Several weeks ago the girls and I were on the way home from a wedding dress fitting. We were driving along a back road when we passed an expansive estate surrounded by lush green trees and shrubs. It was rather difficult to see from the road, but we noticed an "Open" flag hanging in the driveway. Not being from that area, I wondered aloud as to what the place might be. That weekend, I mentioned it to my friend. She informed that it was a gift shop, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and that the owners lived right there in a separate house.
Last week, after Autumn's second fitting, we stopped by. We had a wonderful time walking along the wooded paths, taking in all of the scenery, but none of us had brought a camera. This week as we headed out for another fitting I remembered to throw my camera in the car.
From the minute you step out of the car, beauty abounds. Small patches of edibles are worked into the landscape, and there are flowers everywhere.
As there is no sign that actually says "Gift Shop" or "Store" or anything of the sort, I was filled with trepidation as we exited the car. I felt like we were trespassing, and because there were many paths to take, and not a sign in sight, we had no choice but to forge ahead.
Not only are the grounds beautiful, but you are truly welcome here. As we entered the gift shop, we were greeted by Lucille. She has lived here for 53 years. She assured us that we were indeed welcome to wander wherever we wished. "Nothing is roped off, take your time, enjoy!"
Enjoy, we did! What a peaceful place! As you pull into the drive, the gift shop is on the right. There are gardens and landscaped paths that are carefully thought out. The shop is hidden from view for the most part, nestled in beauty.
To get to the house, you must walk through an open garage, and over a wooden bridge. It can't be reached by car. This is a side view of the house from the bridge.
We wandered past the main house on a rambling brick walk, rounded the corner and discovered this; a one room schoolhouse turned guest home.
What a clever door knock!
A peek inside: I'd be happy as a guest here!
Walking back toward the gift shop, we get to cross over the bridge again. So enchanting! Although, carrying groceries to the house in the rain or snow might not seem so wonderful!
The serene nooks and crannies seem to be endless. Lucille has six children, and my girls certainly thought them blessed to have grown up in such a wonderful place.
Until we saw this guy, that is!
We were glad that we did.
We walked down the path to the overlook...
and caught a glimpse of the river that looked a brilliant emerald green.
Once back in the gift shop, we told Lucille of the snake that we had seen, and showed her the pictures on the camera. She said that she hadn't seen a snake in years, probably due to the fact that she has two large dogs that wander everywhere with her. Except that they were busy sleeping on the floor of the gift shop!
We were blessed this day, more by the quiet graciousness of a woman who was eager to share with others what she has been blessed with, than with the beauty that surrounded her.