I could barely believe it when I managed to jump out of bed early on Saturday morning and find myself at Front Royal's airport by 6:45am. Why is it we struggle to get up for work yet can bounce out from the sheets when there's something fun to do? There was an airshow scheduled along with some hot air balloons which I really wanted to see. Expecting a drift of a dozen or so balloons and a beautiful morning mist I was a little disappointed to find only three balloons preparing to take off and zero mist. But I did spend a lot of the time I was there chatting to a couple of friendly guys who both really knew their airplane stuff.
a few on the website, here.
Jefferson is assumed to have played a large part in the refurbishments of the house. The house on the outside is very symmetrical, one of his trademarks, and there are a few of his style windows. The ceilings are very high, 13'9", a sign of wealth, also indicated with the amount of closets in the rooms and doors painted in a wood grain. Hite had 12 surviving children and a notable feature in the house is that all the doors had special hinges made that ensured they closed after being opened, another probable Jefferson invention. With only wood fires to keep the rooms warm and so many people in the house, the heat would stay in the rooms and not escape to chilly hallways. Pine was used inside the house so all the woodwork was painted and the floors carpeted as pine wood was considered cheap and therefore had to be hidden. In the Dining Room a docket was found during renovation that revealed the old carpet had been brought over from England. The company still exists and a similar style was ordered and shipped over to once again cover the Dining Room floor.
I noticed that the sandstone hearth in the fireplace was hollowed out and I made a point of standing there and leaning on the mantlepiece above, assuming the position that I'm sure Jefferson must have once used while puffing on his cigar and drinking his after dinner brandy.
After the tour I went outside to join others where we listened to the Battle of Cedar Creek, which had been fought here. It was freezing outside but we all stood determined to hear the whole saga. It was crazy to think that the temperature was nearly 30° colder than the day before.
I came across a door leading outside and found an old caboose on the tracks. Going inside it was completely open for visitors and I could even climb up to the high seats looking out over the roof to the carriage behind. I then walked into a vintage baggage car and found a model railway was set up, themed from 1939. This has been donated to the museum by John Schreiner, and he also spends a couple of days there each week interacting with the public and maintaining it. Since there was nobody else around I had a demonstration from him all by myself, seeing the trains run and with the lights off, all the buildings lit up with tiny lights. The trains puffed smoke and he even showed me a little house that caught fire with the residents rushing out.
There's more photos here.
There were displays of period rooms, a still collection, a native american display, and a pottery display as this building used to be a pottery. I didn't like the pottery though, hence no photos.