My JOYFUL REFLECTIONS header picture was taken on 8/24/15 on our trip to the GRAND TETON National Park. We saw several beautiful sunsets on our trip there last year...
Showing posts with label VIRGINIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VIRGINIA. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Much-Needed Getaway to Virginia

Peaks of Otter -- where we stayed (Sept. 13-15,  2016)
My Facebook Friends know (since I talk about it constantly) that our area has been in a horrible DROUGHT --including very very high temperatures also....We have had a HARD summer --at least those of us who try to garden and keep a nice yard.... Consequently,  our stress levels have been higher than usual lately...

In order to 'find our souls and our HOPE again'  ---we decided to just walk away from everything for a few days and get some rest and relaxation,  and some new scenery...George got a great deal on a room ---so off we went on September 13 to Virginia....  We spent two nights at the BEAUTIFUL    PEAKS of OTTER along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Bedford, Virginia.....  To see their webpage,  click HERE.

We took a gazillion pictures ---so I picked out a few to share with you today..... Hope you enjoy some of the things we did ----remembering that even though we DID do some hiking and walking,  we also found time just to relax and enjoy our time there together.    Hope you enjoy the pictures!  You can click on them for enlargements.

Look at the beauty we saw from our ROOM..  This is Abbott Lake at the Peaks of Otter (9/14/15).  I loved seeing the REFLECTIONS.

We also enjoyed driving along the gorgeous BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY all three days! There were lots of wildflowers in bloom.

Abbott Lake (beside our room) was so gorgeous.   That mountain is named SHARP TOP --and we went to the top  on Sept. 14.

We rode the bus up the mountain part of the way and then hiked up the last 1500 feet.... We are now on the top of SHARP TOP Mountain.. (A nice couple we met took our picture)

From the top of SHARP TOP,  you can see Abbott Lake and the Peaks of Otter where we stayed... It was gorgeous up on that mountain  (at 3875 feet high--one of VA's highest peaks)

REFLECTIONS on Abbott Lake at sunset one evening --as we walked around the lake;   Walking around the lake both evenings was one of my favorite things to do...  Talk about peaceful!

The first night (9/13/16) we walked around the lake at sunset,  the sky was clear and there were no clouds...  BUT---we enjoyed an 'almost' full moon over the water...  (Very ROMANTIC as we walked around the lake)

SUNSET the next night (9/14/16) --showing lots of pretty, colorful clouds--as we walked around the lake;

Another picture showing a very happy woman ---along the Blue Ridge Parkway;  OH how I love being on 'top of the world'.

It had been many years since we had been to the NATURAL BRIDGE in Virginia --so we decided to check it out again...  This is one amazing natural bridge (215 feet high and 90 feet wide).  A website to read more is  HERE.

We hiked on Cedar Creek Trail and checked out a little Indian Village (Monacan Indians).  

Of course,  we just HAD to check out LACE FALLS (along Cedar Creek Trail) --which was a new waterfall to add to our long list  of waterfalls we have seen since  2001.

Beautiful MABRY MILL (along the Blue Ridge Parkway on 9/15/16);  We walked around the area enjoying the grist mill,  sawmill,  blacksmith shop,  old Appalachian homeplace, etc... VERY nice history and demonstrations!! For more information about MARBY MILL,  click HERE.

We enjoyed the Mabry Mill area ---and seeing and reliving history!  We also ate lunch at their CAFE ---and I had one of the best Fried Green Tomato, Bacon and homemade Pimento Cheese Sandwiches on Sourdough Bread that I've EVER had.... YUM.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of our pictures from this great little trip to Virginia... This picture was taken on 9/14/16 as we enjoyed just sitting by the lake having fun together...

The bottom line is that we DID come home refreshed and feeling MUCH better... Sometimes,  we ALL just need a break from life ---to relax and enjoy new surroundings....

Have a wonderful week, my Friends.


Monday, July 14, 2014

A Walk Down Memory Lane in BRISTOL (Genealogy Post)

Four of my Great Aunts who lived in Bristol,  VA (photo taken in the late 1940's or early 1950's);  From left to right:  Nannie Ballard, Eunice Ballard, Aileen Ballard,  Lura Ballard
On June 22, 2014,  on our way to West Virginia for our Anniversary Vacation,  we made a stop in BRISTOL (VA and TN) so that I could do some Genealogy Research on the family home of my Grandfather Ballard's family  (James Franklin Ballard) ---who was my Mom's father. Grandfather Ballard died in 1936.

