Category Archives: Land of Beauty

Don’t Miss this Event!



The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Tenth Anniversary Annual Conference is scheduled to take place May 19-20 at The Old School in the historic village of Waterford, VA.  This year’s conference location is fitting since the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is headquartered there.  This year marks not only the tenth anniversary of the organization but we will soon be approaching the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and Waterford was one of the first towns listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stephanie

Stephanie Meeks

Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will serve as a keynote speaker, which is especially poignant as the National Trust placed this region on America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list that first alerted the nation to the threats to our communities almost 10 years ago to the day.

Under Meeks’ leadership, the National Trust has developed an ambitious strategic plan designed to refocus direct action on saving imperiled places, engaging new audiences in preservation, and increasing the organization’s impact by a factor of ten.

 

Nora

Nora Pouillon

Organic food pioneer Nora Pouillon will also serve as a plenary speaker during the conference.  Pouillon moved to the United States in the late 1960s and in 1979 opened Restaurant Nora, which became the first certified organic restaurant in the country in 1999. Her new memoir, My Organic Life, is the story of an unheralded culinary pioneer who made it her mission to bring delicious, wholesome foods to the American table.

As much the story of America’s postwar culinary history as it is a memoir, My Organic Life encompasses the birth of the farm-to-table movement, the proliferation of greenmarkets across the country, and the evolution of the chef into social advocate. Spanning the last forty years of our relationship with food, My Organic Life is the deeply personal, powerfully felt story of the organic revolution—by the unlikely heroine at its forefront.

 

Erin Francis-Cummings, President of Destination Analysts, will share the results of a new regional tourism market research study.  Workshops will also highlight the upcoming Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service in 2016 and cover various topics, including: engaging youth/students in our collective national history, economic trends in heritage tourism, grant writing, African-American and other minority heritage, and more.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

A Virginia Viticulture Field Session Tour will take participants to several wineries in the area and a networking reception will occur at Catoctin Creek 
Distilling Company in Purcellville.  Guided walking tours showcasing the history of the quaint Quaker Waterford village along with a special awards luncheon where the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership will recognize the Cornelia Keller Champion of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Corporate Partner of the Year, and Certified Tourism Ambassador Star Award winner.

catoctin-creek-distillery

The conference is geared towards a variety of individuals, including economic development and tourism professionals, urban professional planners, attraction and museum staff, elected officials, historians, National Park Service employees, educators, Certified Tourism Ambassadors, and other engaged citizens.

Certification maintenance credits offered through the American Institute of Certified Planners are available for eligible and interested attendees.

Conference sponsors include the Waterford Foundation, Virginia News Group, and Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company.  To register, or for more information, visit http://www.jthgannualconference.org.

The Fruits of Our Labor



I’m a proud mom of a three year old son and an infant daughter. I’m also a proud third-generation member and owner of my family’s 500-acre fruit and vegetable farm, Hollabaugh Bros., Inc., located in upper Adams county in south-central Pennsylvania. The sheer nature of being a part of a family business intermingles my two worlds on an ongoing basis. But in the fall, my two pride and joy worlds really collide. I try my hardest to keep my head above water with the mountains of work at the farm while making time for every possible precious moment I can spend with my son, as the rapidity with which he is growing, learning, and changing hasn’t yet ceased to amaze me.

apples 1Interestingly, and not altogether surprisingly, these worlds often collide by way of apples. We go for a walk in the orchard, picking apples off the tree left behind by our pickers. We cook applesauce, peeling, chopping, and stirring the apples to make the perfect blend. We share a fresh-sliced apple at the dinner table. If living on an apple farm weren’t enough reason to cause these worlds to collide, the nature of the industry in this area certainly would be.

Pennsylvania, and specifically the south-mountain region of the state, is the 4th largest apple producer in the United States. Agriculture is one of the two largest industries in Adams County, where our farm is located, along with tourism.

