Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and Harpers Ferry

Rose Garden

As on many more days during the trip, the day began very early with a wake-up call at 6 am local time. A very acceptable breakfast awaited us in the lobby area. After scrambled eggs, muffins, fruit salad and perhaps even waffles with maple syrup, everybody assembled in one of the hotel’s meeting rooms to play our introduction game.

The previous day, everyone had received a small card with a quilt block pictured on one side. On the reverse, there were a few personal questions to be answered, e. g. name, hometown, major quilting interests etc. As simply reading one’s own information to the rest of the group would have been too trivial, the group formed a circle organized clockwise according to birthdays i. e. 1st January at 12 o’clock and 1st July at 6 o’clock. Then each person read the information on the card of the neighbour standing to his or her right.

QuiltZeitReise Sampler

If this were a quilt, it would certainly need a background fabric more attractive than the rather ugly leaves on the hotel’s carpet! The individual blocks each have some reference to our trip – you will find a Southern Belle, a lighthouse, trees representing the Shenandoah Valley, a version of the Pine Burr pattern (representing my favourite quilt in the Virginia Quilt Museum’s collection but which was unfortunately not on display during our visit), a blue crab, which is orange in the photo the Virginia Reel block that served as logo for the entire trip, the Card Trick block for all the surprises Carola and I had up our sleeves, a pumpkin for Halloween etc.

After this little exercise, everybody was sufficiently awake to board the bus.

First, we went to Winchester, Virginia approximately 40 miles southwest of Leesburg, a journey of about an hour. Our major interest was surprisingly not the fact that Patsy Cline, the Country and Western singer, was born here. We were set to visit the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to get an introduction to the geography and history of the Shenandoah Valley and its surroundings.

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Picture above: The modern building that houses the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Apart from the fairly new museum building pictured above, we also visited the historic house of Glen Burnie and its gardens. Glen Burnie is Gaelic and means something like “little river”. The name alludes to the Scottish heritage of the family who built the house in 1794. The beautifully furnished home indeed offers some surprises – among others an original Corot, a famous French pre-Impressionist painter born in 1796, hanging nonchalantly in the hallway.

The very informative video on the history of the house and the families closely linked to it, was a perfect introduction to our whole trip and its underlying leitmotiv – “QuiltZeitReise” (Trip back into Quilt History).

Glen Burnie

As you can see from the pictures, the grounds and gardens of Glen Burnie are delightful and the weather being nearly perfect, we were able to have a leisurely stroll through the Chinese Garden.

Chinese Garden

Carola seems quite impressed by the bamboo hedge which is only SLIGHTLY taller than she is! ;-)

Chinese Garden and Carola

The dahlias and roses got their fair share of oohs and ahs as well.

Dahlia

The main museum building held its surprises too. We even found four quilts almost hidden away in a showcase towards the back of the very interesting exhibits about the Shenandoah Valley.

So much fresh air and information made us hungry and since the museum café could not accommodate our large group, we went to the Winchester City Centre. The mall is a lovely pedestrian area with quite a few shops (mostly closed, unfortunately, because it was Sunday) and an eclectic mix of restaurants catering to all tastes. It was warm for October and most of us took advantage of the mild temperatures to sit outside to eat.

Winchester

At 2 pm sharp everybody was back at the appointed place to re-board the bus. We then went north to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Harpers Ferry is famous for two things: being situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and for an attack by John Brown in 1859 who wanted to instigate a slave riot.

Harpers Ferry

Today Harpers Ferry is part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The picture above was taken standing on West Virginian soil looking over the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers confluence with Maryland to the left and Virginia to the right. We also took advantage of the opportunity to walk a few yards of the famous Appalachian Trail:

Appalachian Trail

And, because the weather was so exceptionally nice, here another picture postcard perfect photo from the Maryland side looking back towards the Shenandoah River:

Shenandoah River

As Carola and I sensed that so much beneficial exercise, fresh air and sunshine would make the hardiest of quilters a little restless, we decided that some down-to-earth shopping would be much appreciated. Luckily, a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Superstore (!) was just around the corner from our hotel in Leesburg. Our visit there served as some sort of non-alcoholic nightcap to ensure a satisfied quilter’s sleep and sweet dreams of fabric, notions and future projects...


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