Two young 50-something females. One big adventure exploring the Americas. Have liquidated everything they own and packed a Saturn Vue with bare necessities to set out on this journey. Planting seeds at each juncture symbolizing their new growth. With an open mind and heart, ready to get a true view of this world.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Winchester's Gem in the Shenandoah Valley

High winds have descended upon the valley this morning, but plenty of sunshine, so we alter our mountain hiking plans and settle on a museum trip. Just north of us is the quaint historical town of Winchester, which houses the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, on the property, the Glen Burnie Historical House and Gardens is offered as a tour option. Only a 30-minute drive will yield a good half day of culture on this chilly start of our day.

It is an easy commute to our destination and we arrive not long after the museum opens. We find the changing gallery to be hosting a Vernacular Chairs of the Shenandoah Valley exhibit, which brings my brilliant sister, furniture conservator extraordinaire, back to my mind and know I'll be checking in with her at some point during our visit. The little musuem is privately owned and the docents here are all very proud of their jewel in the valley.

Orientation is provided by one of these docents who introduces us to a little film on the history and culture of the area, a true welcome. From this introduction, we head over to our house tour, a private tour as it turns out, and take in yet another film on the man responsible for providing this town with such a beautiful gift. David Glass, Jr. restored the abandoned family home to its proper glory and furnished the museum with his bountiful collection of paintings and decorative arts. Both the home and museum display these items beautifully. The docents have reason to be proud.

After the house tour, we are set free to roam the gardens, which are quite lovely, but as we've found elsewhere in Virginia, are still just a bit shy of true spring bloom. We can only imagine how gorgeous the grounds will become in the next month. A tour of the galleries back at the museum take us through several rooms of art, furniture, the chairs, and a hands-on laboratory of the history and culture of the valley. We enjoy it all.

The tea room is welcoming at the end of our visit, where we sit looking out over the grounds and indulging in a satisfying lunch of tea, of course, and quiche and spanikopita. Both very good and an accompanying orzo salad on both dishes makes it complete. We linger and enjoy our time here sipping tea and reflecting on our day so far. A final stop in the museum gift shop has us purchasing some homemade apple butter and orange blossom and honey hand lotion, both terribly needed items! We encountered more friendly faces in both of these arenas of the museum, finding everyone loves this place!

Our unplanned detour today has proven to be a very nice alternative indeed. After all, those Shenandoah mountains will be waiting for us still tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. So jealous you got to see the Vernacular Chairs exhibit. MSV is truly a gem; I've only been once, but hope to go again - maybe to see the chairs! Signed: BS (Brilliant Sister), FCE.