In the fall, it’s hard to drive through our neck of the woods without seeing the apple industry at work: from apples being harvested off of trees by quick-moving hands, tractors moving bins in and out of the orchards, trucks transporting apples from field to factory, or tractor trailers hitting the highways, filled to the brim with fresh or processed apples to fill grocery store shelves.

apples 2In the fast-paced world in which we all live, it’s become far too easy to take it all for granted. To assume that the apples will always just magically appear on the grocery store shelves, or that the applesauce will just cook and package itself.

But to our great fortune, another collision has helped us all to take a step back to appreciate our dynamic industry. It’s called Agri-tourism.

A few short generations ago, it seemed that everyone was connected to a farm in some not-too-distant way. Today, farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the US population. And we see evidence of that disconnect in our farm market every day. Brussels sprouts harvested on the stalk are purchased not for the nutritional value, but for the sheer novelty of how they’re grown.

Agri-tourism allows us to reconnect the farm to the consumer. We do it in a number of ways on our farm: farm tours, pick-your-own fruits, walking tours, CSA memberships, children’s events, and festivals. And others are doing it, too. The Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail offers dozens of farm markets, wineries, and breweries in the south-mountain region that folks can visit to experience a taste of agriculture. A local corn maze provides on-farm entertainment not unlike what you’d get at an amusement park, except with grass and corn instead of paved walkways and roller-coasters.

apples 3

And so, instead of sitting at my desk until dark, doing the work that never seems to stop piling up, I leave the office. I hold my son’s hand (I know all too well that in not too many years, it won’t be cool to hold my hand anymore), and we head out for a walk in the orchard, crunching on apples and marveling at the beauty of the season together. I highly recommend you do the same.

Photos courtesy of the Adams County Fruit Growers Association.

Note: Mark your calendar for the 60th Annual Apple Blossom Festival May 2-3 in Adams County, PA. The festival is located at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in the heart of Apple Country, USA, and is hosted by the Adams County Fruit Growers Association. For more information, visit http://www.appleblossomfestival.info

 

Canal Quarters Lockhouse Allow Visitors to Spend the Night in History



Tucked along the C&O Canal are over twenty stone structures that pay testament to the canal era, when boat horns would sound and lock keepers would scamper from the beds to open the locks. Today, visitors are invited to stay in the lockhouses and experience the life of a lock keeper – although with no boats to lock through, guests can enjoy their days hiking or biking, and their nights by a campfire.

Lockhouse 6 is perched along Lock 6 in Brookmont, MD, at mile marker 5.4

Lockhouse 6 is perched along Lock 6 in Brookmont, MD, at mile marker 5.4

The Canal Quarters program, a partnership between the C&O Canal Trust and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, is an innovative, award-winning program that restored six lockhouses within the Park to provide overnight interpretive experiences for guests. Each has been furnished to depict and interpret a different time period from the 1830s to the 1950s, and a stay in all six lockhouses will allow visitors to trace the history of the Canal in an interactive way.

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Lockhouse 10, in Cabin John, MD, features a screened-in porch and is nestled in the trees above the canal and towpath.

Lockhouse 22 near Potomac reflects the 1830s-40s and tells of the engineering marvels that created the canal, locks, and aqueducts, while Lockhouse 28 at Point of Rocks relives the 1830s race to the west between the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad. Lockhouse 25 is nestled in the sleepy town of Edwards Ferry and interprets the movements of Union and Confederate troops across the Potomac River during the Civil War. All three of these lockhouses are “rustic” – with no electricity or running water, guests really have an authentic experience of stepping back in time and living without the amenities we are so accustomed to today.

The upper floor of Lockhouse 25 in Poolesville, MD showcases period beds and reproduction trundles.

Lockhouse 49 is located near Clear Spring and tells the story of the families and merchants who lived in the Four Locks community during the Canal’s heyday in the 1920s. This lockhouse offers electricity. Cabin John’s Lockhouse 10 houses antiques from the Civilian Conservation Corps, when men in that 1930s program lived in nearby camps and worked to preserve the canal, and Lockhouse 6 relates Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas’s 184.5 mile hike of the entire canal in order to help preserve it in the 1950s. The two most modern lockhouses do feature electricity and running water. Of particular note are the antique stove and refrigerator from the 1930s in Lockhouse 10.

