I drove down Braddock Rd and as I left Centreville, I started looking ahead of me watching for when the road would turn from tarmac into dirt and I would leave the bustle of modern life. It didn't come. I passed hundreds of ugly new single family homes and townhouses, widened roadways and construction loomed ahead of me. My heart sank as I realized another area of beauty was being gobbled up by flimsy drywall and community signs welcoming new residents to Kirkpatrick Farm or Stone Ridge.
The photo above is typical of a long stretch of new construction along Braddock Rd, but then suddenly it ended just after a junction and I saw this in front of me:
The road abruptly finished and became a dirt track. It felt like a scene from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as I entered another world. No cars were following me so I slowed down and finally relaxed.
One of the first buildings I saw was this rustic little barn. All around were old wooden buildings, farms, outhouses and sheds. Old working trucks lined the driveways while horses and cattle peered over the fences. A large Angus cattle farm has been down here since 1946, probably unknown by neighbors only a few miles away in their modern mansions.
As I left the car to greet these horses and take their photo, an old chap in denim coveralls in a truck came down the driveway and cheerfully waved at me as he passed.
I carried on bumping my way along the dirt track in Stuart and drank in the wonderful rural sights. Turkey vultures fanned across the road in front of me and bobbed on branches above my head. I could hear bulls lowing, birds heralding the spring and NO traffic. It was bliss.
I nearly thought this little fisherman was real until I zoomed in with my camera.
This is the first time I'd seen one of these signs. Not something you'd see near the local Safeway...
I eventually hit Rte 50 in Aldie and not ready yet to join the heavy traffic, I turned around and went back the way I'd come.
I saw this old truck stuck in the hedge as I left old VA and returned to the hustle and bustle. It seemed like a marker that had been purposely left and I hoped that it would be allowed to remain there. It became my photo of the day.
This stretch of rustic beauty was only about 8 miles long before it joined up with a main roadway again. The farms along its stretch seemed as though they would remain for ever, they appeared so entrenched in the countryside, but a lot of the farmland had been swallowed up and lost for good since I'd last been down here. I shall not leave it so long to return again and document what is sure to slowly disappear.