Showing posts with label VIRGINIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VIRGINIA. Show all posts

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.)

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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!!!

Hugs,

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!

Hugs,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oh those Fantastic SHENANDOAHS!!!!!!

"Ma and Pa" at an old cabin in the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area;  (I WANT that cabin!!!! ha)
What----ANOTHER TRIP???? YES---this is the 5th trip for us since the end of February... Life is GREAT ---but we 'am' TARRED..... ha....  First we went to Arkansas;  then it was Ohio;  then it was North Carolina;  then Georgia;  AND---this time we went to VIRGINIA (April 6-9, 2014).... We were staying at a quaint little Victorian Hotel in Strasburg,  VA  (had a Groupon coupon) ---and while there,  we visited the Shenandoah Valley;  the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area in the George Washington National Forest in the Massanutten Mountains;  beautiful Fort Valley;  and the Skyline Drive area along the Blue Ridge Mountains!!!!!  What a fantastic few days we had!!!

Today,  I'll share just a tiny piece of that trip with you---with more details to come I'm sure in the future... Above is a photo of George and me on the steps of a fantastic old cabin (Elizabeth Furnace Cabin).



Me on the Swinging Bridge near the Elizabeth Furnace Cabin (on a rainy, damp day)
Here is another photo of that adorable cabin --along with the swinging bridge (which I also loved)...  This was on April 7, 2014 ---and it was a COLD, RAINY/DRIZZLY, and FOGGY day in Virginia... BUT--we didn't allow the weather to dampen our spirits.... We still got out and hiked and had a great day.




George taking water photos along PASSAGE CREEK
PASSAGE CREEK was a neat little creek which we enjoyed while in the Massanutten Mountain area.  Of course,  since we love water photos,  we just HAD to stop and get some photos along that raging creek.... I always enjoy taking pictures of my Sweetheart when he is hard at work taking great photos.



FORT VALLEY --- with the Massanutten Mountains in the distance;
We had never been (nor even heard of) the MASSANUTTEN Mountains before this trip.  The Massanuttens are a group of mountain ranges dividing the Shenandoah Valley in half for about 50 miles.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are on the Eastern side and the Appalachian Mountains are on the left.... We had never been here before..

SO--after leaving the Elizabeth Furnace area,  we headed south into this fantastic little valley,  FORT VALLEY.  Note photo above... Also---note the fog at the far end of this photo... We traveled across the mountain there (heading for Skyline Drive) ---and we encountered that fog.... Photo of the fog below!!!




Beautiful Fort Valley Church,  the Dry Run Christian Church
BUT--first,  while we were still in FORT VALLEY,  we just had to stop and take a picture of this beautiful little church, the Dry Run Christian Church.   Pretty,  isn't it???




Fog as we traveled across the Massanutten Mountains
NOW----see what we encountered while heading OVER the Massanutten Mountains???  Pretty,  isn't it????  I do like FOG---but up on Skyline Drive that day,  the fog was so thick,  we couldn't see much at all from the overlooks... We did however see LOTS  of DEER out eating on that foggy afternoon.  I guess they felt safe in the fog!




Our Victorian Inn/Hotel in Strasburg,  VA
We had a Groupon coupon to stay here ---and loved it.  Everything inside was decorated using antiques... I recognized many items as ones I remember from when I was young.  All of you antique-lovers would LOVE this old hotel... I took lots of photos which I will share sometime.  The hotel originally was a hospital in Strasburg.... Strasburg is a really cute little town along the Shenandoah River... We took a walk and saw some gorgeous, old homes in Strasburg the first evening we were there.  SO PEACEFUL.




The Shenandoah River;  Love seeing the train trestle and fog in the background!
Remember the song,  "Oh Shenandoah"---I long to see you...????  I sang that song all week... Love it!!!!  Anyhow---this is the Shenandoah River near Strasburg,  VA... We passed by or crossed the Shenandoah several times during our travels.... Beautiful river!




"On a Clear Day, You can See Forever" ---the Shenandoah Valley from an overlook on Skyline Drive, VA
The next day brought gorgeous SUNSHINE and VERY clear skies---as we traveled back on the Skyline Drive.  Neither George nor I have ever experienced the views as CLEAR and CRISP as we had on this day (April 8, 2014)....  We usually find lots of haze in that area --so this was a fabulous surprise,  making it one of the favorite memories of our entire week... We both took lots of photos that day.

Be sure to click on my photos for enlargements.  These photos from Skyline Drive that morning are SO clear...  Don't you love seeing the shadows also????




She just keeps climbing higher and higher!!!!!
George snapped this photo of me --as I tried to get on 'top of the world'...




ROSE RIVER FALLS (67 feet) --along Skyline Drive
Besides getting photos along Skyline Drive that day,  we also hiked to a new waterfall,  the ROSE RIVER FALLS (67 feet), which was not far from the Meadows area of the parkway.   It was a nice hike -- with an elevation change of about 700-800 feet DOWN-DOWN-DOWN to the river and falls....  We sat on some rocks admiring that waterfall for a long time.  NOBODY else was there (which we loved)---so we had the waterfall all to ourselves!!!! The hike back up---up---up  was a little hard,  but we stopped and relaxed along the way... GREAT hike  (one of many waterfalls along Skyline Drive we would love to see sometime)...




The Fantastic Shenandoah Valley---with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance (where we had been);  Photo taken in the late afternoon of April 8--as the sun was going down...
After our waterfall hike,  we were hungry (of course)---so we enjoyed dinner at SKYLAND RESORT along the parkway... YUM!!!!!  Delicious!  THEN--we headed back to Strasburg late that afternoon driving along the back-roads (which we love)...  The sun was going down---so we were able to get some fantastic shots of the Shenandoah Valley that evening... Talk about PEACEFUL... Wow!!!!




Taken on Skyline Drive, the morning of April 8th,  with the Shenandoah River and Shenandoah Valley in the background
I'll close with a picture we took using our tripod... We were both so happy to be on Skyline Drive that day since the weather was nearly-perfect...  We did have a stiff wind --but that kept the haze away,  so it was all worth it.

As you can tell,  we had a busy 4 days (2 days on the road and 2 days making memories)...  We did accomplish one of our goals --which was to get alot of hiking done.  We finished the 7th --with about 3 miles on our pedometers and on the 8th,  having gone 4 miles... That was great considering all of the other things we got to do.





Home Sweet Home ---Photo taken during the early morning on 4/10/14
We came home on the 9th---only to find this waiting for us!!!  Spring is finally SPRINGING in Fairfield Glade... I'll share more Spring photos from here next week.  Even though the big trees haven't gotten their leaves yet,  things are beginning to turn green---and many flowers are blooming.  Oh --how wonderful it is to be back home!!!!!   (Now---it's back to work in the yard!!) ha

Hope you had a great week... I'm not sure how much time I'll have to visit you --but I will do my best!!!!  Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on MONDAY.

Hugs,