The 1930s Westinghouse stove and ice chest are the highlights of Lockhouse 10’s kitchen.

The 1930s Westinghouse stove and ice chest are the highlights of Lockhouse 10’s kitchen.

No matter which lockhouse visitors choose, their guest book comments tell of their wonderful adventures. Frequent are stories from children who start out their entry saying how much they were dreading being away from technology all weekend, and end with joyous accounts of hikes in the woods, the discovery of frogs, the family games of dominos and Lincoln Logs, and the enchantment of living in the forest, away from it all. Each lockhouse can sleep up to eight people, and all have been the site of numerous birthday and anniversary parties, holiday celebrations, family reunions – and even a few weddings!

A group of volunteers called our Quartermasters are an integral part of the program – they are the caretakers of the lockhouses, helping guests and doing maintenance as needed. It costs between $100-$150 a night to reserve a lockhouse, depending on which one you select. All proceeds from the program go right back into the continued preservation and maintenance of the lockhouses.

You can reserve your lockhouse stay by visiting the C&O Canal Trust’s website at www.canaltrust.org.

Explore Women’s History Month in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground



As Women’s History Month is celebrated each March, one region in the country is highlighting the significant contributions women have made throughout the nation’s history and encouraging individuals to visit specific sites to learn more.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, known as the region Where America Happened™, contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential sites, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of sites that chronicle important contributions women have made throughout history.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey™.

Photo by Destination Gettysburg

Statue of Elizabeth Thorn. Photo by Destination Gettysburg

While most envision men and boys marching the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA, many of the town’s heroes are actually women. After the epic battle in 1863, women were often the only ones to tend to the wounded and take charge in cleaning up the town. One such woman is Elizabeth Thorn. Her husband Peter was the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, and was off fighting in another part of the country. At the urging of the community, Elizabeth who was six months pregnant and the mother of three children, dug over one hundred graves in the rocky soil in the extreme July heat.  Today, a statue of Elizabeth Thorn stands outside the cemetery gatehouse as part of the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial.  For more information, visit www.gettysburg.travel.

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD.  This site promotes the life and legacy of the Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first native-born saint from the United States.  Seton, who lived, worked, died, and is now buried here, founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.  Her enduring legacy now includes hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout the world.  She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975 in St. Peter’s Square.  Check out www.setonheritage.org for additional details.

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Near Sharpsburg, Maryland, a monument stands at Antietam National Battlefield to Clara Barton, one of the most honored women in American History.  Known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” Barton brought supplies and nursing aid to the wounded at several Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry, and others.  She later founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov/anti.

First Ladies also left their mark within the region.  Jackie Kennedy’s style and grace epitomized Loudoun County’s horse country and its capital, Middleburg.  In the early 1960s, the Kennedy’s used Middleburg as an escape from Washington by leasing, and then building, their own country retreat.  In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments the First Lady patronized, and the town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to Jackie.  For more great places to visit in the area, check out www.visitloudoun.org.

Edna Lewis, born in Freetown, Virginia, inspired a generation of young African American chefs and ensured traditional Southern foods and preparations would live forever.  Before her culinary journey began, Lewis found work as a seamstress and copied Christian Dior dresses for Dorcas Avedon.  She made a dress for Marilyn Monroe and became well known for her African-inspired dresses.  Eventually, Lewis opened up Café Nicholson, a restaurant located in Manhattan’s East Side. She became a local legend and cooked for many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote.  Known for her simple, but delicious Southern cooking, Lewis authored three seminal cookbooks and is lauded as one of the great women of American cooking. A new food festival, created in 2012, recognizes the culinary contributions the Orange County native has made.  Details can be found at www.ediblefest.com.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

And finally, visitors should also make a point to stop at Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia.  This home of President James Monroe, and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, served as the official residence of the former first family from 1799 to 1823.  Here, they regularly welcomed friends, neighbors, dignitaries, and other visitors with warm hospitality.  To learn more, visit www.ashlawnhighland.org.

There are many other historic sites pertaining to notable women within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org or by calling 540-882-4929.

