Sunday, January 27, 2013

Southern Virginia Part II

Sorry for the delay in posting this week, my husband had to go back down to Lynchburg, VA and I once again, was able to join him:)  I was a little worried that I'd find myself with nothing to do since I saw so much last trip...but I was totally wrong!!!  There was PLENTY more to see and do, so here is Southern Virginia, Part Two;)
Day 1: Patrick Henry's Red Hill and Appomattox Court House

"Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"  Does this quote ring any bells???  This is what Patrick Henry called out in opposition of The Stamp Act in 1765, and it gained him loads of fame.  American colonists along the Atlantic coast were being taxed on the paper they were required to use by the British Government to print everything from their legal documents to newspapers in Early America and many men, including Patrick Henry rose up against Britain to gain independence! Patrick Henry embodied the American Spirit, his courage and patriotism influenced the Revolution and helped secure our freedom.  Red Hill, named after the red soil that's common on the property, was Patrick Henry's favorite home.  He lived here during his retirement after serving five terms as the first governor of Virginia, at Red Hill, Patrick Henry was able to continue his private legal practice while spending time in the country with his family.  While I walked in and out of his house and walked along the paths of his property, I imagined Patrick sitting against the 300 year old orange tree that continues to grow and flourish in front of his home.  I imagined him playing his violin, and I could almost see his children and grandchildren dancing and playing around him.  Looking out onto the rolling hills behind his home I imagined horses, and acres and acres of farmland being worked.  I relished in the memory of it all and appreciated a man of immense courage, passion and pride.

On a total history kick, I drove east to Appomattox Court House, not to be confused by Appomattox Courthouse, which is the courthouse that sits in the center of the town called Appomattox Court House;)  This town marked the surrender of the South to the North, the first of many.  The McLean house marked the neutral location where Robert E. Lee, commander of the Northern Virginia Army, surrendered his men and arms to Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-Chief of all United States forces.  This surrender marked the end of the Southern states trying to remain a separate nation.  Walking the dirt roads of this town, rich in history, I forgot I was from the modern world.  Wearing my tall, black riding boots, I liked the clatter they made on the wooden floors and steps of the old homes, tavern and jail.  I imagined myself as a war time messenger riding swiftly through the countryside on my trusty steed to the town with important letters to be hand delivered to important men.  I saw myself dismount, tie up my horse and clatter up each front step into each building.
View of Town with Store and Courthouse

McLean House

As there were many people touring the town with me, when I entered the old jail, I was sure others were already inside and upstairs, I could hear them walking around above me.  I took pictures below and then found the back staircase and began my journey upstairs to meet the others.  The jail cells were to the right and left of me at the top of the stairs and I could still hear the clatter of boots in the left cell and the crack and creak of the floor boards below their heavy footfalls so I decided to enter the jail cell on the right first.  When I was done, I walked across the hall to the other cell where all the noise was coming from and felt a strange electricity shoot through my body and spread out through each strand of hair.  When I entered the other cell, it took about 20 seconds for my brain to register that even though I could still hear the footfalls of boots and the crackling of the floorboards, that there were no other people in the least none that I could see, and after that final realization, the noise ceased to exist.  In conclusion my dear readers, I believe I experienced my first ghost at a historic sight!  The whole experience of it will haunt me for many years to come, needless to say, I didn't get much sleep that night!        
The Jail

Day 2:  Dr. Cabell's Point of Honor

Point of Honor, completed in 1815, was the home of Dr. Cabell, personal physician and friend to Patrick Henry and frequent correspondent to Thomas Jefferson, who lived nearby.  Here, Dr. Cabell and his family lived and worked, hosted friends and loved ones and entertained their neighbors and important officials.  This  
house enchanted me from the time I walked up the brick walkway towards it until I could see it from my rear view mirror.  One of my new favorite rooms in all of my historic home touring is the Cabell's french parlor.  The walls are covered in french monument scene wallpaper and everything from the hand carved acorns that grace the mantel to the rich fabrics of the furniture made me smile.

Having heard on my last trip that I must drive south to visit an old Victorian, even though the museum would be closed, I said: What the Hell!  So I drove to the small town of Altavista.  After a cup of tea and lunch on Main Street I drove over to the old house.  To my happy surprise there were some men there working on the property that day and they offered me entrance onto the grounds to take pictures of the outside of the beautiful, blue house.  What awaited me on the front lawn, was yet another happy surprise, the Director of the Museum, who then proceeded to take me on a private tour, off hours, he even took my photo!!!  Yay:)
Originally the private residence of Colonel Charles Lynch, the brother of Lynchburg's founder, John Lynch; Avoca was home to a very distinguished family.  Charles Lynch was a lawmaker and a solider during the American Revolution.  After the previous houses were lost to fire, this Queen Anne-style house was built in 1901.  The property stayed in the Lynch family for generations until 1981 when a grandson of the family donated the property to Altavista as a memorial to his family.  Every inch of this home was warm and welcoming, the floor plans were open and quirky, the many angles, and the tower so familiar to this style makes for some very interesting nooks inside:)


And nothing ends the afternoon better than Afternoon tea, and some much enjoyed shopping!  So I enjoyed just that at The Ploughcroft Tearoom in Historic Downtown Lynchburg:)  This cozy tearoom is filled with English charm, you'll be seated at an antique table and chair set that's dressed in antique china, complete with fresh flowers and a small menu.  I enjoyed freshly baked scones with jam, devonshire cream and lemon curd and warmed up with a porcelain cup of typhoon English tea, it was a most pleasant experience!  I highly recommend it!

Be sure to check out these great spots for even better eats:  The Neighbor's Place, the surf-n-turf here was excellent, Farm Basket, for lunch, this place is adorable, a vintage cottage feel with country furnishings and great views of nature, The Depot Grille, the filet mignon melted in my mouth and they have great wines!!!

Did I mention that Route 29 is peppered with winery stops and antique stores, so be sure to pit stop along the way:)  My Favorite: Pippin Hill Farm and Winery:)
Safe and Happy Travels to you and yours!

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