When I was born,  none of my Grandparents on any side of the family were alive.  BUT--I do remember many in my Grandfather Ballard's  family,  all living in or near Bristol, Virginia.  Bristol was about 60 miles from my hometown ---and my parents and I would visit that family in Bristol quite often when I was a youngster.  The photo above is of 4 of my Great Aunts (my grandfather's sisters). 

The beautiful Ballard home in Bristol,  VA
These four sisters lived in a gorgeous old home in Bristol.  As a little girl,  I remember that home and thought of it as a mansion at the time.  Above is a photo of that old home taken many years ago.

The NOT SO BEAUTIFUL Bristol Home on June 22, 2014
WELL--to make a long story short(er),   we went back to Bristol on June 22, 2014 in order for me to see that beautiful home.... SHOCK!!!!!  The house has changed so much and looks horrible now (and obviously not well-taken-care-of)!  The 3rd floor is gone and so is the chimney.  The entire neighborhood is run down and I could have just cried...  Why did someone let this happen to such a beautiful old home???  I was terribly disappointed.

The old home of Bland Ballard and family
After getting a few pictures,  I walked down the street to what (in my memory) looked like the home of my Great Uncle Bland Ballard  (and wife Myrtle).  Bland was my Grandfather's brother.   Again,  I was disappointed since I do not remember this house looking at all like this... SO---in this case,  I'm not even sure I chose the right house...

Here are a few old photos (taken before I was born).
Some of the Ballard Family;  Bland and Myrtle Ballard were the 1st couple on the left. They are the ones who lived in the house in the photo above. My Grandfather Ballard is the 3rd person from the left. This photo was taken at Grandfather Ballard's home near Abingdon, VA. I think.

Here's a sweet picture of my mother and her Papa (as she called her father).  Mom was in her early 30's when this photo was taken.. (She was 42 when I was born.)

Here's another good picture of Mom and Dad (Simon and Edith Banks) and my brothers.  Raymond (who was 20 years older than I am) was in the middle and Jimmy (who was 12 years older than I am) was being held by Dad.  This photo was taken at the home of Mom's father (near Abingdon, VA) in about 1931.. (I was born in 1942, and am the only one left in that family.)

A sign across State Street in Bristol,  showing drivers which side belongs to the state of Virginia and which side belongs to Tennessee
OKAY ---moving on!!!!  Here are three other things I remember about Bristol.  First is State Street... Bristol is an interesting little city since part of it is in Virginia and part in Tennessee.  The main street of town divides the two states.. Each state has its own government... Bet they struggle at times deciding which responsibility belongs to which state.... Interesting,  I'll bet!!! Above is a big sign across State Street showing which side of the street is in Virginia and which one is in Tennessee.

STATE STREET in Bristol,  VA
Secondly,  I have HUGE memories of being on State Street when I was young.  The small town we lived in didn't have many large stores... SO---my parents and I would go to Bristol (when visiting the Ballard Family) and we would always shop.. The stores I remember are King's Department Store,  Woolworths (a Five and Dime store),  and Cole's  Rexall Drug Store --where we ate at their lunch counter... I thought I was in the BIG CITY when we were there.... I loved going to the stores on State Street... I have TREMENDOUS memories of those visits.

The side of the Bristol Union Railway Station
Thirdly,  I also have lots of happy memories at the Railroad Station in Bristol.  My Dad worked for the railroad --so  our family did lots of traveling by TRAIN (since he got free passes at times).  And---we always started our trips from this railroad station in Bristol.  I even took the train to and from my college in Tennessee--since most kids back then didn't own cars while in college.   Even though there are no longer any passenger trains here now,  I loved revisiting this station. It still smells like I remember way back when.  Do you have certain smells you remember? 

The sidewalk at the Bristol Union Railway Station
Many years ago,  this was a BUSY passenger railroad station.  Trains would pass through here going as far south as New Orleans or as far north as New York City--stopping at places along the way.  The railroad first came to Bristol in 1856.   This particular station was opened in 1902--and in 1980 was listed on the Virginia Landmark Register and the National Register of Historic Places.  I was thrilled to see this Railroad Station in SUCH great condition.  Bristol is trying to get Amtrak service --which would bring passenger service back to that area.. The last passenger trains in Bristol were in the late 1960's.

