barns

Christmas Greetings from the AQT!

We are three days away from Christmas. How are you on  your shopping? Have you  been finished since Black Friday or are you still scavenging the stores for that perfect gift? Are your homes filled with warmth and cheer? How many holiday parties have you attended or thrown? Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting, stressful, and joyous times of the year. People all over the world are celebrating their holiday of choice and then making new years resolutions to make the new year special. Here on the AQT, quilt squares and downtown’s are filled and decorated with holiday splendor. Christmas lights are strewn, local Christmas trees are being cut and decorated, snow if even falling in certain elevations.

As we get closer and closer to Christmas I can’t help but think of some very special Christmas songs about the south. Mainly “Tender Tennessee Christmas” and “Christmas in Dixie”. We do have some very special moments here below the Mason-Dixon line. Only here can you get snow and sunshine for Christmas. Snow glistens and lays differently on the mountains here. On the Blue Ridge they snow has that blue hue, the Smokies have an even more smoky look to them.  Some of the areas along the quilt trail can remind you of a snow globe because you are nestled by the mountains, snow is blanketing the ground, and then snowflakes are falling.

What is Christmas like in your part of the world? Any fun traditions in your neck of the woods? Please share!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Tulips in the Fall

It is fall here in East Tennessee, a rather lovely time of year. We are known for our leaves and the color of the mountains. How they turn from green to shades of red, yellow, and orange. The breeze is sweeter, maybe it is the smell of pumpkins and hot cocoa in the air, or the bonfires. Nights get cooler and then days start to get cooler and the scarves bust from the winter closet. Kids go to fall festivals and corn mazes. Weekends are spent picking apples and making apple butter; or better yet cheering on your favorite SEC football team.

Amongst all this fall foliage and fall festivities there are tulips blooming. Tulips blooming in fall? Why yes darlin’! We have a set of tulips blooming in Blaine, TN. See below for yourself….

***to get a better view of the tulips, click the picture to enlarge***

 

Stop 15: Tennessee Tulips at Lakin Quilt Barn

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Happy fall ya’ll!

The Farm by Joyce Sutphen

Stop 14: Mountain Variation @ Renfro Quilt Barn

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The Farm by Joyce Sutphen

My father’s farm is an apple blossomer.
He keeps his hills in dandelion carpet
and weaves a lane of lilacs between the rose
and the jack-in-the-pulpits.
His sleek cows ripple in the pastures.
The dog and purple iris
keep watch at the garden’s end.
His farm is rolling thunder,
a lightning bolt on the horizon.
His crops suck rain from the sky
and swallow the smoldering sun.
His fields are oceans of heat,
where waves of gold
beat the burning shore.
A red fox
pauses under the birch trees,
a shadow is in the river’s bend.
When the hawk circles the land,
my father’s grainfields whirl beneath it.
Owls gather together to sing in his woods,
and the deer run his golden meadow.
My father’s farm is an icicle,
a hillside of white powder.
He parts the snowy sea,
and smooths away the valleys.
He cultivates his rows of starlight
and drags the crescent moon
through dark unfurrowed fields.

nothin’ like trippin’ down a backroad

What is it about backroads that are so special? Is it because of the way they wind and curve and wind and curve and wind and curve? Or is it the peaceful silence of being surrounded by nature and mountains? Or is it because the speed limit is a little higher than it should be so it calls for fast pace driving with the windows down and wind in your hair? Maybe it is all of that. It is the experience. You experience an adventure. You never know what is around that bend. Is there a farm? A mansion? A turtle crossing the road? A baby deer? Lord forbid a stop sign. Sometimes those roads go on and on and on and on and on and you think they will never end. You want it to end, but at the same time you don’t because once you hit the main drag you know the adventure is over.

That is the great thing about the Appalachian Quilt Trail. So many stops are on these backroads! A visitor, especially maybe someone who is new to country backroads, will have an adventure. Even for us locals, the backroads and AQT will always have an adventure in store. Every time I have cruise the quilt trail in search of my next stop, I always end up on a backroad in a beautiful, unfamiliar, yet homey place. Picturesque mountains and fields surround my car and I feel the wind passing through the car as I drive and drive and drive and drive till I find my waypoint or trail stop.

This is exactly what happened the other day. My adventure was to find Canaanland Park in Washburn, TN to get a picture for the AQT website. Lets just say my GPS definitely took me on a super huge rabbit trail. While on this rabbit trail I got on a “main” back road (a lovely thing in the rural South, a back road that is actually a main road, no stoplights), and found a variety of quilt squares that I didn’t plan on seeing. What lovely surprises! Around each bend was a new adventure on the AQT. There were moments I was so wrapped up in the scenery that a few quilt barns popped up and I missed them and couldn’t take a picture. I guess that gives new meaning to pay attention to your surroundings!

I did happen to stumble across a barn mural, Not Barn Yesterday. This is a very special stop on the AQT. While not exactly a quilt square, it does depict the heritage of this area and everything the trail stands for. It was painted by local high school kids from the Washburn area. It is definitely something to see!

Then right down the road, about 5 minutes, BAM! There on the left was Canaanland. Again, it was one of those I wasn’t expecting so soon so I had to turn around and get to it. Their quilt square is called Windmills All Around. It is a stunning piece, large enough, and purple enough to see from the road. A beautiful long driveway with trees is a grand entrance. Canaanland is available for community events and parties. It seems like a great venue to do a country wedding or outdoorsy/southern inspired birthday party. You will even get greeted by a sheep that is at the road.

