Posts Tagged ‘fall foliage’

From Eastern Shore Virginia, A Holiday Time Travel To The Amazing Williamsburg Colonial Restoration Area

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

DSC_6870For history buffs, the Eastern Shore of Virginia offers a cornucopia of delights- – our discovery and colonization in the early 1600’s, the trove of Colonial documents in the Eastville courthouse, the repository of the oldest continuous records in the US, the Arlington Plantation historic site, the Pear Valley yeoman’s cottage with a chimney brick dated 1631, our hundreds of historic homes lovingly restored and maintained. So it’s only natural that folks from the Shore feel a special kinship with that amazing re-creation of life in Colonial times, the Historic Area in Williamsburg, Virginia. Especially at the holidays.



To me, few things say holiday spirit and Yule tide decoration like the amazing all-natural wreaths and swags to be found on every door of every building in theDSC_6807 Historic Area. So, as often as possible, we try to have our traditional family turkey/stuffing/trimmings Thanksgiving dinner, complete with kids, grandkids and now, great grandkids, on Wednesday evening. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, hubby and I plus Eldest Daughter, etc. have lunch in Williamsburg at one of the old Taverns or at the gorgeously decorated Lodge.

DSC_6791One of the great things about living on the Eastern Shore is its central location- -we are so close to so many great places. So a trip to Williamsburg is a zip, zip of less than 2 hours, easy peasy. But when you arrive, it’s like stepping out of a time capsule, immediately drawn into a Colonial world, complete with horse drawn carriages, sheep grazing on the village green and residents going about their day dressed in long woolen cloaks, beribboned bonnets and tri-corn hats.

But first, lunch. From the many buffet choices, including a savory white bean bisque with fennel and sausage, a DSC_6760delicious roast pork with figs and new potatoes plus a myriad of salads, cheeses and charcuterie galore in between, lunch at The Lodge was truly delightful. The only thing I shall mention about the amazing dessert table is that the gingerbread with custard sauce was divine, exceeded only by the demi-tasse cups of decadent hot chocolate. Enough said, it was great !

DSC_6851But the big event of The Day is always the walk afterwards down Duke of Gloucester Street to see the wreaths. After all these years, I still love it as much as I did the very first time we came. The beauty of the decorations, the pine fragrance of all the greenery, the smoke from the bonfire, the cadence of the horse carriages as they travel down the street, the friendly dogs taking their masters for a walk, the excitement of the kids as the cannon booms, the smiling faces all around – – this says holiday to me.


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Our Annual Carter Mountain Trek- From Virginia’s Eastern Shore To The Blue Ridge Mountains In About 3 Hours

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

World Famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Westward Ho !  ,  the theme of our annual trek  some weeks ago from our beloved Eastern Shore’s sandy seashore to the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in Charlottesville, VA.  It’s a trip that, depending on traffic,  only takes 3-4 hours,  but it’s a trip that shows off  the real beauty and diversity of  Virginia geography as we drive from our saltwater-dominated Atlantic coastal plain through the Virginia’s rolling plain Piedmont area, ( think Williamsburg, Richmond, etc. ),  and then into the gorgeous Blue Ridge area of Charlottesville and Roanoke.

A View From Carter Mountain, Charlottesville VA

( Westward still would place  you in the Appalachian Mountains and Virginia’s  famous Shennandoah Valley, very beautiful yet somehow we seldom go that far. )  Virginia certainly isn’t an especially large state but it has a diversity which makes getting a change of pace and scenery easy and fun to do.  For some reason,  it never ceases to amaze me that I can be driving on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, watching rolling  waves and seabirds just after breakfast and by lunchtime I can be sitting in a chair atop Carter Mountain,  munching a juicy York apple.

