Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Search for an All-Clad Skillet leads to History Crawl and one Tasty Pot Roast!

Before we chat about my weekend and a pot roast I know
you'll want to make right away, we must revisit this wall
in my kitchen... Because once again, and hopefully for the
last time, I've found another plate rack I think is just right!
Now, the last time we discussed this wall, I'd decided to relocate my
collection of Martha books onto the wall above the cabinet I refer
to as the bean chest to help make way for another plate rack I found!
Despite the considerable effort to hang that plate rack, I never showed
it to you because, as soon as it went up I knew it was terribly wrong
for the space. However, I'm quite sure I have nailed it this time with
this little beadboard number I picked up at The Red Collection!

So... Shortly after I put my kitchen back together last week I received an
e-mail from the Williams-Sonoma Outlet in Leesburg, Virginia letting
me know about their store-wide, 40% off sale... And, even if you know
nothing about me at all, you know I cannot resist an extra sale going on
course, driving five hours to shop a WS Outlet is a subject that must be
suggested gently and diplomatically if it's ever going to have a chance...

So, I asked if there might be any other reason my sweetie might want
to travel to the Northern Virginia area this weekend. And boy, did he
come up with a quick list! As fast as you could say 40% off All-Clad, he
and, Montpelier! When I asked how my shopping trip was suddenly
turned into another of his history crawls, he replied, Just lucky, I guess!

So off we went! First stop... Natural Bridge, Virginia!

From the moment we arrived I wondered why we'd never visited before!

And, I also immediately knew we'd be back to explore the caverns too!

The best part for me was the wonder and
surprise of it all since I didn't know what to expect!

My curiosity was rewarded because what we found, just beyond the bend
of a scenic walk, was so much more beautiful than I could have imagined!

This spectacular natural bridge, which is included as

How cool is that?

Standing in this spot we could hear cars zipping across the span!

One of the guides told us of a water fall not far from the front gate...

So we set out to find it!

It was a wonderful walk on a gentle, level path...

With plenty of things to discover and explore!

For one of us the stroll got a little long after he realized the
estimated mile to the waterfall was actually a bit over two miles!

Still, there were plenty of interesting things
along the way to distract and hold his attention!

Not the least of which was the beautiful falls at the end of our journey!

It wasn't so bad... Besides, there was a bus waiting to
take us back to the gift shop where they have really
nice bathrooms where we could freshen up!

As I said, this won't be our last trip
to Natural Bridge... Those caverns are on my list!

The next stop along the way was Lexington, Virginia
where we found Stonewall Jackson House!

My favorite spot was here, in the Jackson's kitchen garden!

This is my favorite way of learning history... At its source! Stonewall
Jackson was quite an interesting fellow! You can learn more, here

Following our tour of Stonewall Jackson House and Garden, we headed
down the road a little to Lee Chapel at Washington Lee University!
What a beautiful campus and chapel!

The centerpiece on the stage of the chapel is a statue of Lee, in uniform,
asleep on the battlefield - The Recumbent Lee by Edward Valentine

When Lee died in 1870, he was buried beneath the
chapel, where his body remains to this day...

I love this little chapel... With its exterior Victorian brick architectural
design and calm, white interior, it's easy to see why Lee loved it too!

Another absolutely worthwhile stop on our way to Leesburg!
Lee Chapel continues to play an important role in the modern operation
of Washing and Lee University. The chapel seats 600 and freshmen are
brought here to listen to a lecture about the school's famous honor system!

The argument that Lee opposed slavery helped maintain his stature
as a symbol of Southern honor and national reconciliation...

Evidence that Lee opposed slavery included his support of the work by his wife and
her mother to liberate slaves, the success of his wife and daughter in setting up an
illegal school for slaves on Arlington plantation and, freeing of Custis' slaves in 1862!

Additionally, it was General Lee who petitioned slave-holders in
1864-1865 to allow slaves to volunteer for the Army with
manumission (freedom) offered as a reward for outstanding service!
All very fine reasons for this permanent tribute to a truly great American!

In the basement of the chapel we found the Lee Family Crypt and museum

The museum is very nicely done!

With lots of interesting artifacts to pour over!

It's an interesting look into the minds and ambitions of great people!

Another very worth-while stop along the way...

With the only regret being a lack of more time...

Even General Lee's horse rests here, just outside the chapel doors...

After Lee Chapel, we took a peek into another church just 100 yards south...

This is inside Grace Episcopal Church...

Which was later renamed, Lee Memorial Episcopal Church
Our history-crawl completed for the day... It was finally my turn!

And, as if it had waited just for me, I found the perfect All-Clad skillet!

Adopted... And, without hesitation!

Along with a few dozen other goodies...

Just too darn good to pass up!

As I did the happy-dance to the check out, my Fitbit began to vibrate,
letting me know it was happy I reached my 10k step goal for the day!
Following a late dinner with great friends, it was time to check in
at our hotel for a little rest before day two and, our return home!
Although I prepared a list of antique shops between Middleburg and home
that is mile long, I woke up deciding that we simply had to make time...

For Mr. Lincoln!

The last time we stood here, we were with mom and dad...

A bit more fantastic during that trip, but fantastic nonetheless!

As it always is during our trips to DC, I'm happiest when we
arrive very early or very late while things are still relatively calm...