After a few pictures there I continued my backroad journey all the way back to the Bryan House. Following those twists and turns all the way to my next adventure…

 

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Stop 12: Not Barn Yesterday, Washburn, TN

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Stop 13: Caananland Land Park, Washburn, TN

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Stop 6: The Red Barn in Russell Co, VA

Sometimes my travels for work take me outside Tennessee. The other day I was going to a Clinch River Valley Initiative meeting up in Cleveland, Virginia. Yes, there is a Cleveland in Virginia. This Cleveland only has ~200 people and is out in God’s country (another term for out in the boonies, out yonder, middle of nowhere). It was a lovely drive, very scenic and peaceful. I had found the poem below right before my trip and wanted to find a red barn to go with it. I am driving down this curvy back road on my to Cleveland I stumble across this bard. It was perfect for the poem! The farm is called Bluegrass Farm and they had cows in the pasture. I believe the pattern is called Rising Sun. 

The Red Barn Remembers by Barbara Gorelick

The red barn stands, silhouetted against the sky.

An oak tree wraps its tired limbs around her

As if to protect her from time and age.

Her roof, sagging, color faded,

An errant plume of red along her frame.

Yet, proudly she stands, remembrance of a happy time.

Shelter from the rain, children

Playing in her hair, lovers hiding in her shadows.

Beauty I see now, not bright, not boastful.

With dignity and respect she bows to age.

 

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Winding roads, horses, honeysuckle, and quilt squres Pt 2

Last week I shared with you my first two stops on my sunny days tour around Rutledge, TN. For those of you who might be new, here is the link for last weeks entry: https://sawtoothstories.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/winding-roads-horses-honeysuckle-and-quilt-squares-pt-1-rutledge-tn/.

I also got some lovely comments and new followers, so thank you very much! Here are stops 3-5, enjoy!

Stop 3: Trip Around the World

Located right on 11 W at the side of the road, just getting off the road to take a picture was an adventure. 5 turnarounds and a driveway later I finally found a good spot to land a picture or two. Look at those wild daisies and other wild flowers! To view the square, click the picture below to enlarge it.

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Stop 4: Confederate Rose on Joppa Mountain Road

Isn’t this a beauty? This is a little shed on the right side of the road. It is right across from a very gorgeous old fashioned home that house two great Pyrenees dogs. I found that out because they barked at me as I stopped in the middle of the road to take a picture (yes, I did it country style, just stopped in the middle of road). I loved the honeysuckle that was creeping all around the shed. It made the air so fragrant and luscious.

 

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Stop 5: Little Dutch Girl @ The Corum House

This sweet girl is right next door to the Bryan House. She is all ready for summer decked out in  her pale yellow gingham dress and sun bonnet to match. The old shed really adds character to the quilt square. Not only is the little Dutch girl sweet, it is also a family quilt!  Julie Wilson’s grandmother, Nana, made this quit for her and Julie in turn made it into a barn quilt square.

 

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Winding roads, horses, honeysuckle, and quilt squares Pt. 1: Rutledge, TN

Sunny days just call for an adventure. Sunny days call for windows down, music blasting, and riding down a back road. Sunny days are filled with happiness and life. On this particularly sunny day the quilt trail was calling. It was calling out to be explored, to take the back roads and explore Rutledge, TN. Not knowing where to go, I took my AQT map, jotted down a few areas close to the historic Bryan House and let the quilt squares lead. On my way around these roads I encountered some of Spring/early Summer’s grandeur: box turtles, honeysuckle, wildflowers, horse foals, breeze blowing my hair, and friendly people willing to share some stories with me.

Stop 1: Flower Basket @ Holbrook Quilt Barn

Talk about taking the back road! I had to get off 11 W and follow a winding road to this farm. The road took me through pretty areas, such as roads filled with flowers, tomato farms, and of course mountains. Along the way I crossed a box turtle in the middle of the road! At first I thought it was a block of wood then the closer I approached I realized it was a box turtle. Luckily, I realized this in just enough time to let it finish crossing the road. Eventually I found myself at this waypoint on the AQT. I was greeted with such a lovely site, a baby horse!

 

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Stop 2: County Fair @ Country Shed Antiques

I drive past this every time I come into work and I have always been fascinated by  it. So today I let the road, this time the main road, take me there. I pull into a gravel driveway greeted again by horses. Stepping out of my car I felt as if I was transported back in time. Log cabins, an side house, are in my sight. A lady named Doris walked my way as I approached the antique store. Doris was a very friendly lady and was happy to tell me some facts about Country Shed Antiques. Country Shed Antiques is built onto a barn (you could have fooled me it looked so real! Like it was all one piece of property). The first part of the barn, besides the stalls, use to hold tobacco. If you go in the store that will be the room that looks like a kitchen. Originally Doris just had a gift shop, but then it kept expanding into what is now the Country Shed Antiques. If you are ever out this way do stop by. The antiques in this shop are very rustic and would fit into a cabin or old country home.  Cast iron skillets, corn pone skillets, mugs, quilts, even a carriage cart to be hooked up by a horse in available! Since it changes with the season, come back many times to see what is in store.

 

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Stay tuned for the second half of  my sunny day quilt adventure! More quilts, more flowers, more good times!