Monday, November 2, 2015

Stonewalling for Halloween

Halloween weekend could hardly have been more perfect for Kimberly and me, as we returned to one of our favorite haunts in the world — the View Cabin at the Stonewall Inn, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, VA. Stonewall was our first getaway together, back in the very early days of our relationship, and we also spent New Year's 2012 there. For us, it's a place of pure magic: rustic, secluded, intimate, comfortable. No place could be better suited for us to celebrate our favorite time of year.
At "A Nice Place for Eternity" (GC248QW)

We even managed to start out on an ideal note, with one of the geocaches along our way taking us to a very old, scenic family graveyard out in Stokes County, NC. Here, while I sought the cache, Ms. B. made sandwiches for our lunch on the road. Cache log signed and lunch in hand, we continued on our trip into the mountains of Virginia. Upon arriving at the Blue Ridge Parkway, our first stop was Villa Appalaccia Winery, another of our favorite places for liquid refreshment, now blanketed with colorful leaves that the moaning breeze was plucking and tossing down from the trees with considerable enthusiasm. For my money, Villa Appalaccia's Aglianico is their standout red wine, and their Cabernet Franc comes in a close second.

Then it was on to Stonewall, which is owned by Scott and Sally Truslow, both hosts par excellence. Shortly after checking in, we were ensconced in the View Cabin, about a quarter mile up in the woods. When I say it's rustic, I do not exaggerate. There is electricity, but no running water. It's a single room with a bed, a wood stove, a TV with DVD player, a porch swing, and an outhouse for taking care of personal business. Now, down at the main house, there are two dogs and three cats, which make one feel very welcome and also help take the edge off missing our own critters during our stay. It's a step above tent camping, to be sure, but for the most part, it's pretty primitive. And I just can't imagine a better place to be than out there in the woods on Halloween night.
Heating up by the campfire
For dinner that night, we journeyed forth to Chateau Morrisette, about ten or twelve miles down the Parkway. Generally, it's another of our favorite dinner venues, and while we enjoyed it, there was a good-size crowd, and the staff didn't seem quite up to the task of managing it. Our dinner was a bit more than leisurely — Kimberly and I both had their specialty pasta, hers with chicken, mine with shrimp — but at the end of the day, to us, the lengthy wait proved inconsequential. Our server was great, the wine was superb (their Archival I red blend), and we didn't exactly have a deadline to meet. So we just enjoyed ourselves for the duration; returned to the cabin rather late in the evening; and, to honor personal tradition, settled into the porch swing with a bit more wine to commune with the Halloween spirits.
Ms. B. and a wee sapling we discovered in Floyd

Yesterday, we decided to visit the little town of Floyd, a few miles to the west. Back in the days when I attended Ferrum College, not too far away, I had a good many adventures in Floyd County, few of which I could relate with a clear conscience to the world at large. I've passed through the one-stoplight town many times over the years, but to the best of my recollection, never actually stopped there. Since there were four geocaches in town awaiting my attention, it was only proper to go on a little walking tour of the community. For the most part, I was quite taken with its character and some of the novel Halloween decorations about the place. Once I had found all four caches and signed their attendant log sheets, I followed Ms. B. into downtown Floyd's antique shop, which was enjoyable enough, especially since there were a few fun Halloween-themed items to be seen on display (note the photo below). Then we had a fairly late lunch at a rather artsy little place called Oddfella's Cantina, where the barbecue sandwiches we had equaled or exceeded in quality just about any we've found in North Carolina. The fries were pretty damn good as well.

Upon our return to the cabin, I spent some time on the front porch making a racket with the ol' guitarbox, getting my fingers and vocal organs geared up for Geowoodstack III, coming up Saturday next at the domicile of one Tom "Night-hawk" Kidd, where I anticipate horrifying the individuals in attendance with several less-than-uplifting musical numbers.
The office

Dinner last night was hot dogs and s'mores — hardly as elegant as the fare at Chateau Morrisette, but every bit as satisfying. And it just wouldn't do to spend another night in the cabin without a scary movie or two, so we put on Willow Creek, which I had seen a month or so again, but Kimberly had not. Say what you will about the movie itself, but it was apt entertainment for our dark, secluded little spot in the woods. We followed this with a few episodes of The Walking Dead. And there might have been a tad more wine in the bargain.

This morning, sadly, we had to take our leave of the place, after a weekend that zipped by so fast it really ought to get a citation for speeding. For me, there was scarcely a moment during which I wasn't feeling at least a smidgen of ecstasy, and while I shan't carry on about the many stressors that have recently seemed bent on doing me in, I can safely say that this particular getaway at this particular time may have extended my life expectancy by at least as many days as we were there — hopefully more.

And may there be far fewer years between this and our next visit to Stonewall than there were since our last.

Click on images to enlarge.
Villa Appalaccia Winery, viewed from our favorite spot in the courtyard
The author and his horny girlfriend, who drinks
Say hello to my little friend — a happy fellow we discovered in Floyd
A random corner of the antique shop we visited
Out in front of the Green Man Inn, Floyd, VA
A view of our front yard on this dreary morning, just before leaving


James Robert Smith said...

Holy crap, that's a big tree! Where is it in Floyd?

Stephen Mark Rainey said...

If I'm remembering right, it was back behind the Blue Ridge Restaurant, on the south side of US 221 (Main St), just east of the intersection at Rt 8.