Michie Tavern, ca.1784, A National Historic Landmark

This year,  because of an especially busy schedule,  for the first time,  we made  our Annual Apple Trek after Halloween rather than before, which like most things in life had its pros and cons.  Pros were that it was quiet,  no lines to pay for apples and Carter’s fabulous fresh-pressed apple cider,  easy to find an attendant to get questions answered and a chair was immediately available  to sit and admire the wide vistas.  Cons– well, I really missed seeing all the kids running around trying to choose their Halloween pumpkins,  the hayride wagons full of  excited parents and kids,  the bluegrass fiddles and banjos.   In short,  apparently it wasn’t just about the crunchy apples and the beautiful vistas from atop Carter’s Mountain, it was also very much about the infectious  atmosphere of their month long October Apple Festival accompanied by the mouth-watering aromas of fresh apple pies and apple cider donuts  wafting through it that we had been enjoying all these years.  At any rate, before venturing up to the Orchard we enjoyed  a late lunch at Michie Tavern,  located right at the foot of the mountain and only a half mile from Jefferson’s Monticello.  Built in 1784 as a country inn to accommodate travelers of the day, it is a beautiful structure, a National Historic Landmark, very well-preserved. Serving a menu of foods typical of the time and still popular today– fried or baked chicken and excellent southern style  pulled pork BBQ,  accompanied by black-eyed peas,  stewed tomatoes, beets, cole slaw, mashers, cornbread, big, fluffy biscuits, etc. ,  Michie Tavern gives an authentic taste of  what travelers of the time would have experienced.  Lunch can be eaten  inside or al fresco  on their screened porch overlooking the propery’s magnificant woodlands or by the roaring fireplace in winter,  it’s always a very pleasant experience.  (

So Many Apples, So many Choices At The Carter Mountain Orchard

Lunch over, up  Carter Mountain we went.  The apples were great,  as usual.  We normally buy a bushel each of four different varieties, typically Stayman Winesap, York, Fugi and Pink Lady,  so that we can mix them together and give them as little  “happy-apple-harvest”  gifties to friends and family.  A Pink Lady is an especially pretty apple, a very pale green with a large blush of deep pink on the side,  quite crisp and slightly tart, one of my favorite apples, both a good eating and a good pie apple.   But for applesauce, I think you just can’t beat the combination of  the Stayman and  York varieties with a few Fugi and Macintosh thrown in for good measure.   At our house we love applesauce, unsweetened, chunky, flavorful,  lightly laced with cinnamon,  completely delicious with chicken or pork, and, I might add, so good for you.  It’s hard to tolerate what passes for applesauce in the supermarket, thin, grainy, absolutely flavorless– must be made with mealy red delicious, the worst apple ever for flavor.  But a big pot of  three or four  types of  sweet-tart Carter Mountain apples, slowly simmered with a little apple cider,  mashed carefully to retain some chunks  (but not too  many), gently flavored with cinnamon and perhaps a tiny dash of clove at the very end — now that’s an applesauce that we will drive 3 hours to get really fresh apples to make !  ( By the way, applesauce freezes very well, pull it out, defrost and it tastes almost as great as the day it was simmered off in the big apple kettle.)   So we got some  great apples, newly  picked that morning,  we got the fresh-pressed apple cider, delicious either hot and mulled or icy cold,  as well as a dozen pre-packaged cider donuts.  All in all,  we had a great day.  But …..  for Apple Trek 2012,  I think we will make a point to go before Halloween so we can enjoy all the extras too — the yelling kids, the noisy hayrides,  the bluegrass band twanging away and the aromas of apple pies newly baked,  all the many features of the October Apple Festival atop  Charlottesville’s Carter Mountain.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Charlottesville Uncorked– A Fall Week-end Sampling Blue Ridge Mountain Area Wines