ADDENDUM:  For a wonderful and in-depth story about Elizabeth Thorn, check out Kate Kelly’s piece at http://americacomesalive.com/2014/03/12/elizabeth-thorn-1832-1907-six-months-pregnant-burying-dead-gettysburg/#.VQc7ZDmD5bw

Experiencing Presidents’ Day In The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area



For some residents, Presidents’ Day is a recognized federal holiday, a day off of school or work. I can recall honoring the actual birthdays of President George Washington (Feb. 22) and President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12). But the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 moved the holiday to the third Monday in February and is intended to celebrate all those that have served as our nation’s top leader. Whether you have the day off or not, this is a great opportunity to connect with our shared American heritage. Right here in our region, there is a rich collection of presidential history. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a 180-mile swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, is known as the region Where America Happened™. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

Of course there are the traditional places where Washington slept, but many other presidents visited or lived within this historic region. For example, Gettysburg, PA, primarily known for the battle that took place there in 1863, is also home to the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The former home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much-needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/eise.

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Nearby, tucked away in the Catoctin Mountain region of Maryland sits the presidential retreat known as Camp David. Essentially, every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has traversed to this retreat site while they were in office. Although it is closed off to visitors, individuals can visit Catoctin Mountain Park, where there is some interpretation of Shangri-La and its predecessor available at the Visitors Center. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/cato/index.htm.

Traveling down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should also stop in Middleburg, Virginia. Considered the capital of Loudoun County’s horse country, President John F. and Mrs. Jackie Kennedy leased and then purchased a place in the quaint town as their own country retreat. In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments visited by the first family. The town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to her. A great website to check out is www.howardallenphotos.com.

Montpelier, located near Orange, VA, was the lifelong home of James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” and fourth President of the United States. The mansion core was built by Madison’s father circa 1760. The house has been newly restored to the way it looked when James and Dolley Madison returned from Washington in 1817, following Madison’s two terms as President. The 2,650-acre estate features the Madison mansion, 135 historic buildings, a steeplechase course, gardens, forests, the Gilmore Cabin, a farm, two galleries and an Education Center with permanent and changing exhibits, many archaeological sites and an Archaeology Laboratory. Information can be found at www.montpelier.org.

In Charlottesville sits Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States and noted architect and inventor. Jefferson began construction on his “little mountain” home in 1769 and, after remodeling and enlarging the house, finally finished 40 years later in 1809. For more information, visit www.monticello.org.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Jefferson’s friend and neighbor James Monroe owned Ash Lawn-Highland, along with his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1793 to 1826 and their official residence from 1799 to 1823. Ash Lawn-Highland is an historic house museum and 535-acre working farm of the former U.S. President and Revolutionary War veteran. Check out www.ashlawnhighland.org for more details.

Also in the area is Pine Knott, the country retreat of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt and their children from 1905 to 1908 during his term as President. This rural retreat from the “city environment” of Washington, D.C. provided a sanctuary for the Roosevelt family where they could hike, observe birds and wildlife, hunt, ride and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The building had no plumbing, toilet, heat, or electricity or other facilities for the family, with a minimum of rustic comfortable furniture. For more information, check out http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/modern/pineknot.htm.

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

In addition to the sites listed above, several other presidents visited towns and locations throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. For example, President Lincoln’s footsteps can be traced to several locations. After the Battle of Antietam, he visited the site to meet with Union generals as well as wounded soldiers. During that trip, he stopped in other places such as Harpers Ferry, WV and Frederick, MD, where he gave remarks to citizens gathered on the street. And a year later, he gave a short address in Gettysburg that would is recited today by many around the world. Travelers interested in getting the presidential experience will find maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org.

