How I spent my summer vacation

Published 4:41 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

My husband and I just returned from a week-long vacation spent in the woodsy mountainous region of Southwest Virginia, between the towns of Abingdon and Damascus. This is an area familiar to those who have walked the Virginia Creeper Trail or the Appalachian Trail.

We were joined by fourteen members of family from Arlington, Va., Chicago, Brooklyn N.Y., Hadley, Mass., Greensboro, N,C. and Anderson, S.C.

We stayed in two very well equipped and pleasant rental houses located across the road from each other. For a rural area, there was plenty to do. The younger ones rode their bikes, hiked on the trails, or skateboarded, while the rest of us enjoyed visiting on the big front porches and listening to the rippling waters of the nearby river. It was very relaxing. We particularly enjoyed getting acquainted with our 14 month-old great-granddaughter.

Email newsletter signup

In the evenings my son-in-law set up his karaoke equipment in the barn, where we all took turns at the microphone, much to the dismay of the neighbors.

One impressive tourist attraction in Abingdon is the Heartwood Artisan Center. It is an organization of 19 regional counties that come together in a beautiful modernistic building to promote and sell the works of many area artisans and crafts persons. There are many unique, quality items to be found there, and it encourages local entrepreneurs. They also offer music, poetry readings, and foods of the local culture.

Downtown Abingdon is a very historic town with colonial architecture. It was fun to wander from shop to shop before eating lunch in one of the local restaurants.

It was also fun to visit the Abingdon Vineyard & Winery, set on a mountaintop overlooking a babbling brook. We enjoyed sampling the wines made from special regional grapes and checking out the gift shop.

Each family took turns cooking the evening meals, which turned out to be a bit of a challenge, as one person was a vegan, one a vegetarian, one lactose intolerant, and one that gluten free. But we managed. We had some interesting food, and no one went away hungry.

But above all, it was cooler there. While South Georgia was sweltering in the daily 97 degrees, we enjoyed weather in the mid to high 80’s.

The family reunion/vacation was such a success that we are planning to get the whole family together again next summer to explore a different venue.