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Just before Thanksgiving we had an opportunity to take a week-end off  and decided to make a quick trip  to Charlottesville, VA.   Located at the foot of the  beautiful Blue Ridge mountain range, it’s only about a three and a half hour drive from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and it’s a drive through some of  Virginia’s prettiest countryside,  ever gorgeous in the fall.  We started out by heading south over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, deep blue waters of the  Bay glistening in the sun,  picking up Rt 64 west to Williamsburg, which is a lovely tree lined drive through slightly hilly terain,  a quick stop at the Williamsburg Outlet Mall for a pair of boaters at Bass Shoes,  lunch at the  Cheese Shop in Merchant’s Square in the Colonial historic area,  one of their delicious Virginia country ham sandwiches accompanied by a  little glass of chilled white wine.  Back on the road again, by-passing Richmond, heading  into even more rolling terrain until suddenly, from the top of  a  hill,  the  peaks in the distance now reveal themselves in varying shades of blue, the Blue Ridge Mountains,  a lovely sight, and then we’re  quickly in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville, C-ville, as residents call her,  is best known for  three things.  1.)  It is the home of  UVA,  the University of  Virginia, which in 2011 once again maintained its top rating,  tied with UCLA  as the 2nd best public university in the entire nation.  2.) It is the location of  Monticello, the exquisute mountain-top estate of the 3rd president of the United States,  Thomas Jefferson, and a named UNESCO World Heritage site and 3.) It is home to Ash Lawn, home of James Monroe, 5th president of the Uunited States.  And as if that were not enough,  among others,  it is also the  home of  author John Grisham and  Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band !


A word, or 2, about UVA.   Its  gorgeous campass,  with mostly classically styled  buildings nestled into a rolling terrain,  is sited on 800 acres of  land which had been part of a 3000 acre parcel owed by James Monroe.   The original concept of the University came from Thomas Jefferson, who rated his work in designing and establishing it as the primary achievement of his life,  more important even than his presidency.  The most revered building at UVA is its first building,  the Rotunda, designed by Thomas Jefferson himself,  a beautiful classical design modeled after Rome’s  Pantheon.  Fully completed only after Jefferson’s death, the Rotunda became the academic village that Jefferson had envisioned, containing the library, classrooms, faculty offices and student rooms.  Now, of course, the University is a huge affair, with an enrollment of  over 21,000 students  and a faculty of  nearly 1400– I’m sure that Jefferson would be tremendously  proud of all that has been accomplished by his successors in the last nearly 200 years.

Sunday morning,  after a relaxing brunch at Maya’s on Main Street in the C-ville’s quaint little downtown ( highly recommend the potato cakes with smoked salmon ), we set off for a day of exploration and wine tasting.  As it turned out, there was more exploration and less wine tasting.   Having driven by Ash Lawn, the home of president James Monroe, many times we decided that the time had finally come  to stop and take the tour– and so we did.  ( A little trivia on US presidents– 8 were born in the state of Virginia and 7 are buried in Virginia including  both Jefferson and Monroe.) Monroe purchased  an estate of over 3500 acres ( including the 800 that went to UVA)  adjacent  to Monticello  where his close friend Jefferson lived.  Jefferson helped Monroe select the exact location to site his future home which Monroe named Ash Lawn-Highland when it was completed about 1800. Although Monticello is a very grand home,  Monroe went in the opposite direction and built a very tasteful but much smaller home which he referred to as his “cabin castle” in the country.

The property is a now a museum owned and operated by the College of William and Mary, with house and grounds very much as they were in Monroe’s day– formal flower gardens,  a large working veggie and herb garden, numerous out buildings including the barn, icehouse, smokehouse, etc., pastures with cattle grazing, all overlooking the beautiful mountains.  It was a most interesting tour with a few bits of  great trivia: back in the day wallpaper was extremely expensive and so was not actually glued to the wall as it would be today but rather attached by tacks so that if the owner moved the wallpaper could be packed up along with the other household furnishings.  Also, Monroe was the very first president to commission his own presidential china for use during his term in the White House- prior to that  presidents  were  expected to bring their own china  Washington with them. And of course since that time ever subsequent president has commissioned his own china pattern for official White House use.  But the most interesting couple bits  of Monroe triva offered by the tour guide were  that in the very famous painting  of General George Washington crossing the Delaware, then Lieutenant Monroe is shown in the boat standing  just behind  Washington, holding the flag.  However,  at the time  Monroe had actually already reached the New Jersey shore in an entirely different boat from Washington.   And talk about making a fashion statement, a replica of the deep rose colored wedding gown worn by Monroe’s glamourous wife, Elizebeth, stands in the drawing room,  made notable by the fact that has no buttons, snaps or fasteners of any kind whatsoever — she was literally sewen into the dress for the ceremony after which the dress was taken off by re-opening the seams !

