Local Flair

It’s easy when you’re planning a vacation to look up all the incredible things that your perfect vacation spot has to offer. I know I do. I hit up Google. I ask people who have traveled there before. I pull up all the memories of all recommendations that I can remember… I get all excited.

And I forget all the incredible things that are in our backyard. I drive past and if I ever notice them I think “Oh yeah, sometime I should…”

Recently I visited several places that are within an hour or two from where I live.


I remember learning about Cyrus McCormick in school. My 3rd grade teacher would do a bulletin board of pictures of inventors and I would always look at Cyrus McCormick as a kindred spirit. You would’ve thought that Henry Ford for his automobile idea, or Benjamin Franklin and electricity or Mr Bell and the telephone, but no- I was mesmerized by the inventor of the reaper. It did make a huge impact on those of us in the grain farming world. What I didn’t know was that that break through happened in the Shenandoah Valley and his grist mill and black smith shop are still very much a part of the land he loved. I also didn’t know that when he had his first field day- 2 men and his reaper cut in a half day what 5 men cut in a whole day and young ecstatic McCormick offered his machine for $50… But nobody was interested


replica of the original reaper


Wades Mill was built in the 1750s and is still operating. The new owner grinds on Saturdays, but is open everyday. I’m very anxious to try his scone mix.




Humpback Bridge was built in 1857 and is over 100 feet long. The recent flood in Allegheny Co damaged the bridge and also washed over the E . (Notice that this is part of the VA LOVE project)  All floodwaters aside- this was still a wonderful picnic spot



C&O Railroad Historical Museum was also interesting. There is a wealth of info about the company and a train to explore. I discovered that I didn’t realize what the use of the caboose was- other than to be little and red and follow the train… Do you know?

And of course who can resist a ride on the lawnmower/train-tracks combo that circles the complex…


Smith Mountain Lake holds early childhood memories for me- but it’s been years (like 20?) since I spent the night there. A short trip with a group of delightful ladies reminded me that I should return more often. We had a wonderful time and didn’t even die in a thunderstorm- but it was close. 🙂


One of the families that I travel with from time to time hosts a wheat threshing day every other year.Unfortunately this time- I arrived in time to watch them finish the first load and get completely drenched-which happened in about 10 mins… It is quite the community event.

These are just a few of the more “local experiences” I’ve had recently…  I’m amazed at how easy it is to overlook these beautiful places in pursuit of something further away and more exotic- when reality is those are local and mundane for somebody (and they may be excitedly researching a trip to my area)… Isn’t that how we are? Somehow everybody else’s life and their gifts and blessings are far superior and exciting to mine…

But for today, I’m going to look at the beauty around me and in my own life and rejoice…



Bonus Pics:

Our new place has lots of birdhouses… They kinda fascinate me..



And last but not least, my mom is delighted to have a birthday buddy… One of our neighbor’s daughter’s had a boy… Dakota Blake    Emily is convinced that the deciding factor of whether a new baby is cute or not is the amount of hair it has…


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