I spent the better part of last week at my parents’ house in Maryland. I made my way back to North Carolina Saturday afternoon, taking the more rural route that brushes past Charlottesville, skirts around Lynchburg and bypasses Danville, Virginia. Although the Autumn colors were fading as I made my way past the entrance to Skyline Drive and took U.S. Route 250 at the top of Rockfish Gap in the direction of Afton Mountain, I scoured the horizon looking for photo opportunities. Along 250, there is an overlook that is sadly overgrown with trees and brush, the combination of which blocks the gorgeous valley below.
See what I mean?
I was feeling spunky, so I decided to hoof it ’round the mountain to a more advantageous spot I had passed a few hundred yards before coming to the overlook. It seemed like a grand idea until I started the short trek. The shoulder was practically non-existent and suddenly every semi south of the Mason Dixon Line seemed to pass through that very pass. But when I have a bee in my bonnet…. I hopped the guard rail and prayed that my boots would have enough traction on the gravelly terrain, which abruptly dropped off into the very valley I was trying to photograph. I took a couple of pictures and made my way back to the car, using the guard rail posts to steady myself against the wind gusts. (The plague of the tractor trailers had passed and the plague of wind and weather had begun.)
Back in the vehicle, I surveyed my photos. They were pretty decent, but I was disappointed to note how readily the lens captured the blue haze of an otherwise sunny day. It occurred to me that this might be why the mountain range is called the Blue Ridge.
I traveled a few hundred yards and saw an amazing view. It was right near a roadside (nay, cliffside) outdoor flea market. I parked, and a women bundled up against the wind and chill approached me with a smile. I cut to the chase and told her I was looking for a good place to take a picture. She pointed down a private lane toward what she referred to as “the glass globes.” (Clearly, mine was not an original thought. She had been through this a time or two.) I spied a row of bowling ball-shaped lights affixed to brick columns, and after a grateful “thank you” made my way toward them. As I was navigating the steep drive, I heard a voice call from the hilltop above. I looked to see a gentleman farmer who was holding up his harvest and bidding me to take his picture. (I later learned that it was he who lived down the private lane I was so precociously descending.)
Here are some of the pictures that I took. (Can you imagine enjoying that view every day?!)
I then turned onto State Route 6 (Afton Mountain Road) on my way through mountainous Nelson County (think Walton’s Mountain) toward U.S. Route 29. Along the way, I captured a couple more iconic country scenes.
Old Virginia, isn’t she grand?