From Ash Lawn we were off to the new winery acquisition by  “The Donald”.  The former Kluge Estates Vineyard is now  called Trump  Winery, no surprise there although the primary  wines for sale are  ’07,  ’08, ’09 and  ’10  bottlings  which still carry the Kluge label.   The tasting room is very much the same, still  attractive warm woods but an additional large outdoor seating area has been added in the back and a large screen TV in the main room offers a beautiful slideshow of the vineyard through the seasons. Sparkling wines were very much the signature wines of Kluge and I’m sure will be of Trump as well.  We ordered a small cheese plate and tastings of  all 3 of the sparklings, a Blanc de  Blanc,  Blanc  de Noir and the Rose’,  favorite hands down being the elegant  and beautifully colored  Blanc de Noir.

From Trump it was on to the only other vineyard we had time for, Jefferson Vineyard,  just a few minutes away from Monticello. It is well-known that Jefferson became a great connoisseur of wine  from the substantial amount of time he spent in France  when he succeded Franklin as the  American ambassador.

Jefferson was eager to establish vineyards on this side of the Atlantic and the land on which Jefferson Vineyards stands was at one time owned by by an Italian viticulturist who was prompted by Jefferson to try his luck in Virginia.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

“Singing In The Rain” Redux- Our Fabulous Weather On Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I was just sitting at my desk  last Saturday morning, rain drumming on the office roof, working on a little overdue  project,  feeling just a teensy bit sorry for myself  because we cancelled our trip to Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, VA ( ) because heavy rain was forecast for most of the day and I don’t like to drive in a downpour.  But I started feeling cheerier when one of our agents got a call from a customer who will be closing shortly on a home they just  purchased here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia , saying they were absolutely getting  hammered by snow,  falling  like  crazy  outside their home  overlooking  the Hudson River near New York City.   Snow in October, I  thought.  Wow, what a bummer  !   October is for enjoying fall foliage, driving to apple orchards,  sipping sweet-tart apple cider out on your deck on a beautiful fall afternoon or visiting  wineries to taste the new releases.  October is definitely NOT supposed to be for slipping and sliding on icy roads,  shoveling sidewalks or salting  down the front steps.   Or,  worst of all,  having your power off for days on end as proclaimed on the front page of the New York Times that Sunday– ”  Storm Leaves More Than 2 Million Without Power”.

Which brings me full circle once more to “Singing In The  Rain”  here on the  Virginia Eastern Shore.  Like last year, and the year before, and the year before that,  and indeed most of my nearly 25 years here,  when areas just north of us are being lashed by sleet, snow and high winds,  here on the Eastern Shore,  we are enjoying rain.   “Enjoying”  in the sense that it’s great to have  woods, fields and ponds  getting a good drink and water tables  being refilled — even though we might cancel trips so as not to have to drive  in heavy rain.   So many benefits, so few drawbacks !   Our moderate maritime climate, our fabulous weather,  is one of the many delightful aspects of life on the Eastern Shore.  A beautiful four season climate with long, pleasant springs and falls, the hot part of summer short with cooling breezes blowing off  the water,  the cold part of winter short  and moderate ( most winter days seem to be between 40 to 50 degrees outside) — by the end of February or first part of March,  farmers normally starting  plowing for spring plantings.  For avid boaters, golfers and beachcombers, it’s terrific– you’ll see them out and about all winter long,  “doing their thing”,  enjoying  every outdoor minute of   a  refreshing  45 degree winter’s day.

