This vacation started with a familiar ring at Douthart State Park in Virginia; last year our first day led us to the same first night stop-over. The 465 mile drive began with us saying goodbye to Ashley who was dog and house sitting for us. Our drive was broken up by a trip through the Cabella’s store at Charleston, WV where Caleb bought me a great set of rugs for the Airstream – just the right color of rusty red and green with a theme of bear paw-prints.
Our first night destination was delayed a bit by a significant tree-fall across the park road, and a line-up of cars were waiting for it to be cleared. Luckily we arrived during the last 15 minutes of work, and were able to make camp by 6:30. During a window without rain we had barbeque chicken on the grill and by 8:00, as the rain threatened to start again, we retreated to the Silvermine for a multi-venue evening on our iPADS: books, movies, games, journaling, etc.
We were anxious to see Appomattox as we had missed it in all of our previous travels. What a beautiful setting and a nicely done presentation of history! A reenactor tour guide took our small group from the visitor center to the tavern where everyone was invited to sit on the porch while he told his story. Our solider was a Corporal from a PA regiment, and for 45 minutes he led us through the events of Appomattox from his point of view. He was exceptionally good, and his stories involved his audience and gave good detail of the events leading up to the end of the Civil War. At one time he became choked up, and we had a real feeling for the emotions at this amazing event.
Our next stop was Monticello, the beautiful home of Thomas Jefferson. The parking and visitor center is a distance away from his mountaintop home, and a tour bus drove us to the property. The gardens, both produce and decorative, are lush and many pathways are shaded by a large variety of monster trees.
Small tour groups are necessary because of the small rooms in the home, but they are staggered every 5 minutes to handle the flow of tourists. No pictures are allowed inside with the original furnishing, but the expansive work quarters under the house could be photographed as well as all the lovely landscaping, and that famous view on the reverse side of the nickel. The tour included free roam of the outside with a pathway to the graveyard, and other walks around the property.
Thus ended our first day of sight-seeing. I must mention that the temperature never reached above 65, which made for exceptional touring! Check back as we continue our travels.
I will leave you with a picture of two patriots sitting on Jefferson's fence posts and sounding off on the importance of freedom.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown