Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All Work and No Play? Hardly.

Although there is no denying that I'm on the farm the lion's share of the time, I don't want to give the impression that I never have time off. I do. It evens out to one day a week - usually Sunday - but due to some creative scheduling, I had both Thursday and Sunday off last week.

And there is plenty to do here. Charlottesville is an hour's ride away, while the smaller towns of Orange and Culpeper offer shopping, restaurants and coffee shops closer to home. I'm a thirty minute drive from Shenandoah National Park, for which I purchased a year-long pass almost the instant I arrived. That's what happened Sunday - a 13.4 mile hike that included a black bear and cub sighting (wonder if it was the same pair?) as well as some time for solitude and reflection.

Normally I go hiking on my days off, but Thursday I decided to better myself and learn a little bit about Virginia's history by visiting Montpelier, the home of James Madison, fourth President and architect of the U.S. Constitution.

After touring the mansion and walking around the grounds for the better part of five hours, I headed over to Barboursville for a sandwich and to check out the Barboursville Ruins, a house originally designed by Thomas Jefferson for the Governor of Virginia that burned down on Christmas Day in 1884.

Virginia is also home to hundreds of wineries, so I took the opportunity to visit Barboursville Winery, where one may taste 23 wines for a $5 fee. A great deal, I might add.

Wineries dotting the landscape, a rich historical background, a nearby national park... these are just some of the many opportunities for enjoyment near the farm. Not to mention, I'm only 90 miles from Washington DC, where I'm headed this weekend for the 4th of July. Cheers to that!

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