I am lucky that one of my sisters and her husband live in a serene part of the country, specifically in Albemarle County, Virginia, home to the University of Virginia and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's famous plantation. Interestingly, both Monticello and the university are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and both are architectural gems designed by Jefferson himself. During a recent visit, I was able to take in some of the surrounding countryside, characterized by rolling hills, lush forests, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The land has a way of visually entrancing you. My eyes wandered from hilltop to hilltop, from one hay bale to the next, past trees to peer deeper into the woods.
Having around 25 acres to explore, I was drawn day after day to discover something new. And each time I did. Coming from Colorado, there is no shortage of beauty. But Virginia's landscape is different. Not better or worse, but almost enchanting, like you've stepped back into 18th century, somehow preserved and inviting you to enjoy its unique charm.
One afternoon, after taking photos, I tried to make sense of what it was about the Virginia countryside that was so appealing. That may sound odd, but I struggled at first to put into words the appeal of the landscape. Yes, of course, the beauty was obvious. The rolling hills, all the green, the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. All beautiful. No question about it. I understand Colorado's allure to me; it makes sense in so many ways. The rugged and vast mountains, the quaint streams winding their way through valley floors, the distinct beauty of each season...I could go on. But I couldn't quite wrap my head around what it was about Virginia.
Then it came to me. Virginia has a charm about it that lured me in. Whereas Colorado's beauty is in your face, beckoning the adventurer in you to test your limits, Virginia's emotional pull is more subtle, more mysterious, and speaks to you in a gentler way. I found myself wanting to endlessly wander. The rolling hills seemed to go on forever and I wanted to find each one.
On the final evening of our stay, the clouds broke apart and gave us a gorgeous sunset.
Virginia's landscape is simply charming. It may lack the jagged peaks of my beloved Colorado, but my sense of wonder and excitement was equally piqued. As with most outings, there is just never enough time to explore. I could easily get lost in Virginia's countryside and that would be fine by me. As long as I have my camera. Here are some final images from the trip.