Monday, August 15, 2011

A drive in the country

When we took a ride in the country last Saturday we drove through Sperryville, which is a small town located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is about 70 miles out of Washington DC, and two hours from Richmond, Virginia. It is also near the Panorama entrance to The Shenandoah National Park, which we have used many times over the years. Today we were not going along Skyline Drive, and just wanted to meander. We stopped in Sperryville for a while, something we had not done before. It has many specialty shops, antique stores and restaurants that cater to visitors but we didn't stay long enough to visit any of them this time.

We found the church interesting but learned that it was no longer being used as a church and was in fact up for sale. It had previously been a restaurant called The Stonewall Abbey Cafe.

Here's the post office....

and this is a Bed and Breakfast called The Hopkins Ordinary. It was opened in 1820 by John Hopkins as a roadside inn and tavern that also served as a stagecoach stop. In those days it was known as an Ordinary, serving the 'ordinary' needs of the traveler.

There are many quaint buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places.

One of the small specialty shops...

and we found this pretty mural on the side of a building.

This is the main street....

and where we met Alfie and his very nice human companion. Alfie was a very friendly dog and gave us many tail wags and smiles, as did his human.

We left Sperryville and will come back at a later date, but we were eager to see what was on the other side of the hill and Gregg as Gregg so often does says, "Let's see where this road takes us." Many of those roads we traveled on were not even paved, just dirt roads, and I don't worry any more about getting lost because he really does have a great sense of direction (and I am secure in the knowledge that I have a GPS on my phone, just in case. Don't you just love this new technology?)
There are many old barns and abandoned houses in the Virginia countryside....

all very beautiful and all that I am sure had a story to tell.

This place was no more than just a shell of what once was.....

but the closer we got....

we fell in love with that beautiful old stonework.
And then we came across this rather interesting looking gate with what looked like a gatekeepers cottage at the side of it. I strained my neck as we drove away, to see if I could see a big house at the end of this very long driveway, but it was surrounded by a forest and totally obscured from our view. I wondered who lived there.

I liked the pineapples that were on the top of each post....

and the look of the small cottage. Gregg took these photos.....

and this one of the pair of eagles, which I realized later must have been replaced by the pineapples. They were a perfect size and had the same size and shaped base as on the two posts, and had momentarily been abandoned. Hopefully they will shine in another spot because they really were very impressive.

Not too far down the road we came across those beautiful horses, but you've already seen them in my last two posts. All I have left is a little wildflower found on the roadside. It's called Chicory - Cichorium intybus and blooms from July to September.


  1. Interesting drive! I like the "used to be" church! I'll bet it could be a really neat home.

  2. What nice shots. I guess you got out of your car and photographed them, huh -- unlike me, photographing from inside the car. lol.

    Ah, well, it's good. I, too, enjoy going for a drive with hubby.

  3. What a lovely drive. Thanks for taking us with you!

  4. Denice, an enjoyable drive through the VA countryside as was yesterday's post with the horses. The old barns and homes are so interesting to photograph. Grenville is like Gregg in that he takes back roads and never seems to get lost, but we do have a GPS (just in case).

  5. This just goes to prove there is so much beauty out there, but you must seek it. I've always loved old churches and beautiful stonework.

    BTW...that has to be the smallest PO I've ever seen...LOL

    Great shots Denise.

  6. What a wonderful time I had viewing these photos! Thanks for allowing me to go on this ramble with you Denise!

  7. what an awesome place!! you should consider linking the barns with barn charm, they are amazing!!!

  8. Loved every bit of this beautiful drive .Thanks for sharing.

  9. What a beautiful day in the country, small town America at it's best.
    Interesting and quaint buildings, I would love to look inside and linger awhile.
    The cottage was so English, I'm wondering like you, who lived there ?
    Thanks for the ride, it was grand !

  10. Another great "day out" with you Denise. I enjoyed the photos of all the lovely buildings you came across and especially liked the one of Alfie. Most of his kind are such smiley dogs they make you want to smile back don't they. A x

  11. Lovely shots - thanks for the tour. That church would make a nice home for someone.

  12. Thank you for taking us on this drive. It was lovely. I really, really liked the pineapple finials. (I think that is how it is spelt). Part of me would love to live somewhere grand enough to require them. And then a more realistic part thinks of the cleaning.

  13. The photo looking down the road could be mistaken for an English village.
    Alfie looks nice but I wouldn't want to watch his owner wagging his tail. :-)

  14. what an interesting place, especially the old barns and houses.

  15. What a great road trip. You guys had quite the adventure. Thanks for taking us along.

    There is something about old barns and houses that is very attractive.

  16. This was a wonderful drive and as usual your pictures were very nice and interesting.

  17. What a lovely drive! I like the old stonework also. Love the horses in your header. Looks like a nice place to visit. I love old barns!

  18. P.S. I also meant to say I love that old church and I hope someone finds a good use for it. It would make a wonderful art gallery! (or a home!)

  19. Oh, Denise, you are making me so homesick! This is the type of area we have always longed to retire to, and of course Virginia is home....but we have moved to AZ to be close to our daughter and her family. For a long time it was hard to get access to a computer and I have been posting so sporadically. I look forward to doing much more. Check out my latests posts, and I promise I will be checking you site often!

  20. Wow, Denise! Your photos are so exquisite. I'm just quickly scrolling through your posts and see that I have a lot to enjoy when I can spend more time. It all looks like so much fun.

  21. I just love all those beautiful barns. They would make lovely paintings. Maa

  22. I often wonder if any of the homes/buildings my ancestors lived in there in Virginia in the 18th century, and early 19th century, are still around. Somewhere near the head of the Rappahannock River....I imagine they'd look like that very old wooden home in one of your photos here....and your wonderful photos of the horses by the fence...I'm sure that scene would be just the same in the 1700s and 1800s. Thank you for the glimpses of the Virginia countryside!

  23. I really enjoyed this post...loved all the pictures and wish I could have been there.

  24. I love the collage! It gave me an idea for a photo challenge I'm participating in...