Well, it is officially fall. The mornings are somewhat crisp and cool. The male hummingbirds have left on their long journey, but the females are still hanging around. A volunteer pumpkin is slowly ripening in the back of the yard. UVA football is looking up – they take on VMI this weekend. And the Land Rovers will return for a major rally next week. All the vineyards are harvesting, crushing and bottling. It’s a wonderful time to be in Virginia!
The chimney swifts have returned! Chester is a resting place for hundreds of the sleek, acrobatic birds on their migratory route to Peru. The species is endangered; we suspect they have been been coming here since the house was built. Since each bird devours over 2,000 mosquitoes and other insects daily, they are very welcome visitors. At dusk we watch them circle the sky and dive into the chimneys with great precision – we’d love to know how they decide in what order they will enter the chimney. Is that last bird scouring the sky the oldest, the strongest or an elected leader? Their final departure may be days or even weeks from now. For the moment they are welcome guests.
Wow! We’ve been innkeeping here at Chester for 15 full years now! Sometimes it feel like 50, but usually it seems like only yesterday that we were working like crazy to get bathrooms completed on schedule, meeting furniture trucks in the driveway at 4 a.m., and worrying over whether anyone would come to visit us. Now we’ve greeted over 5,000 guests at our front door. Many have returned for several years, some have gotten married here, and some have become fast friends. Craig and I are grateful for our tenure at Chester and are looking forward to welcoming the next 5000. Thanks to everyone who has become a part of Chester life.
With hurricane Earl going out to sea, we can rest easier and not worry about having to take in “refugees” displaced by an evacuation of the coast.
It’s hard to believe we are noting the end of summer already – but with that, we turn to autumn events – most notably the annual Riverbed Beer Festival. This year’s event, September 17the and 18th, promises to be a great weekend. More breweries than ever are bringing their products. The connoisseur tasting on Friday evening will be elegant with lots of good food and gifts. Saturday’s event will be a fun-filled day for all. A few rooms are still open for folks who want to come and stay in comfort.
If all that tasting doesn’t have appeal to you – Lady Gaga will be appearing at JPJ in Charlottesville next Wednesday!
Fall is fast approaching! Cool mornings have finally arrived making that early morning coffee on the porch a thing to savor. The students are back at UVA and Charlottesville is no longer sleepy. Here at Chester we’re savoring the arrival of heirloom tomatoes and late summer produce. The local Lions Club will be serving up crabs this weekend, and we’re coming up on Scottsville’s River Bend Beer Festival. The area wineries are picking grapes early this year; word is the next vintage should be terrific.
Despite back-to-school frenzy and summer’scontinuing assault of heat and humidity, it will be possible to visit Monticello in the comfort of home. On August 24th at 8:00 p.m. the History Channel will air a 2-hour presentation featuring scenes filmed on site and interviews with prominent Jefferson scholars. Residing so near Monticello it is easy to lose perspective on this Founding Father – consideration of his complicated life can perhaps create some new understandings of where we are in today’s world.
More and more couples are spending just a night to get away - a mini-holiday seems doable amid back-to school activities in a heat-weary world. A cool glass of wine and a quiet dinner can provide an oasis of calm. Our wild salmon entree is proving to be a hit as is our decadent molten chocolate lava cake. We welcoome guests from nearby Charlottesville who need that brief respite from a hectic world.
We’re busy getting ready for our “Wild Women” weekend, celebrating the birthday of one of our long-time guests. Each year, she invites all of her close friends to join her for a weekend of tubing on the river, good food, relaxation, and fun. A fantastic time is had by all–and this year will be no exception! Welcome to the Wild Women!
Never in a million years did I think we’d need to blog to get the word out about our inn. But here I am. Sixty-some years young, and tackling the social media world for the first time. This blog is about Chester, the wonderful historic home and inn on seven acres of arboretum grounds that we are privileged to call home, and to share with our guests.
Today, we’re mourning the loss of a giant spruce tree that was brought down by lightning. It’s been in failing health for a long time, but it’s always sad to see a tree go, particularly here. Chester is home to many of the largest trees in Virginia, and each one is like family to us. Well, you know what I mean. Another tree down means another home lost to our birds and various other wildlife that live here. On the bright side, it means we can put larger tents on the lawn for weddings!