After a delightful Friday evening with friends, good food and a charming amateur theater production, TheQueen awoke to the news that the painter was coming to prep the house with big bottles of Clorox!
Now, TheQueen is deathly sensitive to chlorine, so there was nothing for it but to get out of dodge. We decided to head west to the mountains, taking a favorite route down country roads. At Frederick Hall we had lunch at a little spot we'd passed dozens of time without ever having the time to stop.
It came complete with two porch cats, curious and friendly.
The food was nice, but there was only one poor waitress who had to tend all the guests while getting food from a basement kitchen.
We wound our way over Afton Mountain and took 81 south to Troutville where we stopped at a cute little shop, The Apple Barn II, that sold several lines of collectable cottages, including The Cat's Meow.
All along the way we were paralleled by the Appalachian Trail and once we'd stopped in Troutville we decided to find the trail and hike it for a little while.
I haven't walked along this trail since I hitch hiked out to Warrenton from D.C., the summer of 1971 with a cute French boyfriend. Oh my that was a long time ago. Pre-ThePrinceConsort!
Most of the trail was through the forest, with a cool green canopy and delicious little wooden bridges crossing stony creeks.
But there were some open fields to climb up and hike down.
And even a railroad track to cross - two different modes of transportation in high contrast.
The flora was lavish - lots of late summer blossoms - here is crownbeard and ironweed - neither of which tempt the cattle - who were, happily - in different fields that day.
We decided to spend the night in Natural Bridge - no - not at the lodge - though it looked very pretty but also very full. Just a little roadside motel south of Lexington. But on the way we stopped in Buchanan - where we discovered this treat: A suspension foot bridge!
Here are two views from the bridge - I particularly loved the Gothic molding on the supports. And at the Old Town Canoe livery I sat in one of the old town kayaks and it felt like a perfect fit. I am now seriously thinking about a birthday present.
We ate dinner in Lexington - but at nigh on to 9 o'clock and as rumpled travelers we didn't want to stop at some place fancy. Instead, we were the last customers at a little hamburger joint called Pure Eats. They get a 4.5 from Urban Spoon and a 5+ from this hungry gal. They serve local beef and beer, and simply decadent french fries.
Sunday morning was cloudy and cool up in the mountains and we drove north on 11 along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There were More Vistas, More Wildflowers ....
and one darling little mountain cabin farmstead museum.
Complete with it's own ruminant ranger.
And so - that is how TheQueen escaped the Dread Clorox Bottle. When I got back to TheCastle it looked so white it hardly needed to be painted. ThePrince has done some brutal landscaping out front so the painter could get his ladders set up. There will be a shocking photo of TheCastle in TheNude - after the gleaming white paint has been spread. This place is getting so much work done on it it hardly feels like my house any more - but fear not. I shall adjust to the clean and the beauty and the cool.