Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tappahannock Tuesday

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, knitting and knit-blogging have enriched my life. Yesterday was a perfect example.

But before I jump into details of yesterday, I'd like to review a little history, if you'll bear with me, to reinforce the point made in that first sentence.

Soon after I learned how to knit I started this knitting blog to keep track of my progress. As with most knit-bloggers, I'm also inspired by reading other knitting blogs. This past January I stumbled upon the blog of a local knitter (hi Jane!) who had started a knitting group that conveniently met on my side of town. A month or two later, I started actively attending that group and have made many new knitting friends. (Hi TNKers!) Jane also turned me on to a few other Virginia knit-bloggers, one of whom is Queen Bess. I started reading and enjoying Bess' blog regularly, and we began exchanging emails and found out we had lots in common, including that we'd both attended the same high school, (although not at the same time). One discussion led to another, and in April, Bess came to Richmond to give me my very first drop spindle lesson.

Fast-forward to June when Bess blogged about wishing for a digital camera. A lightbulb turned on in my head, as I'd been wondering for awhile what I'd do with my old digi-cam once I upgraded to one with a functional zoom. Jump to October when I finally get around to actually purchasing the new camera. The old camera then became immediately available for adoption, and the hand-off occurred at the Fall Fiber Festival. But I also promised to give Bess an in-person digi-cam tutorial, which we scheduled for yesterday, when I met her at her place of work, (where resides her faster computer).

Thus ends my personal history lesson, and begins the tale of yesterday's fun.

It amazes me that I've lived in Virginia for most of my life, and there are still towns I've never heard of and places I've never been. I'd definitely heard of Tappahannock, but had never been there, and never realized what I'd been missing, until yesterday.

From my house, the little town of Tappahannock is exactly an hour's drive. Just get on 360-East and keep going:

stopping just before you cross the bridge over the Rappahannock river:

Once you get outside the Richmond area, past the Mechanicsville sprawl, it's really a lovely, peaceful drive. At 10:30am, after the morning rush has waned, there were stretches of road where I was the only car in either direction. What I love about living in Richmond is that, within fifteen minutes of the state capital's metro area, you stumble upon scenes like this:

I found out later that one of Bess' relatives (her cousin's husband's brother's wife's uncle?) grew up on Prestley Farm. Bess -- feel free to indicate the correct connection in the comments!

I arrived at Bess' shiny-new library building by late morning, and we spent a nice hour or so in her office for the brief camera tutorial, (she really didn't need it -- she's a smart cookie and had figured it all out already), and then she showed me the fantastic progess she's made on what she calls her "KipFee" sweater. She even showed me how she knits it continental-style, carrying both colors over her left index finger and just picks the desired yarn for a particular stitch. I had every intention of taking pictures and perhaps even a little movie of her knitting style, but we were having too much fun chatting and I never stopped to turn on my camera. Then she showed me the fantastic contents of her library's knitting video and book collection, (it's good to be Queen, apparently!), and I was amazed that there are knitting designs from the 1980's that are still quite beautiful. I would not have believed it, had I not seen the books myself! (Bess - I hope you'll highlight those books on your blog someday -- I think they deserve their time in the spotlight!)

After our fun in the library, we had a delicious lunch at a neat former hardware store across the river in Warsaw:

On our way, we stopped for gas and I had to chuckle at the sign in the gas station's window:

After lunch, Bess gave me the grand tour of Tappahannock, where she showed me things like:

wonderful old homes

gorgeous river views

beautiful stained glass window at an old movie theater

The Essex Inn - wonderful B&B near the rivah

17th (?) century Baptist Meeting House that's now a dry cleaners

old Customs House

After the grand tour given by the world's greatest tour guide, (no one can tell a good story like Bess can), we stopped on impulse at a neat little gift shop which held such girly treasures as:

peacock feather purse

peacock tea service

peacock feather mask
(can you tell I like peacocks?)

snazzy spider hat

beautiful necklace
(it wasn't too hard to talk her into buying it!)

All in all, a lovely day in a lovely town with a lovely person. I now understand more fully Bess' penchant for waxing eloquant about her small town. Tappahannock would make a wonderful weekend trip, perhaps staying at a B&B, taking a boat trip up-river to a winery, and antique-ing at the half-dozen or more antique shops in the area.

Thanks, Queen Bess, for a great day!


Robin said...

Sounds like you had a GREAT time! I've been to Tappahannock but have never had the "Official" BIL lives a little south on just off US17.
Hey...I might be in your neck of the woods next Fri (11/3)! And going to the Oyster Festival!

Robin said...

OH...and I have taken the up-river trip to the winery...a MUST DO! Hey...maybe a bunch of knitters can plan a trip?!?

Krista said...

Looks like such fun Mary! I'll have to take a trip over there!

jane said...

What a great trip...thanks for the pictures and the tour! Jane

Bess said...

Wasn't that the best day?!?

And yes! I think a knitting trip to the winery on the Capt. Thomas would be a fabulous idea. In fact .....

I'll get on it right away. Might have to wait till spring, but let's see.

Oh - and it's my husband's cousin's wife's brother in law!! :D

IndigoMuse said...

Glad that you had a great time. I love that Virginia has so much beauty to offer. You should come to the mountains of SW VA. They're gorgeous this time of year.

I got a chuckle when you mentioned the "sprawl" of Mechanicsville. When we lived there 14 years ago, it was fairly boring and barren. Its amazing how quickly things change.