Shenandoah Valley, Charlottesville, VA

The next day, we took a drive on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and stopped to have a picnic.

But because it rained off and on, we were unable to see a lot from the viewing areas due to low clouds, but what we did see was beautiful!!

We got onto the Parkway close to our campsite, and went north. At the north entrance to the Parkway was a visitor center with a period farm.

In the afternoon, it started raining harder…. about the time we got to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. No inside pictures allowed, but was able to get some outside shots. And half the people on our tour had been evacuated!

Jefferson really put a lot of thought to each detail, and even then, remodeled extensively. A lot of his ideas came from France! Great ideas and forward thinking for the era!

This small “room” at the end of this terrace was the home he and his wife lived in while building the home. Below there are some rooms for slaves, wine cellar, beer cellar, and kitchen. There is another terrace on the other side of the house, and a building at the end of that which was his son-in-law’s office when he came.

He experimented with gardens. He documented 330 varieties of more than 70 species of vegetables. This vegetable garden is terraced, with retaining wall below it, 80 feet wide, 1000 feet long.

Mulberry Row, where the slaves lived and worked on wood and ironworks, above it.

He also planted 160 species of trees, laid out 20 oval shaped flower beds at the four corners of the house and along the walkways.

Unfortunately, Jefferson died a man in debt, and his home had to be sold. A small family plot was saved in which he and many family members are buried.

The area we are headed for tomorrow is on the outskirts of where Irene is today.

We added one more day to this area since we did not want to have winds while traveling. Guess what….Sunday morning, the sun is bright and shining!

Of course when it is not raining, we plan to just go to church, then stay around the campground. But I am getting caught up on the blog and Paul gets to take a nap!

Shenandoah Valley, Staunton, VA

We are camped about the half way mark between Lexington and Staunton. So on the second day, we visited Staunton, President Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace, and took a tour of the Presbyterian Manse where he was born, (again, no interior pictures allowed, except of car!). He only lived here a year after he was born.

and museum housing his 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine, and documenting his life.

To me, President Wilson was not one of the better known presidents, so it was an eye-opener to see decisions he was faced with, going into World War I. Times have not changed much in the political realm, where he had a supportive congress the first term, the winds changed during the second; and the blame statements made by him, representatives, and the press sound so familiar, just like today!! Some of the arguments are the same! It was during his presidency income tax was implemented (1% on $4000, which very few people made, and 3% over $100,000) and the unions were allowed to form. Borders were open but the movement to close them was beginning.

After a free trolley ride around the city and lunch, we took off into the countryside to visit the Natural Chimney Regional Park, with the natural rock chimney formations. Annual jousting tournaments have been held here the third Saturday in August (missed it by a week!) since the early 1800’s!

and even saw a manmade chimney!

At the visitor center in Staunton, the docent there asked where we were from. She then told me everyone who had come in earlier had been evacuated from areas expecting the hurricane!

As always, there is always “still more to see”.

Shenandoah Valley, Lexington, VA

On our way to MMAP project in Pennsylvania, we left early enough to spend some time rubbernecking on the way up.

Our first night was in the northeast area of TN, Baileyton. We got a later start than we had anticipated, so did not get as far as we had planned. We got about 15 miles from home and realized we had forgotten the computer…. no blogging!! and lots of other self-assigned computer related jobs to do!! So we had to go back and get it. Sad how attached to the electronic world we have become!! But it worked out fine, and we had a pleasant stay at an RV park there. Besides a nice pond,

there were several antiques around. Do you remember when gas was this price?

We wanted to explore the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, our first day in Virginia we visited Lexington.

Lexington is where Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson lived, and taught at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) prior to the Civil War. We toured his home, and were impressed that he was truly a born again Christian. All family members, servants and guests, were expected at the table at 7 AM for breakfast and Bible study. After teaching in the morning, he would come home for lunch, private Bible reading, then preparation of lessons. Often his home was open for Bible study in the evening as well.

He led the corps of cadets to Richmond in April, 1861, and never came back to Lexington alive. His grave is also located in Lexington.

We drove around the campus of VMI.

There is a great museum on campus, where the story of the college, the nation’s first and oldest state-supported military college, is told through displays. Stonewall Jackson’s warhorse, “Little Sorrel” is mounted there.