The Bristol, Virginia Union Railway Station
Here is a photo showing the entire station.  (You can see our Prius there in the picture.)  I was so glad that we saw this station but grieve the fact that we no longer have passenger trains (other than Amtrak)..  I miss them ---but I'm one who loves trains with all my heart...

Thanks to my Honey for letting us take this little side trip --as we were on our way to West Virginia.  I was disappointed when I saw the condition and change of the Ballard Home --but was thrilled to visit State Street and the Railroad Station... As you can imagine,  I talked to George for hours about my experiences in Bristol...  Such great memories!!!!

Since we are SO SO SO SO busy these days, and for other reasons,  I am changing to 2 blog posts a week for awhile,  Mondays and Thursdays.  I love blogging and always have something to blog about.  BUT--I feel badly when I cannot visit YOUR blogs as much as I wish I could...

Hope you have a good day/week --and I'll see you on Thursday.  And thanks to those of you who have stuck with me through all of this. I still love comments and they mean the WORLD to me!!!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Victorian Hotel (in Strasburg, VA) and its Antiques

The Historic Strasburg, VA Victorian Hotel
I don't get paid by Groupon ---but I certainly do recommend them IF you travel and want a GOOD deal... Of the many, many deals we have had with Groupon,  we have only had ONE bad experience which we do NOT recommend.  (For your information,  that was The Springmaid Mountain Resort, near Spruce Pine,  North Caroina last August)...  The neatest thing is that we get to stay in places that we have never heard of and would never have visited without this Groupon info/pricing.

The Strasburg Hotel (in the quaint little town of Strasburg,  VA) is a great example.   We had never heard of Strasburg ---but while reading the info about this little Victorian Inn,  we decided to try it... Afterall,  we love the Shenandoahs and wanted to go back to that area.  It turned out to be a very good experience for us  (from April 6-10, 2014).

Today,  I'll share some of the photos  (be sure to click on them for enlargements) from inside that Victorian hotel.... Of course the hotel was renovated (since the old building used to be a hospital) several years ago---and they have done a fabulous job of making it look like an old  Victorian Hotel.

George sitting in our room at the hotel  (Please excuse all of our 'stuff' around.)
I will begin by showing you some photos from our room.  We had a good sized room with a king bed.  Some things which are different from most modern hotels/motels  for us were:
-Our alarm clock was one of the old-fashioned ones that are not digital---so we couldn't see it at nights!!!! ha
-There were quite a few lamps in the room ---but the lighting was quite poor (like it used to be many years ago I'm sure).
- There was a phone in the room and a modern TV,  but no microwaves,  coffee pots,  available ice machines, refrigerators---like most of us enjoy in newer hotels.
-NOTE:  In this hotel,  you ask the person at the front desk for some ice (or whatever you   needed) and they gladly accomodated us!  They also had coffee available most of the time.

The beautiful Wardrobe (Armoire) in our room

Beautiful old dresser and mirror in our room

How many new flatscreen TV's have you seen on top of an OLD sewing machine????  Talk about both the new and the old!!!  ha

Our King Bed --see the pretty quilt???  I LOVE quilts.

A close-up of the quilt on our bed

They kept all of the rooms (which were not being used) OPEN... SO I took a sneak peak at some of the other rooms...  Love the head and foot board on this bed --and what a gorgeous quilt.

A close-up  of the quilt on that bed;  This was my favorite of all of the quilts I saw in that hotel.

Isn't this a pretty little wash basin?  I love the colors.  This was in our hall.

Another one of the quilts in one of the rooms

Isn't this blouse just gorgeous???  And to think --they were made by hand back then!

Our Breakfast Room --on the first floor;  The FREE brealfasts were excellent --and included bagels and croissants with various preserves and jams;  coffee; orange juice;  choice of cereals;  fresh fruit and the best Apple Crumb Cake I've had in a long time!!

I could not get a good angle of this portrait on the wall (due to the glare) --but I just had to show it to you.  I LOVED this portrait of that old lady (who had probably worked very very hard her entire life).  Isn't this just a marvelous portrayal of her?

Beautiful old clock
I left my very favorite thing 'til last... I wanted that clock SO BADLY.   But--it was too big to fit into the Prius!!! ha....  I have ALWAYS wanted an old tall clock... Oh My Heart.

I have another post showing more from this hotel--but that will be at another time.  Hope you enjoyed these antiques.... I'm old enough to remember seeing some of them in homes of my Great Aunts many years ago...  So--this brought back memories.

Have a wonderful weekend --and I'll see you on Monday!