Monday, November 30, 2009

Falling Spring Falls

Just a few miles down the road from Westvaco (Friday's post) is Falling Spring Falls. This was a surprise to find! I read that this is rare type of fall for Virginia where most falls are cascades and slides.

Information from the Virginia State Parks website:
Located in Alleghany County on the Jackson River, this stream rises from Warm River Cave approximately one mile north. Warm thermal spring water and a cold stream of shallow groundwater mix in the cave before surfacing as Falling Spring Falls. The water is supersaturated with carbonate that forms travertine, a form of limestone, at the base of the waterfall.

Underneath the 80 foot drop from the Falling Spring Falls is an undercut cliff. The constantly wet rock faces within the spray or splash zone of the falling water creates a moist microhabitat called a spray cliff community.

Spray cliff communities on limestone in Virginia are considered rare. This area features 14 bryophyte or moss species.
Informational sign at Falling Spring Falls overlooking the falls. This sign has information about the botany of the falls.
According to the book, “Historical Sketches of the Alleghany Highlands” by Gay Arritt, 82 acres of land including the Falling Spring Falls was granted by King George III of Great Britain to Gabriel Jones in August 1771. In 1780 Thomas Jefferson, as Governor of Virginia, granted the property to Major Thomas Massie.

This site was once visited by Jefferson to survey the falls and he mentions it in his manuscripts “Notes on the State of Virginia” written in 1781.

“The only remarkable cascade in this country is that of the Falling Spring in Augusta,” wrote Jefferson, “…it falls over a rock 200 feet into the valley below.”

From 1914 to 1926 a producer of travertine material, Ohio C. Barber Fertilizer Company, mined fertilizer in Barber, Virginia, now called Falling Spring. In 1927 Falling Spring Lime Company assumed operations until 1941. Mining operations necessitated the relocation of the falls where it now plunges only 80 feet.

Electricity generated from the falls was used to run the lime crushing plant and to operate an electric railway hauling travertine from the mine.

On November 28, 2004, Mead Westvaco donated the Falling Spring Falls and approximately 19 surrounding acres to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Also read somewhere else that the fall is beautiful when frozen. I'll have to see that!

Friday, November 27, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

Heading into Covington, in search of the covered bridge, we came upon this ginormous plant, Westvaco. We didn't know what it was at the time but the place is huge. So of course I had to google it when I came home (what would we do without Google?).

Turns out this is the Mead/Westvaco paper mill. The Covington Mill is one of the most technologically advanced bleached paperboard manufacturing facilities in the world. The mill stretches 1.5 miles along the Jackson River and employs about 1,500 people. It produces more than 2,500 tons of bleached paper and paperboard each day and exports its products to more than 60 countries. This facility manufactures paperboard used for premium folding cartons, for aseptic and other liquid packaging and for printing applications that include books, greeting cards and sports cards.

According to their website, they state that their Pollution Prevention Program is always looking for new ways to reduce emissions into the air, land and water and lessen the impact of its operations on the environment, employees and community.

By the looks of those plumes of smoke going into our atmosphere, they have their job cut out for them.

Any Black Friday shoppers out there? Did you get a good deal? I've never attacked the stores at dawn on Black Friday, in fact I stay as far away from any type store today! And did I hear that Toys R Us even opened earlier this year? At midnight? I think this whole Black Friday deal is getting way out of control. I wonder if other countries do this or if it's just American greed?

For more views of the sky from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours! If you're traveling, be careful!

Photo taken in Eagle Rock.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Roaring Run Furnace

At the tail end of our hike to the falls, we came upon the Roaring Run Furnace. The first mention of the furnace is in a deed dated May 1, 1838. It is believed the furnace went into blast that year and also believed that its final blast was early in April of 1865, prior to the end of the Civil War in April. No other evidence suggests that the furnace went into blast again.

For a more detailed account of the furnace, visit US Forest Service

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Roaring Run Falls

Sunday we dodged some rain that was predicted in our forecast so we pulled out my new book that I told you about, Historic Virginia by Emily and John Salmon.

We decided to go see the Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County. According to my book, the Humpback Bridge is the last surviving curved-span bridge in the US AND the oldest covered bridge in Virginia, completed in 1857.
Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to see the bridge (sorry no pics this time!) because we decided to stop at Roaring Run Recreational Area, on the farthest edge of Botetourt County, along the way. Roaring Run creek is well known for its trout fishing. We decided to take the short hike (less than a mile) up to the falls. It was a pretty easy walk and well worth it! The trail loops around past the furnaces (used to make iron in the mid 1800's) and ended at the picnic tables that are placed along the creek. There we sat and ate our picnic lunch and relaxed a bit before heading towards the covered bridge in Covington. With the days shorter, we ended up running out of sunlight before we could find it, but we did find a huge waterfall, Falling Springs, which I'll show you later this week!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

Remember my Skywatch photo from Friday? This is the exact same location, only 24 hours later!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

This area is known for it's natural beauty and one thing that always steals my attention is the way the clouds envelop the mountain tops after a rain. You can't see where the mountains end and the sky begins. This is the way it looks right now after having a full day of rain. Tomorrow blue skies are in our forecast!

