Posts Tagged With: historic Virginia

let’s go shoot today

Sunday dawned with sun for the first time in (what seemed) forever. Not only was it sunny, it was also pushing 60. YBW and I grabbed our cameras, huge bottle of water and headed out.

We went to Millwood to visit…well, a mill. The Burwell-Morgan Mill to be exact. Though sometimes referred to as the Millwood mill.
What do you want from me? It’s Virginia. And though my home state is the Mother of Presidents, the old-timey namers of things weren’t always super creative. I’m just sayin’.
(Actually, there are two mills in Millwood so do with that what you will.)

Anyway, the website showed the mill was open from noon to five.
Lies.
Lies, lies and propaganda. (Y’all sang that in David Byrne’s voice too, right?)
We arrived at the mill between twelve thirty and one and it was closed up tight. (f**k you, internet)

It was fine, we wandered the property and the surrounding streets. One mill and three churches later we were headed to Linden Vineyards for wine and nibbles.

Burwell-Morgan (or Millwood) Mill

Locked up tight.

Shiloh Baptist Church

Christ Episcopal Church
Cunningham Chapel Parish

Millwood UMC

Brick house I loved on Bishop Meade Road.
Tin roof, rusted!

They have the most delicious claret at Linden Vineyards. And a damn fine chardonnay (not too oaky).

Not to mention the view.

It’s even nice to pull up to.

Sometimes you just have to put on your (monogrammed) rain boots and traipse around in the mud, streams, and leaves, climb stone walls and stand in ditches.
Then go have a glass (or two) of wine.

Camera Days with my Sweetheart are some of my most favorite days.

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railroad at chapman mill

Chapman Mill is a crumbling ruin standing where Prince William and Fauquier Counties come together. I’ve driven past it countless times. Every single time, I say aloud, “I want to go take photos there.” (even if I’m in the car alone)
Well, Saturday two weeks ago, the sun was shining (for the first time in ages) so YBW and I got bundled up against the below freezing wind chills and headed to the mill.
I got to wear my brand new love YOUR melon beanie for the first time!
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(Little D’s new mom and I were texting about getting together and I took this photo asking her to tell him I kiss him. But at least you can see my hat so it’s cool.)

When we arrived at the mill site we were greeted by this.
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I was livid! THE FREAKING GATE WAS LOCKED!! We couldn’t get all the way down the road to the mill. I will admit to saying one or two bad words…well, perhaps it was one or two bad sentences. How dare you hang a sign to welcome me and then lock the gates? Rude!

But…the railroad runs right beside the mill. So I get it in my head to walk down the tracks to the mill.
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Only the moment I walk up the path to the tracks I hear the whistle of a train…I waved to the engineer and he waved to me. It called up all the many times in my life I’ve stood at the side of the railroad and done that. It brought me great joy and in that brief moment, I was a little girl again.
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YBW decides right then it may not be the safest course of action since the sides are steep and there really is nowhere to go but down. I was like, but the train just came by, this is the safest time. We split the difference and I just stood at the path crossing. Honestly, I didn’t want to go down to the mill by myself, I wanted to share that experience so it worked out OK in the end.

I absolutely loved this curve in the tracks. I think the railroad is so elegantly beautiful for being something so well constructed for such hard core usage.
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You know I had to look for spikes while I was up there. And I found some, just lying around in the rocks. I love how a railroad spike and rocks create these natural sort of collages.
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There were three such collages, but this is the particular spike I picked up and carried home.

The mill really is quite compelling. In a hauntingly sad yet beautiful way.
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I’m eager to return when the gates no longer lock me out. The wheel is still there on the other side of the mill. You can see Broad Run, which is a lovely. The view from the interstate is even more beautiful than this view from the railroad. I’m keeping my hackles up, but I’ll be checking back more frequently as the weather warms.

When we left the mill site, we drove down along the tracks just to see where they went. This was the opposite way of home, but we were on an adventure! We were out with our cameras to shoot things that moved us!

I loved the way this railroad crossing sign looked behind the overgrown grasses.
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Lastly I got on my knees in the middle of another crossing to shoot the tracks from a different point of view.
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The mail carrier who had to wait for me to get my shot and get back up out of the way before he could drive his truck over the crossing didn’t seem terribly impressed by my attempt to create art…of course he had a job to do and I was just out shoot stuff.

