Prior to 2020, we stayed almost exclusively in hotels and at resorts. With social distancing we began using AirBNB. This weekend, severe storms thwarted our trip to OBX, so we decided to look elsewhere. Phenix, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge foothills, would never have been on our travel list if it weren’t for AirBNB. Our rental was confirmed at 8:30am and two hours later we had swapped out our beach gear for mountain gear and were on the road.
Our rental was billed as a farm stay, but it felt more like we had our own entire State Park and a private art exhibition. Murals documenting the history of the family who owned the farm covered the walls, painted by Richmond’s Happy the Artist. We hiked the many trails on property, through forests, streams, ponds, and farm fields. The highlight was interacting with the many farm animals. The goat and sheep were able to “free range” and visited our porch often, due to the fact that they like to eat and Alice spent a good portion of the weekend feeding them. The Highland Cattle weren’t as friendly, but were the cutest bovine we’ve ever seen (I was assured by my farming friend Wendy that they are far too expensive to eat.)
The Appomattox Courthouse National National Historic Site was more engaging than we expected. (Battlefield sites are typically last on my must-do list.) The buildings on the property have been immaculately preserved or rebuilt. The museum was closed, but Park Rangers were available to answer questions and give us an overview of the site.
Stops Along the Way
We knew Lynchburg well from a fall 2000 visit. On this visit we spent most of our time in The City Cemetery. The train station, carriage house, and chapel provided recorded interpretation describing their significance in Virginian history.
The rural and winding drive through central-southern Virginia provides no shortage of local craft breweries. Three Roads has locations in both Farmville and Lynchburg. Our favorite midway stop is Trapezium Brewery in Petersburg.