Of course, no interior pictures allowed! But we were able to take a picture of this room, Jackson Memorial Hall.

Right next door is Washington and Lee college,

Lee Chapel was built under Robert E. Lee’s supervision while he served as president at the college. It houses a museum tracing the contributions of George Washington and Robert E. Lee to education in the nation and at the University. The family crypt is in the basement, where he is buried. He served as president of the college after the Civil War, bringing it back to prosperity.

The remains of Traveller, Lee’s horse is also buried there, beside the chapel.

We took a country road and came across some rock ruins, part of the “railroad that never was”. Begun prior to the war, and financially unable to complete the tracks, this is what was started but never finished.

Although Paul has seen the Natural Bridge before, I had not. It is 20 stories high!! George Washington surveyed the area and left his initials in the wall. Thomas Jefferson owned the bridge and 157 acres, paying 20 shillings ($2.40) to King George III, from 1774 until his death in 1826. His heirs sold the site in 1933.

It was beautiful and very impressive.

But it started pouring down rain (Hurricane Irene is currently east of here) while we were there, with no let-up in sight, so we hung out at the snack bar for a while, but it continued, so we could not take the nature trail to the falls.

Also included in the cost of admission was a wax museum. The quality was not overly impressive, but there were some interesting displays, including these:

the 8 presidents from Virginia

as well as the last supper

There was also a new indoor butterfly exhibit.

Check out this picture……dinosaur peeking out or butterfly?!

As we monitor Irene, we plan to stay here for a few more days so we will have better traveling weather! And besides, there are more places to visit and see!!

Busy Summertime

Some weeks are busy, and others are VERY busy, to the point that you think it has been two!
Last week was one of those VERY busy ones.

It started Sunday night with a unique opportunity to attend a Women’s VBS.
Yes, ladies, VBS! It was three evenings, Sunday through Tuesday. Each evening was complete with old Sunday School songs and Survivor-themed skit. The VBS theme was a takeoff of the TV series Survivor with the subtext “out live, out learn, out love”

Denise Hildreth-Jones, who started the event, spoke each evening and was very motivational, encouraging to allow God to be in complete control of our lives. She is also the author of several books, including Flying Solo, A Journey of Divorce, Healing and a Very Present God, a diary of her thoughts and feelings as she went through a divorce. Her newest book, the Gardener, was just released today.

Two authors, who spoke briefly, were introduced:

Sarah Berger, who co-authored, with her husband, who is a pastor at Grace Chapel in Leiper’s Fork, Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf between Heaven and Earth after losing their son, Josiah, in a car accident. I remembered when it happened (2009) and what a spiritual impact it made on the community, mainly due to these parents reaction and strength and dependence on God.

and Rebecca Alonzo, author of The Devil in Pew Number 7, a true story of hatred, loss and forgiveness. Her father took a job a a pastor in Sellerstown, North Carolina. One of the congregants did not like the changes being made and proceeded to harass the family. She watched as both of her parents were shot by another angry man. She did say that since the book had been published, she found out that the original harasser was found to have been involved with the shooting as well.
I’ve been told it is a hard read.
(I got both books)!

It was great “Girl Time”!

Monday morning I looked out and saw a tree trimming/chipping machine at the neighbors. Wonder what they do with the mulch?? We need some, but were going to wait until spring. So I sent Paul to find out…. (and he prayed all of the way over that they would not give it to him!) They told him they would unload it in a couple of hours.
Four hours later…….we had 10 yards sitting in our driveway! For FREE!

So we both got shovels and had our work out! It took a couple of days, working in the early morning due to the record breaking heat and humidity! One section, before,

and after!

We also really piled a lot around our trees to keep the moisture in and weeds out.

Wednesday was a craft day with New Neighbor Club, making some Christmas Tags…. Christmas is only 5 months away!

Then, Thursday we took Hailey out to the Natchez Trace for a couple of days camping. We had lots of fun with her! We had some rain, but it did not keep us inside too much! Not like the old tent camping, but we did the typical, including bug catching (oops…. no picture of that!),
roasting hotdogs,

and making smores


miniature golfing,

(Where did the ball go?)

playing games,

and playground, her favorite!

Retirement is great!! We love making great memories!