We decided to go back out today with our cameras. I’ll leave my warm beanie at home today because instead of upper 20s wind chills, we’ll have upper 60s temperatures today! I might even wear a dress depending on where we decide to go shoot.
Spring is kicking down winter’s door today and I intend to take full advantage of it!

Here’s a quick vid about the mill and it’s restoration.
(My advice to you is: mute the music.)

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Manassas Battlefield

I absolutely adore Manassas Battlefield. I used to love to go there as a child and spend hours wandering aimlessly. I go there now as a grown up to experience that nostalgia.
I love the history of my home state. I love the fact that these places have been preserved, the physical places as well as the history.
When I go now, I almost always experience the battlefield from behind the camera.

The Henry House is my favorite place to visit. I love the view from the hill there. The story of Mrs Henry, stuck in her home due to illness as the first battle of bull run raged around her always resonated in me. She wasn’t able to leave her home before the fighting and ended up mortally wounded by Union fire.

The Henry House

The Henry House

I love how the changing light affects everything.

The Henry House

The Henry House

YBW likes to wander and play Ingress (To me it seems like a kind of electronic version of capture the flag for grown ups.) on his phone, “capturing” and “hacking” “portals” all around the battlefield.
The cool part of him playing this game on his phone is that I’ll tag along with my camera. We get out of the car, go our separate ways, and come back together after an hour or so.
I get time behind the lens, joy of being in a place I love, and he gains important “points” and “badges”. It’s pretty much win-win.

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The Stone House as seen from the top of Henry Hill. It was used as a hospital during both the first and second battles of Bull Run. I remember being at a post sledding bonfire there once when I was really little. I remember feeling a combination of excitement and fear. I was so tired after a day of up and down the hill but the bonfire was so thrilling. All the people, the chaos, me feeling very small and vulnerable and afraid to get separated from my mom caused great anxiety within me.

The Stone House

The Stone House

Sometimes folks get their nickname here.
Thomas Jonathan Jackson became “Stonewall Jackson” when General Bee of South Carolina observed his resolve in battle and cried out, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!”

There stands Jackson like a stone wall.

Stonewall Jackson

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mini-break bliss

We’re home from mini-break and back into the real world.
Please let me tell you that 5:15 came damn early this morning.

We had the most lovely weekend! The American Shakespeare Center/Blackfriars Playhouse and it’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well was spectacular!
We walked everywhere all weekend, ate delicious food at the quirkiest little places, my favorite of which was Cranberry’s Grocery and Eatery. We wandered through quaint little shops, even visited the Woodrow Wilson Presidential library.
Saturday morning we accidentally came upon Thornrose Cemetery and both had a wonderful time exploring!
We discovered a teeny little camera museum and I listened with awe to the strange little man talk about the history of photography and cameras. (Did I mention I’m a dork?)

We chose well when we decided which winery to visit on our way home and came away with five bottles!
The only thing we didn’t get to do was have decadent dessert and cappuccino…but that’s OK because I had slice of delicious cherry pie after my lunch on the way home.

The short time we were away seemed so long! It was the perfect opportunity to “check-out” for a little while. We enjoyed just being away together…but when we got into bed last night, each of us expressed our happiness at being able to sleep in our own bed.
Dorothy knew what was up when she said, “there’s no place like home.”

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let’s get this show on the road

YBW and I are going on a mini-break this weekend and I am so ready to get on the road. Two year olds make for exhausting playmates, I’m looking forward to spending time with my grown-up playmate.

It’s Autumn! My favorite time of year and we’re going to wander the streets of a small historic Virginia town and catch a Shakespeare play. I plan to do a bit of holiday shopping…never know what I’ll find in those cute little shops on the main street.
I want a ridiculously decadent dessert and a frothy cappuccino late at night for absolutely no reason! I want to hold YBW’s hand and walk down the sidewalk in the crisp air without a care in the world. The only specific thing YBW said he wants to do is visit wineries on the way home…though I think he’s excited about the play.
We’re both just ready for a little time off…to be together away from home…just a mini-break from the daily goings on.
I think we deserve it.

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