2012 Road Trip Catch-Up: Poplar Forest and Home

Poplar Forest, Rear View

Friday, 27 July 2012

After a fancy breakfast at the B&B (omelets, fruit and coffee served from a silver service), we get the heck out of Appomattox. A sleepy town? No, more like a dying one. We make a detour to stop at Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s retreat and wow, am I glad we did. The location is beautiful, up on a hill, surrounded by trees.

Approaching Poplar ForestWe take a fascinating guided tour, learning the history of the house (designed by Jefferson and thought to be the epitome of his design talents) and getting a glimpse of the in-progress restoration. The octagonal house is filled with natural light, comfortably-sized rooms are centered around a tall central dining room with a skylight above. There’s a sunken garden in the back and the house is centered between two small man-made hills, covered with willow and poplar trees, which provide symmetry, connected to the structure by two rows of paper myrtle trees on either side.

We spend a couple of hours at Poplar Forest before getting back in the car for the eight hour drive back to Georgetown, KY. We squeeze in an hour’s drive on the beautiful, twisting, turning Blue Ridge Highway. I can imagine how gorgeous it must be in the fall.
Poplar Forest Grounds

The drive back is quick and fun, up until the very last hour when we run directly into a wicked thunderstorm with pounding rain and frightening bolts of lightening scratching horizontally across the sky. Near-zero visibility at times makes for white-knuckle driving.

We finally arrive as the third wave of the storm passes over and we drag our stuff into the house in between cloud bursts. I collapse on the couch with a well-earned beer. Over a dinner of take-out and laughter, we recall our Virginia adventures.

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