Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blue Ridge Parkway continued

Part 2 Rocky Knob to James River
On day 2 we continued north, stopping for a few hikes and walks and for lunch in Roanoke. We eventually turned off the Blue Ridge at the James River as the day was waning and we wanted to make it to Charlottleville in daylight. We ended up taking a detour through Lynchburg.

 Rakes Millpond

Smartview Recreation area - we had a nice walk and met an amateur ornithologist and his dog Goldie

The road cuts over some deeper gorges

The well-known Appalachian Trail runs along the Blue Ridge....technically I have now hiked a section of the trail. It may be a very small section, but it still counts!

On to the Blue Ridge Parkway

After Chicago we flew south to North Carolina...go figure. Anyway we picked up a car in Charlotte and head north to the Blue Ridge Parkway - picking it up part way along, since it stretched from Tennessee to Virginia.

Part 1 Fancy Gap to Woodberry Inn and Rocky Knob

The road looks like this for a lot of the way - winding along the ridge through light forest and high meadows. Another road runs alongside it giving access to the private properties - it has fun names such as 'Squirrel Spur Rd' or Groundhog Mtn Rd'.

The views are very much like this - though trees to rolling farmland in the valleys

Mabry Mill is one of the highlights along the way - it still works and has a little area behind explaining the colonial farming past of this area.

The mill's waterwheel is boosted by use of two aqueducts

There was a wedding party with four Model A Fords in the parking lot when we got there. Later on in Charlottesville there was some kind of Model A rally with clubs from several states all over the region.

The accommodation at Woodberry Inn was quite scenic

And we were directed to a Cidery - yes Cider...(that's an orchard above). There were samplings and purchases, let me tell you!

The next morning we visited the Rocky Knob camping ground/recreation was quite crisp

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Farnsworth House

Rivaling the Robie House in my estimation, and stylistically worlds apart is the Farnsworth House, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Complete in 1950 it sits beside the Fox River in rural Illinois about an hour out of Chicago (to the West). Designed as a weekend retreat for the single Dr Edith Farnsworth, this house is one of the purest expressions of modernism in a domestic scale. It is simple, clean and pure and in its setting, is truly visually amazing. Fortunately the tour of this house did include full photographic access.

 First glimpse

Fox River

 Me (it was pretty cold and wet)

Me again...

The Robie House

Completed in 1910, the Frederick C Robie house is considered Frank Lloyd Wrights finest example of his Prairie Style architecture. It just happens to be one of my all time favourite buildings and probably my favourite FLW...well we haven't got to Fallingwater yet....Unlike the previous Wrights I visited, this one is located in the suburb of Hyde Park, to the south of downtown Chicago and is now on the grounds of the University of Chicago. (Oak Park is west of Chicago). Sadly photos were not allowed inside, although it is a bit rough inside, still undergoing major restoration work.