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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The March Part of Spring

The islands don't offer the four seasons, but Virginia sure does. Spring is officially here. That does not mean instant sunshine and warm temperatures. Spring has warm days and cold days, sunny days and dark days, calm days and stormy days. Spring is when Mother Nature gets ready for summer. She has to ease us into it and get our part of the earth ready for all the things that happen in nature during summer. The days get longer, the nights shorter, which is really cool because you can see the moon during the daybreak hour. One of the things that we people do is to have festivals to celebrate what Mother Nature is doing. For instance, syrup runs in the Maple Trees in March allowing people to make maple syrup. This famously happens in the mouontains of Highland County, VA and they have a festiaval to celebrate. I lived there for 2 years some years ago and know first hand how important this 2 weekend festival is to the community. This is the 53rd year of the festival. Mother Nature gave Highland County two beautiful weekends this year so I went to check it out on the second weekend.

Forgive this long blank spot. I have tried 6 times to edit this, but sometimes does not work very well.

My friend Gail lives in West Virginia, just across state line, which is very close to the festival. I needed the fix I get when I visit her. Spring was evident in her yard. The huge weeping willow tree has started to bud with that beautiful spring green and the delicate-looking-but-hardy-first-to-bloom flowers are up.

Rhododendron makes you hold your breath waiting for those blooms to pop. That is Mother Nature getting you ready for the beauty that will unfold all over the mountains.

The outdoor fireplace sits all winter ready as ever.

Gail got our day started by making buckwheat pancakes served, of course, with local Maple Syrup. After beakfast, we headed out for the small town of Monterey to experience the festival. We stopped to say hello to our friend Deb Ellington at her store. The Ginseng Mountain Store is a popular stop on Rt 220, north of Monterey. She and her husband raise cattle and sheep. You have to check out the sheep skins at her store. They are beautiful and have practical applications. You can actually rent the apartment above the store. They live on the farm located just beyond the store. In fact, the farm is for sale. Check it out on their website

We drove to Monterey to look for a parking space in town. That can be challenging even when you live there. Gail found the perfect spot, which will remain our secret. The perfect weather allowed us to leisurely stroll around town checking out the many arts and crafts.

I had not seen Pat in many years so I was happy to see him and meet his wife, Valerie. He has his own sugar house where he makes his syrup. He has built a log cabin on Back Creek that you can rent. Check out his website for more information:

Our find of the day was Daniel Coles' Hudson River Inlay. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful work. There are a couple of mirrors that I would have taken home in a heart beat if I had the money. Each piece contains hundreds of pieces of inlays and many different species of wood. The use of Mother of Pearl unbelievably accents each piece. It is very difficult to photograph this work as the intricate work demands personal inspection to appreciate the resulting beauty of such detailed work. Check out my photo of a close up of the corner of one piece. See what else they do by going to their website...again, the photos do not come close to depicting the beauty in each piece.

I once owned the Galley of Mountain Secrets in Monterey. Gail and I stopped by to say hello to Rich and Linda. The next day would be the last day for the Gallery as the building has been sold and the Gallery will be closed. Part of my own history will be gone. Nothing is forever.

For information on the annual festival, go to:

There is much to stimulate you at the festival, but it tires you out. Gail and I left, but decided to go for a drive in Gail and Paula fashion. We wanted to catch the views of a particular area while the leaves were off the trees so we drove all the way to the the top, Baby! The grays of winter are still prevalent, so it was not a good day for photos.

That evening Gail and I attended a party at Ginseng Farm for Ske who turned 60 on the night of the Super Moon. Even that draw did not bring him the big win on the lottery tickets he was gifted. His take was about $15. I think he won big for the night as he was surrounded by people who obviously love the guy.

Gail and I went for another drive on Sunday. We were tired so we did not go far.We stayed on paved roads. I can't remember the name of the place we stopped for lunch. One of the best pizzas I ever had.

I got back home Monday evening to find Spring stuff happening in the yard. The next night it snowed. Mother Nature does that in March. You have to embrace it when it happens.

Trust me, the snow will be gone in a day.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your images, and your thoughts, lovely one! I miss you!