundred feet to the observatory on foot, or…
(8) Take the grassy track around to the right of the station, and continue south, through (or around) a white metal bar gate. The few places among the trees near our operations building, the small house-like structure in the woods, are reserved for handicapped people, Observatory members, and those bringing telescopes. Please watch out for pedestrians, especially children! The observatory itself is in the clearing a short distance ahead.
Location of the observatory is approximately latitude 38°52’12″N, longitude 77°41’54″W. The drive takes about 45 minutes from the Beltway if the traffic is light. (Otherwise, it can take much longer!) A map to the site follows. If you get lost, you can text me (Guy) at 202 dash 262 dash 4274.
Julie Edmonds said:
Hi Guy. It’s Julie Edmonds. You will be amazed to learn that my sister in Australia sent mecthe link to your blog thinking that I would be interested in the Hopewell Open House coming up!! Glad to make contact again and hope all is well. Also hoping to make it to this event!
Hi, Julie! That open house was seven years ago, but we will have another one this fall. We have just managed to completely rebuild the clock drive on our big telescope mounts, using a system based on Arduino and the stepper motors used by CNC machines and 3-D printers. It took over 8 months of hard work to make it operational!
I hope you, Jim, and your adult kids are all doing well!