The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

Category: Louisa County (page 2 of 2)

Historic Garden Week in Virginia

We’ve been anticipating this spring event for months! As detailed in the latest issue of The Piedmont Virginian (on newsstands now!), the Garden Club of Virginia has worked hard for over 75 years to restore historic sites and gardens across the state– including the gardens at Montpelier Estate and Morven Park. These historic landscapes flourish across the Piedmont, and Historic Garden Week provides an opportunity for guests to “step through the gates of more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks.” Taking place from April 18-25, “America’s Largest Open House” provides a glimpse into Virginia’s finest properties during their springtime best, when everything is in colorful bloom. For house and garden tours in your area, check in with your local garden club, as the GCV is an association of 47 different area clubs.

Conservation Stories from the Piedmont Environmental Council

Virginia’s Piedmont achieved major conservation milestones in 2008, and we applaud the PEC for its important work. Below you’ll find some important snippets from the PEC’s latest newsletter- The Conservation Edition. Sign up for the PEC’s excellent, free newsletters— choose your preferences– and you can stay informed on the topics that matter to you:

300,000+ Acres of Land Protected

The Piedmont achieved a major conservation milestone in 2008, as the total amount of land protected by conservation easements crossed the 300,000 acre mark. Last year, Piedmont landowners permanently protected more than 14,000 acres of land, which brings the total to nearly 307,500 acres. That comes to 14% of the total land, in addition to public lands, which comprise another 4%.

Three Civil War Battlefields

As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War begins, private land conservation has protected 12,000 acres of battlefields in the Piedmont, including portions of three battlefields in 2008: Aldie, Brandy Station and Rappahannock Station. In the summer of 1863, Gen. Lee’s army was marching up the Shenandoah Valley, on its way to Gettysburg. On the other side of the Blue Ridge, in Loudoun County, Union and Confederate troops fought over roads that led to gaps in the mountains. If the federal troops could cross those gaps, they could attack Lee’s army.

2,700 Acres in Madison County

When floodwaters severed the road into the Graves Mill valley in 1995, Keith Wagner was stranded on the other side with his five-year-old son-separated from the rest of his family and from the 1,500 acre farm that he was responsible for managing. Because of Shenandoah National Park, the roads through Graves Mill don’t connect to other roads. The main road and its offshoots trace the river valley, climb a short way up the slopes of the mountains and end, at the forest’s edge. Other people in Mr. Wagner’s situation hiked in over Blakey Ridge, but Mr. Wagner, who was recovering from a badly broken leg, couldn’t do that.

Muskrat Haven and Sunnyside Farms

Two Rappahannock farms that are prominent producers of local food were protected by conservation easements in 2008. Manfred Call went through the county’s Purchase of Development Rights program to protect Muskrat Haven Farm while Nick and Gardiner Lapham donated a conservation easement on Sunnyside Farm to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. “I think everybody has a responsibility to steward their land,” says Mr. Call.

What’s On: Farm and Food Expo, Virginia Organic Producers’ and Consumers’ Assn

Get ready for a “cornucopia experience.” We’re headed to the Farm and Food Expo in Winchester this weekend- and we can hardly wait. There will be over 50 exhibitors representing local farms, ag agencies, farmers markets, seed and tool companies, food nutritionists, conservationists… Bravo to the Virginia Organic Producers’ and Consumers’ Assocation for organizing a fabulous, free event that the whole family will enjoy.

Sunday, November 2, 1 p.m.- 7 p.m; ZeroPak Warehouse, 580 N. Cameron Street, Winchester

Fall Foliage in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

Tis the season. Virginia residents (and lucky visitors) can check out the wine harvest, apple festivals– replete with cider and apple butter makin’– and pick your own pumpkin patches– all against the backdrop of autumn’s colors in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Leaf-peeping season is upon us, and soon the highways will be clogged with crowds who’ve come to ogle the fall foliage. But when to predict the peak season for a scenic drive?

A recent article in Nelson County Life honed in on the science of leaf-changing: “The colors of autumn are actually the true pigments of the leaves drifting to the ground. The green is actually a mask of sorts, a fake color, chlorophyll, caused by photosynthesis.” Scientists at the Wintergreen Nature Foundation are not predicting good color in Nelson County because of the stress caused to the trees by moths and drought. Despite this fact, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be hopping.

Peak time for foliage change in the Piedmont is expected for late October or early November, starting with tree species such as poplars, sweet gum, dogwood and maple. You can sign up for a weekly leaf report update to get the skinny on prime viewing locations and color changes. Don’t miss Virginia Tourism’s Fall Foliage Report and this new blog from the Dept of Forestry. For more information on the explanation of color change and the climate advisory, check out UVA’s climatology office website.

***Take some good photos? Send your Fall Color Shots to

Image of the Blue Ridge Parkway (top right) via Localkicks; Image of a scenic fall view via

Fall 2008 Issue of The Piedmont Virginian Hits Newsstands

Check out the latest issue of The Piedmont Virginian on newsstands this week. Special features include the annual vineyard guide, the “Hunt Breakfast,” and “The Courage of Farmers” about the Piedmont’s century farms.  You can find the magazine at fine retailers throughout the region, including the Virginia Shop in Charlottesville and Alexandria, Epicurious Cow in Rappahannock County, Oatlands Plantation Gift Shop in Leesburg, and Renee’s Gourmet to Go in Warrenton. For a full list, click here.

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