Saturday, 2 July 2016

A Walk in Leesburg

Leesburg is just half an hour from here and we visit fairly often, but mostly to go to the Outlet Mall to shop.  

Today was only our second visit to the historic 'downtown' area of Leesburg - the first visit was during Maggie and Emma's visit two years ago when we went there on Independence  Day.

This illustrated booklet was the inspiration for today's visit.  It came from the 'free' box at the Bargain Loft and dated from the late 1970's, but the houses featured had not really changed, although many had become office buildings rather than homes, sadly.

We started our walk adjacent to the only log cabin house which is still standing in the town, at the Loudon County Museum.

There were some interesting artifacts on display.  The curator was dismissive of our walking tour booklet though, being out of date.   We found it useful anyway!

There is a tremendous variety of house styles in Leesburg - some dating from the original town in the mid-18th century and then representing every possible architectural style or renovation since then.

We did about half the tour before getting distracted by thrift stores and lunch..

Of which more another day...

Friday, 1 July 2016

Patriotic Cakes and Cookies

At the start of the long Independence Day holiday weekend, it is estimated that 43 million people in the US will take to the roads!  

This seems a huge number, even for a country of this size and also begs the question 'How do they know?'.

At the supermarket there is plenty to remind you of the significance of the weekend, in terms of cookies and cakes..

These are giant cookies (dinner plate size)..

These are rather more modest in size..

The doughnuts have obviously been popular..

The whole store was suitably decorated..

And finally, this doesn't really fit the theme but I liked it as a summer design..

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Historic Clifton

When we visited Burke Lake Park last weekend we saw a sign for 'Historic Clifton'.  Having passed that sign many times before we decided to explore further.

Clifton is a small town/large village which grew up around a railway station on the Chesapeake to Ohio line.  The line remains, through the centre, but there is no longer a station, just a vintage caboose to mark the spot.

The church and all the houses are well preserved and brightly painted.

This rather vibrant house dates from Clifton's heyday, when it was the largest settlement in Fairfax County.

This was the local vets and below, the fire station..

This is the Post Office..

Given the warmth of the day, the ice cream parlour was proving popular..

Many of the historic houses had signs with their history written for passers by to read.  Only problem I would think is that if you want to sit out on your porch on a fine day you have a steady stream of spectators. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

More Creatures Great & Small

Yesterday I noticed this little creature on the netting around the decking. 

It was only when I got close for a better look that I realised that she (green = she in Mantis world) was actually on the inside of the insect screen and not on the outside.

Here she has adopted the more familiar 'praying' stance.  

She was tiny, just a couple of inches long.  Much smaller than the green giants that we saw at Meadowlark Gardens last year.

This evening as we sat down to eat there was a cacophony of bird noise from one of the trees behind the house.  The little birds were 'buzzing' this large hawk who was sitting quietly in the tree and looking for his dinner in the grass below.

He is a Red-Shouldered Hawk, feeding mainly on small mammals and insects.  

The other 'local' raptors - the Coopers Hawk and the Sharp-Shinned Hawk hunt on the wing and are known to use bird feeding stations as a reliable source of food during the winter...

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

For just 50 cents..

What can you buy for half a dollar?  

Well, it depends where you shop..

For a modest 50 cents (plus 6% Virginia sales tax) I bought a lovely, colourful, bag of vintage buttons - from the Bargain Loft, of course.  They are mostly vintage plastic, some with a marbled effect, but there are also beautiful grey and also white/cream mother of pearl buttons.

At the other end of the retail scale, I visited the Container Store today for my second 50 cent purchase.  

This time a set of six useful 'wobble wedges'for $2.99 (hence 50 cents plus tax once again).

I have been mocked for my enthusiasm for these little wedges which I carry everywhere..  They are brilliant for wonky tables in restaurants and have many other uses too.

Just let me know if you need one, I'll pop it in the post.. (Also if you need any little buttons)!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Miniature Railroad

On our walk at Burke Lake Park yesterday we saw a miniature (one third scale) railroad which ran along one side of the lake.

We photographed the engine - a Central Pacific Huntington steam locomotive next to a water tower, which was initially a bit of a mystery.

There was a windmill over a well..

Which then seemed to pump water to the wooden tank ready to be used..

The mystery was in the fact that the engine did not appear to be steam driven.

So we found out a little more about the railway.  The original engine was steam driven from 1967 to 2005, which explains the water tower.  This photo from the Burke Lake website shows the train with a full load, we only saw it empty.

In 2005 the steam engine was retired and a petrol powered modern replica of the Central Pacific Huntington locomotive replaced it on the 1 3/4 mile track.

We didn't manage a ride on this visit, maybe next time!