Backroads of Virginia, Middleburg

20131103-100345.jpgI just stopped in a super cute town called Middleburg. The streets are lined with fall leaves that feel like they are glowing with reds and yellows. The town smells like baked goods and bacon so I followed my nose to a quaint bakery.

Inside I found pies that are warm from the oven. The smell of homemade cinnamon rolls, muffins and crispy bacon. I ordered a bacon and egg sandwich and as I write this I’m eating it outside in the wam sun.
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The photo above and the first one in this post show what the backroads look like this time of year. You see what I call “fall snow” everywhere which is the graceful swirling of thousands of colored leaves. Well, my sandwich is gone so I’m off again with no idea of where I’ll stop next!

Manassas Civil War Battlefield

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The sky is a rainbow of clouds, the birds are chirping, and I seem to be the only one here. Surrounding me are open fields, a few large trees gracing the landscape, and a number of canons. I’m in the middle of the Manassas Civil War Battlefield where the battle of Bull Run was fought. This was the first major land battle of the armies of Virginia. Seeing this landmark site at sunrise is a must if you can. What a serene location. As I walk across the fields I can only think of the many solders who lost their lives. I hope you’ll have a chance to visit this historical site that was the beginning of a very important change in our history. The abolishment of slavery.

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Where to Travel to in November??? ;)

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Off on another adventure: Backroads exploring Civil War battlefields, Montecello, a drive through the Blue Ridge mountains when the fall leaves are at their peak. The final destination will be the Historic Biltmore Estate. Now I just need to get through this red eye flight which lands at 5:20am. Hoping for an empty row so I can sleep! I hope you'll follow me on my journey πŸ˜‰

Bailey

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My Valentine’s Day love … Bailey, thanks for the hug, you’re the best xo

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Biltmore Estate, My Secret Walk – Final Approach!

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The dirt path dipped and turned. Ahead I could see a tree-lined pond dotted with the V-shape of a duck coasting over the glassy water. I was about halfway there and was torn between wanting to get to my destination and wanting this walk to last longer. It was quiet except for an occasional squawk from one of the ducks. About an hour later I headed up a hill, through an old gate and saw what I was looking for. Off in the distance I could see the Estate, almost a castle. I had arrived. In front of me was the Biltmore Estate.

Over the last few blogs I’ve taken you on an incredible walk from the Biltmore Historic Inn over to the Biltmore Estate. Today, we’re on the final approach.Β Β The following photos will take you through the rest of the walk…

After you leave the pond you’ll follow the trail up to the first of three gates.

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Then you find yourself in a large open field.

photogirltravels_biltmore walk35Keep following the path and you come to the second of three gates.Β Β You can see it had been raining – I slugged through the mud to get to the other side.

photogirltravels_biltmore walk5After you pass through this gate you will get your first glimpse of the Estate. In the photo below you can see it off in the left corner.

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Just keep walking!

BiltmoreEstate_photogirltravels.com_walk38At the end, you’ll pass through one more gate and you’re at the Estate. The photo below was taken once I was inside, looking back.

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From here you can walk through the formal gardens, over to the Estate and take the tour. (Make sure you shut the gate behind you.) On a quick note, you can do this walk from the Estate to the Inn too. If you are there a few days and want to mix it up, try it both ways. Β Also, if you’re traveling along it’s very safe so don’t hold back!

Would you like to purchase a print? Please click on β€œContact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image Β½ inch off the wall.

Β©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Biltmore Estate – My Secret Walk Part 4

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America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted created America’s first managed forests that surround the Biltmore Estate. Good old “Freddie” was quite the Renaissance man. When he was not designing landscapes, he was an American journalist, social critic, and public administrator. He is also well known for designing Central Park in New York City. From what I understand, the land that surrounded the Biltmore Estate was barren. Rolling hills but very few trees. All that changed when thousands of trees were brought onsite and planted, under the direction of Olmsted. Over the years the trees and foliage have settled in, creating the beauty and elegance surrounding the Estate. If you visit in the spring, it will be even more enchanting. It’s hard to stand anywhere without getting a cherry blossom in your photo.

You’ll see this scenery from the balcony of the Estate and from the bus window as it takes you up to the Estate. But the best way to see this view is on the Photo Girl Secret Walk. In my last blog highlighting this walk, we were following the path along the river which bends and curves, protected by huge trees that extend their branches out over the water’s edge. After a bit you’ll see a large pond with plump ducks resting on the water’s edge. Most could do with a little cardio via a strenuous paddle around the pond, but instead they seemed to be content, dozing the day away. (I even ran at a few of them and couldn’t get them to move.)

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Once you pass the pond, the trail becomes a narrow path that takes you through ancient gates held up by sturdy vines loaded with flowers. Then everything opens up and you can see the Estate in front of you! I’ll include these images in my next blog. Yet again, work beacons.

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Would you like to purchase a print? Please click on β€œContact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image Β½ inch off the wall.

Β©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.