A Historic Moment for the National Park Service



On April 9, 1933, newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to take a day trip to Shenandoah National Park to inspect a fishing lodge on the Rapidan River that had been donated to the park by his predecessor, President Herbert Hoover, to see if he wanted to use the building as his retreat.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

FDR invited Horace Albright, the director of the National Park Service, to ride along, and on the return trip, Albright took the opportunity to describe the Civil War battles at Manassas on the land where the fighting had taken place.  The land was in private ownership at the time, and as the story went, they stopped at Stone House, located at the intersection of Routes 211 and 234.  Albright made the pitch to have battlefields administered by the War Department, as well as a number of other historic sites administered by the Department of Agriculture and other agencies, transferred to the National Park Service.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

When they returned to Washington, FDR asked Albright to put his money where his mouth was and to prepare a proposal along the lines of what he had suggested at Stone House.  Albright made his proposal, and within days, the president issued two executive orders transferring more than 20 military parks, historic battlefields, and monuments to the Park Service, as well as more than a dozen non-military historic sites. Among them were the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore and of the District of Columbia’s most hallowed places, including the Lincoln Memorial, the other monuments on the National Mall, and Rock Creek Park.  In all, over 50 parks, monuments, and historic sites came under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Today, many of the centerpieces in the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground,” administered by the National Park Service, as a result of these executive orders, have created a wonderful partnership that has and will continue to benefit all Americans.

Wine Tourism Conference Comes to Loudoun



Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago and now, wine industry leaders get to share their storied past and current success with wine tourism professionals from around the world.

Located in the heart of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Loudoun County will welcome hundreds of wine tourism officials from across the world in November as it hosts the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference.

Boxwood Winery 3 Secured by Visit Loudoun, the conference will make its East Coast debut at Lansdowne Resort in DC’s Wine Country Nov. 18-20. Previous conferences have been held on the West Coast in premier wine destinations like Napa, Sonoma, CA and Portland, OR.

The Wine Tourism Conference is organized by Zephyr Adventures and is expected to attract wine tourism professionals from across the world. Open to winery owners, journalists, wine associations, wine destination marketing organizations and tour operators, the conference serves as a networking forum and provides extensive educational opportunities for this growing industry.

Visit Loudoun worked closely with Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office to bring this to the Commonwealth and this conference is just another milestone as the Virginia wine industry continues to thrive. Hosting the conference helps position Virginia as a must-visit wine destination and gives our winemakers a chance to showcase their award-winning wines to leaders in the wine industry.

Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago when the Jamestown settlers signed a law that required every male settler to plant and tend at least 10 grape vines. The settlers hoped that Virginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire. Later, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years, but his Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine.

In the 1820s, however, the wine industry began to thrive and in 1873 a Virginia Norton was named one of the best red wines in the nation at the Vienna World’s Fair. Unfortunately, the wine industry’s success was short lived as prohibition put a halt on production.

Sunset Hills 1-credit Sunset HillsWhile the industry took some time to bounce back following prohibition, today it is thriving. With 250 wineries across Virginia, the wine industry is not only driving tourism in the state, but providing jobs and preserving thousands of acres of farmland.

In Loudoun, the wine industry began in 1984 when Lew Parker of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards established the county’s first winery. Parker planted his first grapes in 1981 on the slopes of his farm, which, in the 1800s, was successfully planted with orchards. The soil and temperate climate in the area, which is just about 25 miles from the nation’s capital, proved fruitful for winemaking and soon others were transforming the farmland into rows of lush vineyards.

With more than 40 wineries, Loudoun is one of the premier wine regions along the East Coast and leading the way in Virginia. Loudoun’s vineyards are nestled between winding roads, rolling countryside, horse farms and historic estates. Our boutique wineries house tasting rooms in everything from rustic barns and winemaker’s homes to intimate cellars & architecturally stunning facilities.

Loudoun’s wine industry will continue to grow and visitors can constantly find new experiences and opportunities that range from tastings and tours to hands-on winemaking classes and seminars with winemakers.

BluemontviewWe invite you to explore our wine region while traveling through the Journey Through Hallowed Ground; take a moment to relax, sip and enjoy the stunning views in this national scenic byway.

For more information on Loudoun, visit www.visitloudoun.org

 

Celebrating 100 Years With Virginia’s Department of Forestry



When the colonists first arrived in Jamestown in 1607, Virginia was a land of vast forests.  And one of the first “products” shipped back to England was timber harvested from the land surrounding the settlement.  The Cherrybark Oak trees on Jamestown Island were excellent sources of lumber and wooden shingles that were desperately needed by the people of a growing city (London).  Over the course of the next 300 years, much of the forestland in Virginia was harvested to build homes in the “New World,” create sailing ships and to clear land for agricultural purposes.  Little, if any, replanting of trees was performed.

