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Archive for the ‘Travel in Virginia’ Category

cheese shop candy

What do dogs, health food and beer have in common?

A day in the outside world with son and youngest grandgirl.   (Two more grandgirls are also  expected here this week).

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Knowing how much Bill and I wish for a four-legged friend, our son and grandgirl took us on a dog search at PetSmart in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Every Saturday from 10AM to 2:00PM various foster people bring available rescue dogs there for open air viewing and visitations.

How exciting and sometimes sad it was to meet and greet all the homeless canines available.  Many were being adopted quickly and of course I fell in love with one.

“Paddy” is a big dog in a 20 pound body – an Aussie/Sheltie mix with the most intelligent adorable face.  He seemed as calm as could be in the face of maniacal barking all around him and sat by my feet allowing me to stroke his sweet head.

Even so, I was advised that Australian Shepherds are extremely high energy and difficult and I took the handler at her word. The message was that Paddy needs a young family to take him home and of course he was snatched up immediately.

I still have regrets and miss Paddy even though I only knew him for a few minutes.  I hope he is happy in his new digs.

Healthy Eating?

Next Stop:  The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia.  This is where you can get old fashioned candies (healthy?), magnificent cheeses, and all sorts of nuts, jams, jellies, and spices!

The Cheese Shop has been on my favorites list for over 20 years and it just keeps getting better as well as more and more expensive than it was way back then.  We wound up with peanut butter pretzel pillows, several varieties of candies like caramel creams, chocolate covered coffee beans, elderberry jam, beef sticks, muenster and farmer cheese, and more!

Bound for Beer

Next was the Devil’s Backbone Outpost for dinner.

It’s a brewery just north of Lexington, Virginia that has recently opened a “kitchen” in addition to their well established beer bar/tap room.  A great big dining area was bustling when we arrived and there was even musical entertainment brought in from Lynchburg, Virginia.

We wound up sitting outside with a stellar view of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a cool, delicious evening of beer tasting, happy talk and uniquely tasty grub.

It was a grand day.

And even though we returned home with no dog to cuddle, I am grateful for a grand family, good times, and all that candy on my “no/no” list.

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Homeward Bound

The road is long to my old Virginia home

but sunlight shines the way

and I recognize clear skies and

empty roads, and I can

watch the tall trees sway.

It looks like home just there

where the road rises and dips

with its artistic flare, and

where honeysuckle scents the air.

I am homeward bound  

and I am almost home.

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My BigFoot “Expert Doctor” is in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s about an hour and a half drive over the legendary Afton Mountain.

And even on a clear day you can be confronted with fog.

There are lights embedded in the roadway but it still feels treacherous.

And it may not actually be fog, but the signs say so.  Last time we went “over the hill” we could see a low lying cloud enshrouding the roadway, and then drove right into it.

What a thrill it is to creep along and wonder how bad it could get and would we careen over the edge?

Can you tell I am a worrier?

We have survived the winter with several visits over Afton Mountain and actually this was the first time to experience fog.

From Virginia Living:  “The drop-dead gorgeous scenery disappears when clouds blanket the mountain. Fog and ice make for a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) has addressed safety by installing expensive airport runway lights along the 64 roadway to guide motorists…”

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Bananas for Safari Park MonkeysIn the checkout line at the supermarket there was a fellow ahead of me who was buying a big pile of bananas.  The strange thing is I noticed the bananas before I did the guy. (Is this just another sign of aging?)

Anyway, I was thinking, “He must love bananas.

  • Maybe he has a big family.
  • Maybe he is a camp counselor buying snacks for the kiddies.
  • Maybe he wants to make banana bread?”

I was still lost in imagining what he would possibly do with all those bananas when he turned back toward me and smiled.

Safari Park Guy

Cute Safari Park Guy

And there was an emblem on his shirt that said, “Safari Park.”

Aha!  Mystery solved.  This was a representative of the Virginia Safari Park, a magical place near me and just a few miles north of Virginia’s Natural Bridge.  Safari Park is where my  grandgirls (all grown up now) still demand to go every time they visit.