So last Sunday, when we woke up here on the Shore to a beautiful Indian Summer day,  leaves beginning to turn, skies clear and blue, slight breeze, temperatures forecast to be about 65 degrees and sunny,  it was hard to imagine what it would be like to live  in parts of New Jersey with 15 inches of snow and no power,  or in New York with a state of emergency declared in 13 counties  or in parts of Massachusetts or Connecticut, buried under up to 27 inches of snow and electricity forecast to be off  for up to a week.  And I didn’t actually have to imagine it because the Weather Channel covered it all in full detail,  fallen trees, closed airports, stranded motorists, 9 dead, the whole sad story.   Then,  just as I was making  another  pot of coffee, I looked out the kitchen window to a beautiful fall sight,  called to my husband to bring my camera– out in our little woods, beyond the back lawn and overlooking the water,  was a small family of  deer,  just passing through,  about 6 of them,  stopping every few minutes to look around and sniff the air.  Deer in  shades of  tans and browns,  trees dressed in greens and hues of  reds and orange, all set against the deep blue background of  our  Chesapeake Bay inlet– that’s what October on the Eastern Shore of Virginia looks like to us.   New York  may have  “The Big Apple”,  Massachusetts may have Boston and New Jersey may have Atlantic City…. but the Eastern Shore of Virginia has fabulous weather, our glorious, beautiful,  do-your-outside-thing- most- anytime,  moderate maritime climate.  So,  once again,  it’s  “Singing In The Rain”,  not shuffling

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

in the snow,  here on the Virginia Eastern Shore.


Measuring With Frogs, Swimming With Geese– A Peek Into The Life Of Two Dogs On Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Thursday, November 11th, 2010


Little Honey getting modeling advice from Pumpkin, May 2010

In July I posted a little story about how my daughter  “measures”  her dogs by posing them next to a couple of funky yard ornaments,  two frogs to be exact.   A couple days ago  it was time to  take the autumn measurements  of  these two bronze  Newfoundlands.   But  the very sweet Pumpkin,  now two plus years and the feisty Honey,  nine months,  had to be coaxed into primping  for the camera next to the quirky tall metal frogs.     They just really were not in the mood for a photo shoot .  Being a bit breezy that day on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  dry leaves were gently fluttering down from many of  the trees,   rustling and swirling all across the backyard.   Both of   “the  girls” ,  as my husband likes to call them,  were infinitely more interested in chasing  leaves rather than posing docilely for the camera.  Leashes had to be produced and many commands of  “sit” and “stay” were given before a semi-satisfactory shot was obtained.  But the principal objective was finally met,  leashes removed  and off they set  in a mad dash,  crossing  the lawn in wild pursuit of who knows what canine goal.  Chasing deer is their very favorite pursuit.  If they see a deer in the yard,  usually following a little trail down by the water,  they give  great excited barks  and set off  at a gallop trying to catch one– apparently they will never learn that  deer run  multiples of times faster than dogs,  or maybe they’re  just doing the dog version of the 50 yard dash.   Anyway,  I  think they would probably freak out if they actually  ever really got close to  one.  Fortunately there’s no worry about that happening because  deer are so agile they could just jump past a mere dog in a single bound.   Which reminds me of  a  “dogs interacting with other animals”  little story my husband related to  me  the other day.


