10 June 2009

shenandoah valley and national park highlights

I'm finally getting to recap my adventures from last week, when my boyfriend and I drove on down to Luray, Virginia for 5 days (well, really it was more like 3 plus travel days). It was a great trip, but I haven't had a second since I've been home to write about it. So, I'm going to sum it up in photos.

the park

Jewell Hollow Overlook

The valley below, a landscape altered by man (I try to imagine what the mountain would look like if the national park had not been established).

Cloudy day

Don't fall in!

Lewis Falls

Mountain laurel, one of the fragrant flowers pervading the mountain air (honeysuckles were rampant outside of the park, delicious!)

Volcano-like cloud

the wildlife

Three black bears on the roadside, a mama and two cubs

A lone black bear

One of two young bucks on Skyline Drive

Wild turkey, Skyline Drive

Ducks on the Luray Greenway, a nice little path running along the Hawksbill Creek.

We also saw 3 bald eagles, a couple of great blue heron, and many other birds on a kayaking trip (didn't want to tip the kayak and drown the camera).

the farms

We were surrounded by them. Seemingly idyllic pastoral Americana, but many were Cargill farms. (If you've read The Omnivore's Dilemma, you may have just shuddered).

This farm was literally in our backyard. Our little cottage at Piney Hill B&B was just steps from this fence. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that my boyfriend is allergic to hay. Acchhoooo!


Oink oink (Virginians love their pork).

the food

Breakfast delivered to our doorstep every morning.

Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg, VA. One of the best meals we had on the trip. (The other was at Ivy Inn in Charlottesville)

They served Polyface Farms products, like this pork loin and the chicken in the background. If you're not familiar with farmer Joel Salatin, check out his books or website.

Ice cream! (without knowing the origin of the dairy, probably not the most sustainable dessert we could have had)

the storm

A big storm's a-brewin'

Take shelter, Dorothy!

"Safe" inside the cottage

Not just golf-ball-sized hail, a tornado less than a mile away

the caverns

Luray Caverns, much more interesting than I expected

Grand illusion

For scale, check out the people at bottom right of this pic

Drapery formations or as they called it in the audio tour, "bacon" (can't get away from the pork products)

Please don't fall on my head!

the history

One rainy day, we visited Monticello (took the house tour, but couldn't take photos inside).

We're finally coming around to rainwater harvesting after all this time.

Thomas Jefferson was quite the horticulturist. This is the restored garden and orchard.

A plantation tour gives the slaves' perspective.

TJ's laboratory

This bee seems right at home.

coming home

It was good to come home to a thriving indoor vegetable garden.

After all of the rich Southern food, I was more than ready for some fresh veggies. Thankfully, we got home just in time to visit the farmer's market to stock up on some delicious seasonal produce.

another food film, part of BAMcinemaFEST

[image: BAM]

What's On Your Plate?
Saturday, June 27 at 9pm
Outdoor screening in Fort Greene Park
Part of BAMcinemaFEST

Directed by Catherine Gund
With Sadie Hope-Gund, Safiyah Riddle
2009, 73min

You’ve read Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and you try to buy local and organic produce at your neighborhood farmer's market. But do you really know how what you're eating ended up on your table? Through the eyes of two intelligent and inquisitive eleven-year-old girls from New York City, we follow the many paths, the conflicting economics, and the disparate decision makers who all play a part in what we eat. Ideal for families to watch together, the film presents a variety of perspectives on how food reaches our urban community and its associated challenges. Presented in conjunction with The Afro-Punk Festival, July 3—8.

Check out the film's website here.