The Virginia Department of Forestry was created by Gov. Henry Stuart and the General Assembly in March of 1914.  Formed under the state Geologic Commission, the agency was charged with the suppression of wildfires and the reforestation of a nearly denuded Virginia – two core missions that still exist today.  Over the past 100 years, Virginia Department of Forestry employees have battled 150,000 wildfires that have burned more than 3 million acres of forestland, and they’ve grown and planted more than 2 billion trees.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Chapin Jones began work March 1, 1915 as the State Forester of Virginia.  He was not just the first employee at the new agency, he was the only employee.  He began his tenure by creating a series of informational posters designed to educate the citizenry on the dangers of wildfire and the importance of preventing them in the first place.  He expanded his duties the following year when he developed a tree nursery on land near the University of Virginia.  After “going it alone” for several years, he was able to hire a handful of people to help fight wildfires in the western portion of the state.  Over the next several decades, the VDOF grew slowly and steadily.  One nursery expanded to two, then to three, as the need for more tree seedlings grew.  The agency now has two nurseries – one in Sussex County that grows 27 million pine seedlings each year, and one in Augusta County that grows about 3 million hardwood seedlings annually.

While battling wildfires and reforestation work remain core functions, VDOF is also responsible for the quality of water through its efforts to ensure that timber harvest operations do not add sediment to streams, creeks and rivers.  The agency is also working hard to conserve forested landscapes and ensure working forests remain working forestlands.  Seven years ago, VDOF launched its Forestland Conservation Division.  In these few short years, the division has secured more than 100 conservation easements (legal agreements that forever protect the land from development while still being the property of the private owner of the land) that cover more than 30,000 acres of forestland.  VDOF also provides unbiased, scientifically-based forest management recommendations to ensure the 373,600 private forest landowners in Virginia meet their goals and objectives they have for their land.  The Virginia Department of Forestry oversees 24 State Forests that serve a number of purposes: timber resource, recreational opportunities (hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding), ecosystem services (clean air and water), and aesthetics.  The forests range in size from just over 100 acres to nearly 20,000 acres and are located in most areas of Virginia.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Department of Forestry, the agency has conducted a number of special events throughout the year.  These include partnering with the Virginia Lottery on a scratch-off game; working with the Virginia Department of Transportation to focus the content of the 2014-2016 state road map on the agency and its State Forests; an exhibit of VDOF firefighting vehicles at the Virginia Museum of Transportation; an exhibition of original paintings of Smokey Bear by artist Rudy Wendelin at The Chrysler Museum of Art; displays at four NASCAR race tracks, and participation in a number of parades and the State Fair of Virginia.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

As we near the end of the centennial year, the leaves are changing color and turning the vistas into sweeping palettes of scarlet, crimson and gold.  We encourage you to take a drive this month to enjoy this annual event.  There are ample opportunities to check out the beautiful fall foliage along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway.  You can learn more about peak periods and other information at www.dof.virginia.gov.  All of us at the Virginia Department of Forestry look forward to a second century of protecting and serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Celebrate National Apple Month With Us!



Fall’s crisp air and changing leaves evokes thoughts of steamy apple cider, warm, gooey apple dumplings and family frolics through orchards.  Luckily, for those of us living in and around Pennsylvania, there are countless opportunities to enjoy its orchards and apples. Even if you fancy apples in the fall, you may not realize Pennsylvania’s powerhouse status within the national and global apple industry. What better time to explore Pennsylvania and Eastern Apples than in October, which is celebrated as National Apple Month.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Pennsylvania is the fourth largest apple producing state in the nation—behind only Washington, Michigan and New York. The Pennsylvania apple crop typically yields between 10 and 11 million bushels annually, meaning the crop weighs in at more than 440 million pounds! As the state’s fourth largest commodity, apples are key to making agriculture Pennsylvania’s top industry. The state’s climate and topography, especially in the Fruit Belt of Adams County, provide the perfect growing conditions for more than 100 varieties of delicious apples. The rolling hills of Pennsylvania boast more than 20,000 acres of apple bearing land across all 67 of its counties. Each individual acre can produce an impressive 23,000 pounds of apples. Each and every one of those apples is carefully hand picked by a skilled workforce. Though apples are grown in every county, nearly 70% of Pennsylvania’s apples are grown in Adams County. Franklin, York and Bedford counties round out the top four apple producing counties in the state.

