Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mum comes to Marshall Part V

Mum and I were so engrossed in our own little world that we had no idea of what was happening in the big wide world outside; we hadn't been watching any news on the TV, hadn't listened to the radio or read any newspapers, so we were extremely fortunate in that we managed to get 2 trips onto the Skyline Drive before Hurricane Sandy ripped and wrenched the color from all the trees on the Blue Ridge Mountains. We knew of the storm just the day before and had heard that as well as horrendous winds hammering across the region, there would also be a snowfall on the high areas meaning the park would have been closed. We were so lucky to have these days of vibrant leaves, the peak of the fall foliage colors.
 We stopped first at Little Washington, VA, where I'd had a court appearance for reckless driving a couple of years previously. That day had actually been one of immense enjoyment on my part as the quaint little country courthouse had been like something out of The Waltons and I'd just sat back and enjoyed the country style justice system at work before I'd had to stand and take my punishment. But I managed to have a knowledgeable chat and chuckle with the judge about an online course for traffic offenders and had walked away with my points and fine cut in half. I had no bad memories in this cute little country village and Mum was equally enchanted. The restaurant here is highly acclaimed in the the country but we had no interest in fine dining, preferring instead to have a turkey & brie sandwich with pear chutney and apple slices on a brioche bun with sweet potato fries washed down with a Devil Backbone lager in nearby Sperryville. Spanking gawgeous and a probably costing less than a small cup of soup at the Little Washington Restaurant.
 These 3 photos above are the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains before we arrived in Sperryville.
Sperryville is full of rustic charm and although always wanting to attract tourists before they get to the Skyline Drive it doesn't have that commercialized touristy feel. We walked around a few of the stalls, looking at handmade quilts, Polish pottery, knitted hats, folk art and local grown fruit, jams and ciders. But nothing tempted us apart from some crunchy apples and before long we were up in the mountains.
 Mum loved the black bear signs and ornaments which were at the camping ground areas, never imagining that she'd see them live. I've never seen them on the Skyline Drive, only at Meadow House, and so we were both absolutely delighted when towards the end of the first trip in the mountains, we drove around a corner and slowed down as a mummy bear and her two cubs sauntered across the road in front of us before clambering up the bank and trotting into the trees. I wasn't even upset that I didn't get a photo, that image will stay with us forever in our memories. And only a minute or so later, other cars came into view, oblivious of the magical scene they'd missed. It was certainly a perfect way to end our first day in the mountains. And Mum was quick to buy a stuffed black bear toy for her chair at home at the restaurant stop.
We drove in the opposite direction on our second day, again extremely lucky with the weather. Both days had been sunny and relatively warm for this time of year and because we were visiting during the week we were fortunate not to have too many other visitors sharing the vistas with us.
We were starting to head home as the daylight was beginning to fade when we passed a truck in a pull off which had a piano in the bed with a dog sitting on top. The truck belonged to Danny Kean who invited people to pose by or play the piano while he took a photo. He posts them on his web page here:
Mum's on his October tour page. She jumped up into the truck and tinkled a few keys. Then he talked to us while playing some superb tunes. The videos are here:

It was a wonderful way to finish our trip of the mountains, yet another amazing moment completely unplanned. Hardly any other people were there with us, we felt very lucky to have met him and his dog Mo.
Mum and I had a lovely month together and it seemed whatever we did, wherever we went and whoever we met, something unique happened or we seemed to be in the right place at the right time. We managed to strike everything off the list that Mum wanted to do and she left with a stack of photos, some souvenirs, clothes, presents for friends and herself, a yearning to live in The Plains and and armful of Chinese Lanterns. Hurry back for the next adventure Mum! xxx

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