Honey and Pumpkin, Measured With Frogs, November 2010

Pumpkin and Honey,   being Newfies,  and Newfies traditionally being water rescue dogs,  both adore swimming.  In the summer they love to go down to the inlet and swim in the salt water and do so just about every single day.  Last week,   my husband and the dogs were just sitting out on the deck,  enjoying some late day sun.  This being the time of year that flocks of  geese start  returning to the Eastern Shore to enjoy our mild winters,  a large flock passed overhead,  honking loudly as geese always do,  aiming  to set down in  the water just off our backyard.   The dogs stood up,  cocking their heads,  listening to all the noise  and then bounded  off for the shoreline,  which is about 350 feet from the deck.   By that time the geese,  with their  usual fanfare,  were settling down in the water  just off the area where  the dogs usually enter to swim.   My husband followed the dogs  on down,  hoping to get a good view of the flock,   assuming the geese would take off as soon as the dogs arrived on the scene.   But the geese didn’t seem to mind the dogs,  actually totally ignored them .   Into the water went Pumpkin and Honey,  quietly ,  not barking or carrying on at all.   And then they proceeded to swim along with the geese,  who were bobbing around not more than 20 feet away from them !   I have never heard of such a thing before but  my husband swears,  Scout’s Honor and pinkie swear,  that every word is true.  I can tell you that a human can’t get anywhere near that close to a flock of geese because the whole flock  will take to the air in a flash,  wings beating,  loudly honking.   And if only my husband  had his camera with him,  I would have loved  a  shot  of  Honey and Pumpkin,  slowly swimming with geese.


From Virginia’s Eastern Shore To The Charlottesville, Virginia Mountains- Our Annual Trek For Apples

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Three hours is all it takes to travel from our sandy seashore to the top of Carter Mountain outside  Charlottesville, Virginia but what a change in scenery and pace,  folks just zipping around those mountain curves like the blazes. ( Me,  I  just drive  along at a good pace but not trying to set any records either. )  It’s really beautiful on top of Carter Mountain this time of year,  off in the distance the Blue Ridge peaks look very blue.  Close up,  the mountain foliage  is almost past  its peak whereas  back on the Eastern Shore,  a lot of the trees are just slowly beginning to turn.

When my kids were small they loved cider and a little song called Sipping Cider Through A Straw.  Now that they’re adults they still love sipping cider and Carter Mountain Orchard is an excellent place to do just that.  The week-end before Halloween is a busy time at the orchard,  it seemed  like their winding  mountain road was bumper to bumper,  both going up and coming down,  cars chuck full of pumpkins, apples and apple cider.  But nobody was  impatient or honking,  they were  just enjoying the crisp fall air permeated by the sweet smell of apple pies baking in the orchard’s little bakery.  Actually,  we like Carter’s  apple cider donuts just as much as their apple  pie– if you’ve never had one,  let me say that it’s hard to beat a fresh cider donut ( or 2 ) paired with a cup of  hot spiced cider as an autumn treat.

Anyway, the plan was to meet up with our son and crew to have lunch atop the mountain and then pick apples.  BBQ sandwiches and real french fries  ( not frozen mushy things so often served)  washed down with fresh-pressed apple cider,  a tasty lunch for sure,  just close the eyes to the calories !   But the rest of the  plan was to work off some of those calories by picking apples.  After the kids enjoyed a ride around the orchard on a tractor-pulled hay-wagon,  we all set off  for the U-Pick section of  Fugi apples.  In my opinion,  Fugi’s are a  perfect apple for both eating and cooking.  Picking was the easy part– toting about 100 pounds of apples down the mountain while corralling 3 little running, laughing  grandkids was a challenge but we managed it.   By then the time had finally come to pick the Great Pumpkin.  After much searching,  evaluating and advocating for a particular favorite,  the kids at last  found a pumpkin upon which they could all agree,  thank Heavens for that !

Then they were off to make a couple other stops,  leaving my husband and I to settle down and relax at one of the picnic tables to enjoy the long view out to the Blue Ridge and to have a wee bit of dessert….. an apple cider donut and a cup of cider,  of course.   We wrapped up the afternoon by selecting a few other varieties from the pre-picked bins, some Jonathans,  a few Granny Smith,  some McIntosh,  some Staymans, etc. .  When cooked together into an applesauce,  the flavor of a mixture of different varieties of  tart-sweet apples like these is incomparable.  ( Why the only so- called applesauce you can buy in grocery stores is some thin,  runny,  no- texture,  flavorless  stuff which has no relationship to what real applesauce actually is if you make it at home,  I truly can not understand.  Really,  how hard should it be to make a decent, delicious commercial applesauce ?  Some company should make that their calling– bringing real applesauce to the market ! )

Last item on our Carter Mountain Orchard to-do list was to get a bushel of  Pink Lady apples.  Having had our fill of apple picking for the day,  we  opted for a pre-picked bushel of these beautiful apples,  each one sporting a wide pink blush.  For staying power in a refrigerator,  a Pink  Lady is hard to beat.  They are a wonderful all- around apple for  eating,  Waldorf salads,  frying,  etc.,  etc.   So,  loaded up with apples,  apple cider, apple cider donuts and jars of apple butter,  we were ready to say goodby to Carter Mountain Orchard ( )  until next year’s  apple trek from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to Charlottesville, Virginia.