As home to Knouse Foods, one of the largest food processors in the country, it should come as no surprise that nearly 60% of Pennsylvania’s crop is used for processing into applesauce, juice, cider and more. Though only 30-35% of PA apples are used for the fresh market, 70% of the total national apple crop goes for fresh market and only 30% is used for processing. Some of those processing apples are now hitting the press with fermentation as their final destination. The time-honored craft of making hard cider is having a resurgence in Pennsylvania with close to 20 producers in the state, some of which are grower-producers, and many of whom are returning to traditional craft practices using cider apple varieties for a product with a sharper taste and dryer finish.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Cider apple varieties make up only a tiny portion of the portfolio of apples grown in Pennsylvania. With more than 100 delicious varietal options, it’s easy to find one pleasing to the palate. There are about 20 commercial varieties grown by most growers that are easy to find at your local grocer. Gala and Fuji are among the most popular varieties in PA, with Honeycrisp quickly edging out other tried-and-true favorites like Red Delicious. Pennsylvania’s harvest season begins in mid-August with early varieties like Ginger Gold, a mellow, great all-purpose apple and continues through to mid-November with the tangy Pink Lady being one of the last fresh varieties to be harvested. The heart of the harvest season is late September through mid-October when most commercial varieties are carefully plucked from the trees. Golden Delicious, Cameo, Jonagold, Cortland, McIntosh, Idared and Granny Smith represent only a handful of varieties that reach perfect ripeness during that harvest window. Be sure to explore varieties beyond the classic favorites. Farm stands and farmer markets grow and sell countless varieties with varying flavor profiles and textural differences to suit the most discerning apple fan. Newer varieties names like Zestar and Autumn Crisp may placard bushels while resting next to unfamiliar heirloom or vintage varieties like Smokehouse and Winter Banana.

Though Pennsylvania’s apple harvest occurs over the span of approximately twelve weeks, Pennsylvania and Eastern apples can be found and enjoyed nearly year round. Pennsylvania growers and shippers use some of the most advanced cold storage practices making it possible for you to enjoy fresh, crisp Pennsylvania and Eastern apples well into Spring and beyond. In some cases, certain varieties like Red and Golden Delicious can be found just about up until the next harvest begins. Apples can and should be enjoyed and worked into your favorites dishes year round.

To learn more about Pennsylvania and Eastern apples, where to find them, how to use them and more, visit: PennsylvaniaApples.org.

America’s Wine Country Enhances the Journey Through Hallowed Ground



Photo courtesy of Barrel Oak Winery

Photo courtesy of Barrel Oak Winery

Something new is vinting in Virginia’s wine country. It’s called “Virginia’s Piedmont: America’s Wine Country”. This regional assembly of 11 counties stretches from Warren, Fauquier and Loudoun in the north to Albemarle in the south. The thrill of the wine life is now merged with America’s hallowed ground.

The wine country of Virginia follows the same trajectory as its historic antecedents: the world is rediscovering Virginia as a land of intense beauty and intense vintages. The land of President Jefferson is also the land of Thomas Jefferson: world’s leading oenophile. The land of Justice John Marshall is the land of Justice Marshall: grand lover of Madera.

Photo courtesy of Barrel Oak Winery

 

Today, John Marshall’s estate is a winery.

Today, a winery sits at the battle site of Bull Run.

 

It may take years for the world to fully discover both the history and the great vintages of Virginia; but together, the Journey and America’s Wine Country promise the opportunity to bring Virginia back to the world stage as one of the great historic and wine regions of the world.

Photo courtesy of Barrel Oak Winery