To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Lines - IV

Lines across the sky at sunset. As my friend Di says, "Trees without leaves = NOT CUTE" lol

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lines - III

A peaceful, tree-lined road. There's still a few trees left that haven't completely lost their leaves, but not much.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lines - II

Took this at sunset on Sunday afternoon looking off my back deck. Not sure about the lighting since I'm on permanent zoom like I mentioned, but I kind of like how it turned out. Gives it a Blair Witch feel to me!

Here's something some of you might be interested in, watermarking to protect your photos. I know Babooshka has had some trouble with people stealing her images. Right now, Visual Watermark is running a special $19.95 (instead of $29.95) and $39.95 (instead of $59.95) Visual Watermark Software If you try it out, let me know what you think!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lines - I

I am border-line obsessed with lines of trees. I love when I see a line of trees all the same, whether they're down an old dirt road, lining a drive way, or just in a field like these are. This was taken at the Botetourt Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. We had just returned from Braden and Dalton's football banquet at Bellacino's and had to drop off their football gear. Football is now officially over. Nothing to do till spring baseball starts!

Still need a new camera. I am using Ashlyn's but hers is stuck on permanent zoom. The lens won't go in or out and I have to stand a mile away from anything to get a picture, which makes it tough in a small room,lol....I do have a camera on my Christmas list, hopefully Santa will be good to me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

Since it's so cold and rainy out (yes Lois, remnants of Ida!) I needed to pull out a warm photo. A couple of weeks ago, Greenfield Elementary School held its Fall Festival. I volunteered myself, Ashlyn and Christian to help out with some of the games while Braden and Dalton ran amuck. They had all sorts of carnival type games for the kids to play, a band and this rockwall were just some of the fun things going on. This is Braden attempting to climb to the top of the rockwall.

To check out skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY!


Fall Colors - IV

One of the prettiest trees in our yard but it is almost bare now.

It's been raining since yesterday, and cold too! Ready to dry out and warm up a bit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall Colors - III

More fall colors taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A few days ago I got a neat email from Megan over at Turner Publishing. They just published a new travel book called "Historic Virginia...Your Travel Guide To Virginia's Fascinating Historic Sites" by Emily J. and John S. Salmon. She wanted to know if I was interested in receiving a copy of the book to review with my readers, you! I said "of course"! You know me, I love visiting historical sites and being new to Va, this book is perfect for me! Anyways, the book just arrived and I am anxious to plow through it and visit many of places they've written about. I'll give you all an inside peek as I read through this awesome book! Thanks Megan and I'm going to drop you an email now!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Colors - II

A couple of Sundays ago, Braden and Datlon were invited to a birthday party. It was at a skating rink in Vinton. Rather than take the roads with traffic and street lights, I took the Blue Ridge Parkway to get there. I always prefer the scenic, country roads over city/traffic/lights. The weather was so nice when we left the party so we pulled over on one of the scenic overlooks to walk around and look at the views.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Colors - I

The other day we drove over to Greenfield Elementary School to drop our recyclables off at their recycle station. The fall colors on the mountain were so distracting to me that while the kids were tossing our plastic bottles and boxes in the bins, I was busy taking pictures,lol

Friday, November 6, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

The streets of Lexington. We had a fun time while visiting. If you stop at the Visitor's Center, they will give you a map for a self guided tour, which is what we did.

To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stonewall Jackson Gravesite

Notice all the lemons tossed in? Supposedly Jackson thought of lemons as a "rare treat ... enjoyed greatly whenever it could be obtained from the enemy's camp" (From Wikipedia. I didn't come prepared with lemons so we didn't leave a lemon this time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Traveller's Grave

This is Traveller's final resting spot. Linda Donald of the Lee Chapel and Museum says this about the pennies left on the grave:

"This custom has no recorded information. Our Director says that the coins are simply a matter of people leaving something at the burial site of an icon. However, I grew up in Lexington and was taught that Traveller was to be provided for and was never to be without. It is my belief that people leave the coins so that Traveller's every need can be met".

We left our pennies there as well! You can read more on Traveller by clicking the link on yesterday's post.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Traveller's Stable-Lee's Horse

I mentioned in yesterday's post that they kept Traveller's stable open and full of hay for his return. Corker wanted to know more and after digging around, I was able to find on Wikipedia this "The stable where he lived his last days, directly connected to the Lee House on campus, traditionally stands with its doors left open; this is said to allow his spirit to wander freely."

So there you have it! For more on Traveller Click Here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lee House-Lexington, VA

The Lee House was built for General Robert E. Lee while he was President of Washington and Lee. In October 1870, R.E. Lee died in the dining room, and was buried in the crypt of Lee Chapel on campus.

A brick stable for Lee’s famous horse, Traveller, was attached off a back corner, and to this day, they still keep hay in it in case Traveller returns. I will show a picture of the stable tomorrow.

The house is closed to the public.

For more information on the house and Gen. R. E. Lee, CLICK HERE

And for another great read, Carriage Rides and Confederate Ghosts, CLICK HERE

Happy Monday!