Speaking of calm... No visit to our family cemetery, at the foot of the Blue
Ridge Mountains, is complete without popping into The British Pantry

So many fun things!

And, reasons to be glad that we drove...
So that we could drag home as much as we want without luggage worries!

Of course, I had to send my dear friend Amy a few of these
photos to let her know I was thinking of her over in the UK!
And, I had to take along some of these
biscuits to enjoy on the way home too!

A peek into the refrigerator made me very glad I brought a cooler!

Very glad, indeed!
After picking through the pantry and a visit to both Dawson-Bridge family cemeteries...

It was time to load up and head off in search of Rectortown, Virginia...
This area is rich with family history on my husband's side...

His grandmother's maiden name was Rector and, one
of his ancestors served and fought with Mosby's Rangers...

Which meant finding this historical
marker and exploring Rectortown was a must!

It's a sleepy little town to be sure...

With the smallest Post Office I have ever seen!

See what I mean?

Super cute inside...

Except for the literature on the walls, it appears time has stood still here!

After Rectortown, we headed over to Orange, Virginia. Home to...

James and Dolly Madison's magnificent estate, Montpelier!
Sadly, as wildly popular as she was, Dolly Madison was left destitute in
the years following her husband's death. Not only was she forced to sell
the contents of their lovely home, in 1844, Dolly sold Montpelier as well!

Aside from a very few items the Montpelier Trust has managed to locate and
repurchase, there is not much in the house that belonged to the Madison's...
In the time since Madison owned Montpelier, it has seen nine
different owners and as many, if not more, remodeling projects!

Fortunately Montpelier's last owner, Marion DuPont-Scott expressed a wish
that her heirs would transfer it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation,
since she felt it was, “appropriate ... to restore the mansion house in such a
manner as to conform as nearly as possible with the architectural pattern which
existed when said property was owned and occupied by President Madison."

And so, with her gracious gift and sweet wish finally
fulfilled in September 2008, Montpelier stands today as it did...

In James and Dolly Madison's time!

As happy as I always am to travel and explore more of the East coast, I am
always more happy to come home! And while we didn't pull into the drive
until well after eleven o'clock Saturday night, I couldn't wait to hop on my
bike at 7AM for a 9-mile ride around Salem Lake and then hit the market for...

Everything I needed to prepare a pot roast for my sweet Virginia tour-guide!

Putting my new All-Clad, 3-quart skillet to good use, of course!

While I'm much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cook,
since I was already asked by my Facebook friends for my recipe, I'll
share it with you! This is a 3.5 pound chuck roast, browned on both
sides in olive oil w/four cloves garlic, minced. After the meat browns...

I usually move it to my slow-cooker or
one of my LeCreuset Dutch Ovens...

However, since I have Wolfgang Puck's new pressure cooker...

Let's pressure cook! Added to the roast is: 2 cups vegetable stock
and 1 can (11 oz.) V-8 juice. Plus, 4 stalks of celery, 4 large carrots
and two medium yellow onions, all chopped into medium chunks...
I added a handful of thyme and parsley from my garden and then set the
timer for 60 minutes. After an hour, I added 2 pounds of Black Gold
Farms red potatoes, quartered and 10-12 mushrooms, cut in half!

After another thirty minutes under pressure...

Dinner was served!

I hope you enjoyed my crawl through Northern Virginia history as
much as I did and that you'll try this roast... It's delicious, I promise!


  1. What a fantastic visit Janet!!!!!!! So much history in such a short time, you guys must have been exhausted by the time you got home and buzzing with all the information that you had taken in. It really goes to show that there is so much history and interest all around the world and in so many different places. I only wish that I could have been there to go along with you, but it was wonderful to enjoy this virtual visit. The little post office is wonderful, a real step back in time, so is the Episcopal church, it reminds me very much of Scottish Chapels which are very similar in style. The dinner looks wonderful - did you add any of your English shopping I wonder! xx

  2. We LOVE Leesburg! We "do" Luckett's and Sweet Clover and Chartreuse and all the great antique malls, but I didn't realize there was a W-S outlet there. All-Clad is my FAVORITE cookware, and I love that it's made in Pennsylvania, as well. I need to take DL to some of those Civil War sites, because he has recently become a history buff. Great photos!

  3. Such a cool tour; thanks for sharing! No wonder your "tour guide" loves that area and the history. Your meal looks delicious. My great guy is a big fan of an excellent roast beef dinner. I'll give yours a try. I get WS online and have not looked at the sale, but certainly will be logging in to see if I can score some great deals, as well!

  4. I'm exhausted reading about your travels!!!! I have a LARGE pressure cooker canner but I don't use it often. I wonder if I'd like a smaller one?.......

  5. Wow Janet! Thanks for the fabulous history tour! We love that walk up to the falls at Natural Bridge.......and we the Lee Chapel! Your pictures are wonderful...... I especially like the one of the Jackson's kitchen garden. Gonna have to add the British Pantry, that charming post office and Montpelier to our list of must sees! Loved reading about your husband's family ties to Rectortown.......fascinating. I've had my all clad skillet for 20 + years....use it every day! You are going to love it!

    Made up a batch your Oma's German Potato Salad......OMG Delicious! That's a keeper recipe.....thanks so much for sharing! Next up....your Mom's Noodle Salad!

    Thank you for continuing to inspire us with amazing history, recipes, travel and shopping destinations!


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