Saturday, June 7, 2008

Raphine adventures

Today, we spent the day near Raphine in the northern reaches of our county.

We started by going to Orchardside Farm flower and produce market. While it was a beautiful setting, there was not much to buy. (They say that the produce vendors come along in mid-June.) There is a great creek flowing through the farm. Leland made friends with a little girl and they stuck their toes in the water while we looked at the vendors.

After that, we went to Wade's Mill, a working flour mill built in 1750 by one of the earlier settlers in the Shenandoah Valley. The mill is powered by a 21-foot water wheel that is fed by a nearby stream. It is one of the few remaining flour mills that still produces a wide variety of flours exclusively on mill stones. We bought a bread mix to have later today. We also walked around and took some beautiful pictures.

After Wade's Mill, we made a quick stop at Rockbridge Vineyard to see the beautiful barn and grape vines, but also to let Chuck ask them some questions for his The Roaming Roan travel column.

After stopping at a fast food place, we went and had a picnic at the Cyrus McCormick Farm, the birthplace of mechanized farm harvesting. It was in this location, that McCormick designed, built, and tested the first mechanical reaper which spurned the industrialization of agriculture. Prior to inventing the reaper, farmers could only harvest 1/2 an acre a day; after the reaper was invented, farmers could harvest 12 acres a day. His efforts made harvesting grain easier and allowed farmers across the globe to harvest grain faster and cheaper then ever before.

In all, we visited four great tourist stops in the span of a few hours. We saw beautiful farms and toured two historical landmarks. It was a very fun day.

1 comment:

  1. OK, I've been skimy on comments, but I've SO been enjoying your blog this summer! You make me so homesick for Virginia! We always loved going up to Orchardside. It's seriously one of my favorite places in the area. Looks like you guys are having a fun summer! We miss you all!