Friday, May 29, 2015

Smith Mountain Lake, VA and Historic Garden Week

Annually in April, Virginia comes alive for Historic Garden Week, brought to us by the lovely Garden Club of Virginia!!!  Everyday during that week different cities in Virginia participate by having some of the locals open up their homes and gardens for visitors to tour!  If you have a passion for Interior Design, Art, Architecture and Gardening, than this event is for YOU! :)  Tickets will usually run you $30 pp, and it includes an all access pass to each home featured on the list.  Each house will have different rules, some allow photography, some don't, so simply abide by the homeowners wishes and have fun!!!

The first home I visited this beautiful, sunny day in late April was The Lee House.  Built in 1994, this French Country House offers spectacular views of the lake from the veranda built off the back!

Artwork includes oil paintings dating back to 1875, Limoges boxes, family portraits and Chagall lithographs!  A pair of antique, hand-painted twin French-chateau beds and a chest of drawers in an upstairs bedroom, reinforce the theme of the house, and were my personal favorite pieces!!!

The outdoors of this home were as elaborately decorated as the interior spaces.  Beautiful, rattan furniture, lamps, carpets and even artwork graced outdoor walls and invited you in to sit and relax while watching the sun skip off the glittering water before you!

Dinner out back is most likely a common theme here, and who wouldn't partake in an after dinner, sunset boat ride, the views from the dock where enticing me to ask for the captain;)

The next house I visited was The Ferguson House!  Built in 1996, this beautiful home was dressed in white brick with iconic back shutters, reminiscent of a river plantation home that has grown over generations.  

A major love of mine here, was the Champagne, damask upholstered walls in the well appointed dining room!  Many other favorites included the lovely french antique furniture pieces that highlighted many of the rooms and the astonishing artworks that graced the walls!

Views out back were extraordinary!  People passing by in a blur on their boats, dragging trails of white foam behind them.  The boat watching was complimented by lazy Adirondacks lined up on the shore line, now all that was needed was a few friends and a bottle of wine!   

The last house that day was The Davenport House!  Fairly new, built in 2010, this house is a marriage of Old World and Rustic Farmhouse.  The huge pine doors that grace the entrance were salvaged from the Helm Tobacco Warehouse in Lynchburg, VA!!!

As in each house that's featured on these tours, bowls and vases of fresh cut flowers grace many of the rooms, all created by the hands of the Garden Club of Virginia!!!  Each is unique to the house and room where it sits:)  

The upstairs features many pieces of art, my favorite being the livestock paintings by local artist Greg Osterhaus, the vivid colors and rippling texture in each work bring them to life:)  There are also antiques, English china, oriental and Mexican rugs that tell the story of a well traveled life! 

The truly charming dock off the back of the home caught my eye from a window and I had to go investigate!  Built like a tiny home, atop the water, this little dock featured a dining area for sunset meals on the water and an area to sunbathe in the early afternoon!  Truly, a little slice of Heaven!

As Garden Day came to a close I needed more, so I drove a little further, to the town of Moneta in search of more art and more views of the lake!

Right over a bridge I found my first shopping center, Bridgewater Plaza, what looked like an average strip mall, but it held so much more than I expected!!!  Complete with really cute shops, an amazing art gallery, restaurants and an entire FUN-N-GAMES area off the back, this place reminded me of vacations at the beach and having so much fun with my family and friends!  Across the street were Boat rental facilities for boating, tubing and jet skiing, it was Lake Life Mecca:)  

The Little Gallery here is anything but "little", it is a huge indoor space featuring many local artists!  Everything from paintings, jewelry, glassware, pottery and photography can be found within these brilliant walls!!!

The first time I had been introduced to Greg Osterhaus' work, I was standing in The Davenport house, my eyes glued to the cow painting above the fireplace in the living room.  I seriously, couldn't take my eyes away and inquired as to where o' where I might find more from this artist!  This is why I love Garden Week-Inspiration!!!!  The Little Gallery holds many of his delightful paintings, each special and unique, each brilliantly colored, both abstract and reality in one!

As I walked around, gazing at all the stunning paintings, I learned about other local creatives, I began building my internal, artist index!  I was adding up in my head the thousands of dollars worth of art that I wanted, but sadly and realistically can't afford....someday!!!

Scenes of life on the lake, rolling blue ridge mountains, vineyards and florals graced the walls of the gallery, bringing all of  beauties of Virginia to you at once!

Jewelry made of precious stone and metal chaining and filigree filled the cases and I couldn't help but try on a few pieces and daydream! 

After the gallery, I headed over to take a quick view of the lake, it was such a pretty day, calm, I thought about how busy this area was going to get in the coming weeks as summer approaches!  Every boat in the area will be floating on that water soon enough:)

I strolled back over to the center and checked out some shops!  The Oar Knot holds wine and wine goods.

There is a cute pizza place for a casual lunch or night out!

Gifts Ahoy stood out among the rest though, a darling little shop filled with brands like Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley, gifts and accessories for you and your home and homemade fudge!!!  Plus, the sweetest part of this shop was the sweet ladies inside, completely there to help you find exactly what you might not have even been looking for, totally left there smiling and happy!!! 

I couldn't resist these little dishes with the vintage swimsuits on them for summer!!!

This was not helping my anchor addiction;)

And the chocolates, Oh my, the chocolates!!!!!  Delish!!!!

If you are more in the mood for a sports bar, look no further than Moosies!!!

On the ride home I stopped at this old country store, on the weekends it opens its doors for antique shoppers but this day it was closed:(  Tucked behind the beaten path this building stood among a few other buildings that looked to be condemned, a window into what was probably a bustling little street in the old days...

And then I was off!  Having spent another very satisfying day living in Southern VA:)  Can't beat the views, that's for sure! 

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