Monday, May 3, 2010

Meadows of Dan

When we left Gatlinburg on Thursday, we headed back into Virginia, thereby starting our northward migration, and also putting ourselves near the summer home of my uncle Jake. We found a campground not too far away from Hillsville, where Jake's house is, in a town comically named Meadows of Dan. Its a small village with a nice general store, a few restaurants, a candy factory (Nancy's), and its right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's very hilly in this part of Virginia, and I did not enjoy the back-roads part of the drive to get here, going across the grain of the land, straining first the engine and then the brakes. But we arrived safe and made our camp. From here we explored some of the Parkway and surrounding areas. I got in a good mountain bike ride, with lots of cliimbing and some good descents:

And we found a great overlook called Lover's Leap, at which point the land dramatically falls away from the road's edge and the landscape rolls on forever. Looks like a good place to launch a hang-glider.

We also went out to a pizza place that had live bluegrass music, but forgot the camera so no pic from there. It was fun to see (hear) some local entertainment, not over-produced, just a group of musicians entertaining a local crowd. They had an area cleared for dancing, and a few aged ladies shuffled around out there, after first touching their feet into a pile of powder scattered on the floor for the purpose. Perhaps corn meal or starch?

Yesterday we went for a bike-ride on a rail-trail along the New River, which is ironically one of our oldest rivers. It was a well made trail that is 57 miles long. We didn't have time to do much of it, but enjoyed the experience:

And then we got to visit my uncle Jake, who had just driven up from Florida on Friday, and has been busy unpacking and cleaning. Hillsville is an aptly named town, and Jake's house is perched on the hillside on a dead-end dirt road in a mix of wooded and farm land. His steep driveway required us to put Gigantor in four-wheel drive! The house is new and very nice, with views of the surrounding hills. You can't sneak up on him! He can see the approach road from his porch, so saw and heard us coming, but we were expected, so we were welcome!

This picture was taken from the amazing hilltop nearby, where you have a commanding 360 degree view of the countryside. Jake's house is visible in the center of the image:

So we got a complete tour, starting with the tractor. I gotta get me one of these!

Then we saw the inside, which is like an artifact museum of the family's former summer camp house at Otisco Lake, upstate NY. It was fun to see all of the familiar photos, knick-knacks, furniture and appliances from the Camp, all put to use to create a unique and pleasing decor. We also met the exuberant Buster Brown, his boston terrier. And check out Nancy looking so tiny in Big Jake's easy chair, the most enormous we've ever seen! What a riot!

We went out for a nice dinner. We had a really nice visit with Jake and look forward to seeing him again when we head to Florida this winter. Then we will also get to visit with his wife, Bernice, and his other dog, Fancy.

Today, a gray and rainy Monday, we pack up camp and head further north. It should be quiet on the Blue Ridge Parkway today, although I don't imagine that the visibility will do it justice. My eyes will be best kept on the road ahead in any case.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew/Nancy:

    Thank you for the memorable and enjoyable visit. Good seeing you both. Be safe and will see you in Florida. Uncle Jacob