Monday, May 2, 2016

Southwest Virgina, who knew?

I have to say, I am a little smitten with Southwest VA. 

It's beautiful.

It's quirky.

The homes (with land!) are affordable.

 Having spent a good portion of my life in Northern VA/Washington DC I thought I knew Virginia. 

(Spoiler- I was wrong)

We have spent the last 11 days in Natural Tunnel State Park. We were fortunate enough to be here during two different events; one being an 18th century re-enactment weekend and the other being a Children's Fishing Derby (with archery and target practice) put on by the wildlife troopers. I figured we'd hit up the Muster Fair for a little while and then move onto the Fishing Derby. (I mean, come on...grown men dressed up like frontiersmen, pretending like they are REALLY in the 1700s?) 

Man oh man was I wrong. We stayed ALL day. This is one of those events that you really have to engage with each person in order to learn from we set ourselves the task of doing just that. I talked strangers. Not just strangers, but strangers in costumes. Not just strangers in costumes, but strangers in costumes pretending like they really were from the 18th century. And you know what? I learned a lot. I learned how to turn flax into linen, how to spin wool, how to make lye soap, tan a hide, basic blacksmithing...and as an added bonus we learned to speak some basic Cherokee and got to hear some awesome Cherokee and frontier lore. 

The people were so willing to let the kids participate.

Laurel looks happy...but really she was petrified, especially 
when the horse jumped over a log!

Us watching an old fashioned horse race.

We spent so many hours talking and interacting with all these guys that we decided to go to their church service the next morning too. It was a little awkward, as you can imagine...but also very cool. One of the guys was an amazing musician and singer, he pulled out no less than three instruments during the service, and gave every old church hymn an appalachian twist.  

Eventually we did make it over to the fishing derby, with just enough time for Luke to hit bulls-eyes with the bow and the BB gun...I guess being obsessively into a million hobbies pays off sometimes.

Besides looking at a whole bunch of properties, and falling in love with two, we also had time to visit some of the local towns, catch up on school work, hike, bike and do some crafting. Luke seems to be in his element here, he would wear his coon skin cap more...but it's hot. He's been inspired by the music, the crafts and the history all around us. He's started whittling whenever he gets the chance, and now he wants to build his own blacksmith shop. (He tried to convince us that he could start right away using the fire ring and our regular hammer...thankfully we convinced him that this was not a good idea.) 

Southwest VA...who knew?

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