Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Farm Tour

Loudoun County was having a farm tour over the weekend so our Brit group met up to drive around some of the attractions on Saturday. The countryside here is beautiful and many say that Virginia countryside looks very much like some of the English rural areas and I'd have to agree. I shall post some photos at a later date.

Our first stop was Taylorstown General Store which is situated in a 1730's Quaker village once known for milling. The store had local crafts, food and wine with musicians and chickens outside serenading the public.

This little cottage is one of the two oldest houses in the village built in the early 1700's and we were allowed to look around inside where many original doors, floors and ceilings remained. The right side of the front of the cottage used to house the farm animals.

We also visited the Equine Rescue Center where we met Harry above. He was badly crippled and malnourished, and had been on his way to the slaughterhouse before he was rescued simply by paying an extra $50 on top of what he was going to fetch at his destination. That was back in the mid 90's and Harry is now a healthy albeit old happy boy who will spend the rest of his days in comfort and safety. The center was a friendly home and we met many lucky horses and donkeys who had been restored to health and are now living the good life.

The second winery we visited was the Village Winery where we stopped a while tasting the wines and supping a few glasses. I purchased a fabulous local made cheese here which was the sharpest I've tastest in a long time. The decrepit old barn above was at the back of the winery room and not part of the winery per se as it appears in the photo!

Here we are full of smiles and wine!

The next stop was Sweet Home Alpacas where we could see these intriguing animals close up and check out clothing made from their wool. I picked up a lovely brown sweater but put it down quickly when I saw the price tag, $345! These animals are a smaller version of llamas and come from Bolivia, Chile and Peru. They emit a strange humming noise to let others know they are nearby and content.
They're not big on contact but give a wonderful smile! As we were leaving, the rain which had been threatening all day started to fall. We headed back to the cars and on to our last port of call.

This was the Natural Mercantile of Hamilton, a small rustic health store which stocked a variety of organic foods, wines and body products. We were very pleased to see some more wine was being offered for tasting and I bought a bottle of wine here and a fabulous tomato plant already bearing flowers.

A lot of the locals hung out here and many of the corners had groups of people standing and chatting, many of whom were wearing straw hats. I wasn't sure if this was for the benefit of the weekend or just something that was done in these parts. I didn't like to ask, but everyone was very friendly.
As the rain was falling more heavily, we headed back to Leesburg for dinner and to chat about our day. I polished off my day with a lovely supper of fresh cheese and a glass of local wine.

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