“Are the bananas for the monkeys?” I boldly asked the Safari Park man.

“Yes, and the giraffes love them too.”

“Do you mind if I take a picture of all those bananas?  Oh, and a picture of you too? I want to write a blog post about the park.”

“Of course, he said, “And thank you.”

If you are interested in going to the Virginia Safari Park, my young friend told me they will be open until Thanksgiving.

Virginia Safari Park is a 180-acre drive-thru adventure featuring 1,000 free roaming animals. Drive along 3 miles of road in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, animals of all sizes, shapes and colors approach your vehicle in search of a tasty bucket of feed. Their website is http://www.virginiasafaripark.com .

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My youngest grandgirl, Mackenzie, all grown up now but still loves the Virginia Safari Park.

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Sweeping Landscapes and Barns En Route

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streetview

Lee Highway

This morning I had an appointment in Staunton, Virginia and took the serene Lee Highway.  It is normally a 45+ minute ride but I like driving through serenity with views of a tranquil rural Virginia.  And on this bright, sunny day it felt like I was driving the only car on the road.

That was until the traffic jam caused by an accident up ahead.  First a 20 minute wait with the engine off and then a forced U-turn to start over on the Interstate.   Arghhh!

Lost – Time 

Being a woman of  iron will and firm determination I got on that hated truck-dominated freeway chewing on my cheek from nervous anxiety and made it to the appointment just in time to find the doors to my destination were locked.  Arghhh!

Found –  Destination

Lost – Nobody There

A strange looking fellow dressed in raggedy clothing came up to my car and said, “Can I help you?”  Putting on a nothing-scares-me demeanor, I said,  ” I have an appointment at this place but noone is there.”

And he said:  “No, you don’t have an appointment.  We are closed.”  Turns out the scruffy fellow was the one I had an appointment with.

It is possible I had the wrong date but not likely.

Nevertheless, after some not-so-polite words with the person I was supposed to have the appointment with, I moved on.

Lost – Time and Temper

I next wanted to find Milmont Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft, VA.  I don’t have a GPS but managed to muddle my way to this bastion of millions of blooming and budding things.

 I was on a search for Cat Mint!

Cat Mint is supposedly critter proof (deer and rabbits hate it).  It is also drought resistant, blooms almost all summer, looks a lot like Lavender, and “if you can’t grow Cat Mint you should stay out of the garden.”

O.K., so I miraculously found the place!

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Found – Milmont Greenhouses

But then I couldn’t find the Cat Mint.

Lost – Energy (Staggering Around a Giant Nursery)

Milmont

Cat Mint is listed under Nepeta.  Who knew? 

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Nepeta – Cat Mint

After wandering around the greenhouses among crowds of manic gardeners I managed to look on the good side and said to myself, “At least you are getting some Vitamin D3 with all this sunshine!”

Found – A Positive Outlook on Life

And finally there it was – the Nepeta.

Found – Nepeta (or YES – CAT MINT)

But my sunglasses managed to disappear.

Lost – Sunglasses

I thought I lost my cell phone too but it was in the car all along.

Tension does this sometimes – causes you to lose your mind.

Lost – Mind

I did find my cell phone though.  It was tucked in the creases of the passenger seat.

Found – Cell phone

It was a very strange Lost and Found kind of day.

 

 

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Actually, there is a Himalayan Salt Cave/Spa nearby in Forest, Virginia.

Have you ever tried reviving yourself in a Himalayan Salt Cave?  This is now on my bucket list!

And no, you don’t have to work with a pick and axe to retrieve salt from a mine.  You can just sit down and soak up the purified air or get a massage or have a family get-together!

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From the London’s Salt Spa Website: “Here is our spacious, relaxing and therapeutic Salt Cave, where you will experience the healing and relaxing power of our pink salt from the Himalayan Mountains.  Sit back in our Zero Gravity chairs, relax and breathe while the cave purifies, replenishes, and rejuvenates your mind and body. For the optimal respiratory comfort, we keep the Salt Cave at a stable humidity of 30-50% and temperatures range between 70-74 degrees. Fresh Blankets And socks Are Provided.”

 

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