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Oatlands Plantation Celebrates

On this day the Oatlands Plantation celebrated the 200th birthday of their greenhouse. Built in 1810, the most advanced materials and techniques of the day were used in its construction. With a glass roof and southern facing glass wall, the facility captures much of the daily sun as it makes its way across the sky. The balance of the building of made of brick. The pipes, attached to the interior brick walls, are connect to the fireplace. The internal system for heating and cooling were balanced by heat from the sun, the fireplace and cool cellar which served as a multi-functional aspect of this building.

The greenhouse is noted as being the second oldest such structure in the country. In its restored state today, it looks much like it did 200 years ago, when it provided produce year round.
 

 

The historic mansion (below) rests a short distance from the greenhouse. A tour of this beautiful historic home provides the feeling of stepping back in time. Plantations can be found all over the state of Virginia, but Oatlands stands out for its grandeur and rich history of early farming. This National Trust location hosts events throughout the year, including the well attended annual horse race know as Point To Point.
 


 

Locations such as this provide a one stop site for producing Virginia photography. With its rich gardens, long covered roads and paths, staff quarters and mansion, the grounds provide something new upon every visit. Oatlands Plantation is a wonderful place for the family to visit and take in local Loudoun history.

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Crabtree Falls Hike

Crabtree Falls, located in the George Washington National Forest, is an exhilarating vertical hike. I've been to no other location in Virginia where you can hike next to a water fall of this size. Southwest of Raphine, Virginia, along Highway 81, sits a vast collection of high mountain hills, for lack of a better term. These rises in the earth are not connected as is typically seen in northern Virginia, with our bountiful ridges. Instead the horizon is defined by humps in the earth, with an almost fairytale like quality.

The hike itself is a long series of stairs, platforms and paths around boulders. It requires stamina to make it to the top, not a path for the weak of heart. However, each higher landing offers large amounts of crashing water streaming down the mountain. The mossy smell and spray on your face make this somewhat of an adventure.

The nearby Blue Ridge Parkway is a must see for visitors of this area. This northern most section is filled with spectacular views of those enchanted mountains. In my humble opinion, this is a better motor stroll than Skyline Drive. I learned from a local that The Virginian television show was filmed in these valleys.

This photo was taken about half way up the falls, looking west. Now that the leaves are in full bloom, much of this view is likely obscured. The park asks for small donation, which is well worth it. I even saw an envelope sitting on a pole with coins spilling out. No one touched the pile, it had been there for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of great info about Crabtree Falls Hike info: www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/CrabtreeFalls

Nearby Devils Backbone Brewery, great food, great suds, great place. dbbrewingcompany.com

How to get to Crabtree Falls:


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