We live near the Smith River in SW Virginia. It’s a beautiful river, famous for trout fishing, kayaking and other recreational pursuits. When I pass along the river, or above on a highway bridge in this case, I like to look for interesting views. Here are three to hopefully make you wish you could dip your feet in the cold water, during these hot summer days.
Oh how nice it might be, to go back in time to shop in stores where just about everything was hand/machine made and locally grown in America. Not that foreign made goods and produce are not acceptable today, they certainly are, overall. My point is that life seemed much simpler early in the 20th Century. Choices were much more limited than they are today, and people interacted with store owners and employees more than they do today, such as standing in line at a chain grocery store check out, with automated scanners and payment terminals. I share with you some recent photos I made at two General Stores in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Enjoy.
The Lantana plants in our back yard are really beginning to look nice this summer, and there’s more to come. Not only do I like their colorful flowers, but so do migrating Butterflies passing through SW Virginia at this time of year. I was headed to the mailbox to retrieve the daily batch of unsolicited political letters from candidates we don’t support, assorted advertisements, bills and other junk, when I saw this lone Butterfly feasting on our flowers. I went back inside the house, grabbed my camera with telephoto lens, and captured some nice images which you see here. Like I always say, photos are waiting for you, if you’ll just look.
Mount Airy, North Carolina is a very scenic town of around 10,000 citizens, located a bit north of Winston-Salem, and it’s become famous because of a popular iconic 1960’s television show, still being enjoyed in syndication by millions today. The Andy Griffith Show took place in the fictional town of Mayberry, and its star was born in Mount Airy. It is believed that the town formed the basis for Mayberry, and when one visits today, many stores are named for fictional businesses featured in the TV show. Tourists flock to the town and many purchase “Mayberry” memorabilia. It’s a great place to take a camera, as I did recently. I like going there, and being it’s just about an hour away from home, I try to do that often.
Sadly, in my opinion, we no longer receive advertising sales pitches out-of-doors, on signs mounted or painted on billboards, structures and whatnot. I remember as a kid looking for such signs as we traveled in our old Ford Coupe along two-lane roads, slowly making our way to whatever destination it was. For a kid, told to “be quiet” in the back seat, this was great entertainment, especially when we found some sign that had humor in it. I miss those days, but I have to admit that my iPhone does a pretty good job keeping me entertained while traveling in our car today, so long as I’m not the driver. Enjoy some signs from our past.
As I travel short distances in the Blue Ridge Mountains I am impressed by the amount of labor early settlers had to exert to make homes, farm buildings and fencing to keep valued livestock contained. Hand labor using axes and saws after felling tree after tree resulted in fairly complex designs, all seeming to make the best use of what they had. Here are some examples I saw recently along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
Starting with this old “stone” church in the Blue Ridge Mountains, there remain today an almost endless number of historical structures and objects, which are often referred to by photographers as views of “Americana.” Perhaps the modern roof on the church makes it less “historical” but the amount of loving labor it once took to haul and place thousands of mountain rocks together to make the walls and framed windows is impressive.
Looking at some more from our past, it seems as if old wooden barrels will never be replaced with metal or plastic. Thankfully, since I love the rustic nature of the wooden containers, holding fresh tomatoes or flowers.
And then there are many old wagon wheels just waiting for my camera.
And lastly, many “general stores” still operating today sell all sorts of fresh and homemade mountain goodies, with tables waiting to be used by visitors, especially during harvest time.
This year we’re having so many colorful flowers blooming at once, seemingly wherever I go, I have to work hard to keep up with them. Here are some examples I made recently while visiting a farmer’s market in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. These are all ornamental and not for sale. All except the small bird figures in the last image that is. I thought they would make a nice composition and they were indeed for sale.