I Can’t Believe That My Favorite Month On Virginia’s Eastern Shore Is Almost Over !

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

From Our Deck The Water Looks Bluer In October

October on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is just the best month of the year,  to me anyway.  The clear blue skies and the Indian Summer warm days are so delightful,  nearly perfect really.  The leaves start to turn,  but very slowly.   My dogwoods and crepe myrtles are coloring up beautifully  but the deep reds and oranges of hickory and oaks have yet to really start.  Fall camellias are just starting  to bloom,  pansies are ready to plant,  time to put collards and kale in the garden and buy a few mums for the porch steps to enjoy as I come and go.   Sitting on the deck enjoying the views,  for some reason the water just seems bluer to me in October.  Fall here is  long- sleeve- cotton- blouse weather,  not yet time for a sweater or windbreaker,  which is good because I hate toting that stuff around,  putting them on,  taking them off.  ( Actually I’d rather be a little cold than lug a sweater around even in December.  January is a different story. )

Colorful Fall Foliage In The Blue Ridge Mountains

And there’s always a lot going on in October both on the Eastern Shore and around Virginia.  It’s almost time for our annual Blue Ridge mountain trip to Carter Mountain Orchard  in Charlottesville, Virginia,   home to  Pink Lady,  Fugi,  Stayman Winesap, Yellow Delicious and  Granny Smith apples— all favorites of our family.  Time to put a couple bushels in the garage refrigerator for pies and Waldorf salads, etc. through the winter.   Fall foliage will be at its peak up in the Blue Ridge Mountains,  a lovely sight indeed.  And the 20 + wineries there will nearly all be having special tasting room treats.  It’s an easy trip,  just over a three hour drive  from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to Charlottesville  ( C-ville as the locals there call it ),  through some beautiful scenery.  Going to Carter Mountain for apples, apple cider and apple butter plus some side ventures for wine to Jefferson Vineyard and Barboursville Vineyard,  both a part of the Monticello appellation ( )  is annual October tradition for my husband and I.   Part of the  “October is my favorite month”  thing —  good apples,  good wines ,  good times.

October Is The Time To Plant Pansies And Mums On Virginia's Eastern Shore

Here on the Eastern Shore,  the October foodie thing,  the annual Harvest Festival has come and gone.  ( In fact, I just finished a week of rice cakes and cottage cheese for lunch,  thanks to over- indulgence at the Harvest Fest,  especially on crabcakes and the always fantastic sweet potato pie.)   The October birdie thing,  the 18th annual Birding Festival  has also come and gone.   But the birds,  especially the beautiful songbirds and large raptors,  are still migrating through.  Good luck guys and gals,  it’s a long,  long way to Central and South America.   ( Ever wonder if  birds say to themselves,  in bird speak obviously,   ” This migration thing is a severe pain in the tukus —  let’s just say   “No”  next year and go to Miami instead !”  )   The annual Chili and Chowder Cook-off  held in Chincoteague, Virginia  each year in  October for the last eleven years has also come and gone.  The chili and  chowder part is great–  I love chili,  my husband loves clam chowder,  so it’s  a  win-win event for us.  But Treat or Treat is still to come.  I’m looking forward  pumpkin carving and walking around the  “big block”  in the little town of Cheriton with my grandkids on Halloween as they collect enough goodies to provide another year of  job security for their dentist.   And then, inevitably,  October,  my favorite month on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  will be over yet again.