Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2023-2024

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

A long, slow advent of spring '24 in western Virginia

For many years we've been used to lots of snow in winter -- we love snow, we venerate snow! Snow restores us! We'd been given to understand that in western Virginia, over the Blue Ridge on the edge of the Allegheny Mountains, there'd be lots of snow. There's even a town called Snowshoe, and we brought our French snowshoes with us to the US.

It's all been a huge disappointment, and this, in fact, has been the only snowfall so far in the winter of 2023-2024 (and this is written on 7 April).

This, on the athletic field of the Mary Baldwin University Fighting Squirrels, taken on 15 January, is the closest we've come to a proper blizzard.

We're taking the opportunity anyway of what little snow we can find to take pictures of some of our many interesting houses in Staunton.

There are five recognized historic architectural districts in the downtown area, with a few houses dating from the 18th and early to mid-19th century, and most of the most interesting dating from the late 19th century in a variety of architectural styles under the prolific designs of the architect T. J. Collins and his son.

Not entirely everything is as interesting and well maintained as this one, though . . .

. . . there are a few that do need a little work.
['For sale to highest bidder']

The main drag, Beverley Street, after the blizzard

New St., looking down towards the train station area called the 'Wharf District', filled with repurposed former warehouse facilities.

Looking up New St. towards the campus of Mary Baldwin University on the hill

That's the former Eakleton Hotel on New St, built in 1894, now the Smith Center for History and Art.

Looking west along Beverley, past the Venetian palazzo-inspired buildings from the 1890s to the looming Masonic building on the next block; it was designed in 1896, one of the few classic buildings not designed by T. J. Collins, but it's now occupied by offices and, though the beautiful interior was open to the public until a few years ago, that's no longer the case.

But just catty-corner from the Masonic Building, the Marquis Building from 1895 was made by T. J. Collins and housed his own offices. It's now occupied by a cigar store and clubhouse for cigar enthusiasts.

A half-block up Augusta St, that big block is our venerable Old YMCA condo building, apparently dated to 1914.

Staunton adornments

Melvin, keeping the eternal watch

A quiet late evening from our downstairs reading chair

The 'TV room' on the mezzanine one floor up

Melvin and Choupette resenting our attentions

In early February, we're out for a brisk walk round the Augusta Springs Wetlands.

That's our favorite reading bench out here, but it's not much use in February.

There's time for a quick look at the mineral springs that 150 years ago drew wealthy people from all over to the hotel resort and spa operation here.

The hotel and resort, commandeered by Stonewall Jackson for his troops' recuperation in 1862, lasted in an increasing state of dilapidation well into the early 20th century, but finally succumbed to the effects of many years of underground springs all round the property.

It's all long gone now, except for some overgrown remains of some of the brickwork, as in this water basin and channel.

A visit from Alison and Ryan

Alison and Ryan have joined us for a long weekend in mid-February, and the first order of business is a production of Julius Caesar at the American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse.

[This exterior photo of the Playhouse was actually taken in 2019, for an As You Like It.]

The interior pix, however, are from the present Julius Caesar.

The theatre company was hit hard by the Covid lockdowns, but it seems to be coming back nicely now.

A few nights later, after Alison's and Ryan's return to Alexandria, we watched a fabulous production of Francis Beaumont's hilarious Knight of the Burning Pestle (1607), put on in this theatre by the MBU Shakespeare MFA students.

Back to the Augusta Springs Wetlands with Ryan and Alison.

Ryan and Augusta Springs boardwalk (photo by Alison)

At the top of the Upland Trail's ridge, for a . . .

. . . memorial photo.

Back down off the ridge line on the normal Uplands Trail

(photo by Alison)

Another viewing of the main spring

Fascination (photo by Alison)

An exhilirating walk

Next, some scenes of Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum, accompanied by Alison and Ryan

Who doesn't love the little sheepses?

The 17th century yeoman's house imported from the English midlands

The English house

A bit farther on, a view of the Irish forge from the Protestant county of Ulster

This is just a collection of pleasant snaps as we gallop along -- we've stuck up lots of earlier pages with more thorough explanations of things, mostly drawn from the helpful information signs.

Inside the Irish forge (photo by Alison)

We've passed the Irish farm itself, and this is the 18th century German farm imported here from the protestant Rhine Palatinate.

The German farm, and . . .

. . . we're being watched.

We're on our way over to the 1820s and 1850s farms from the Shenandoah region, and that splendid creature is Dalley, one of the three porcine monsters growing chubbier by the year on the Museum's premises. (The others are Sunshine, at the German farm, and at the 1850s farm, 'Trouble'. [He escaped and briefly ran off some time ago, thus his name.]

Who doesn't love a huge pig?

The 1850s farm, seen from the 1820s farm. That's the end of today's tour . . . and of Alison's and Ryan's February weekend visit.

Oh look . . . another blizzard (24 February 2024)

The Old Y weathering the snowfall. We've dashed out with our irritating iPhone8 camera to catch the excitement at the snow builds up. (But it didn't -- this is it!)

Whenever the grocery cart is out, Choupette fears missing the next road trip.

Melvin and his addiction to nature documentaries

Our local château. Or 'Chateauesque-style' residence, rather, by T. J. Collins in 1900.

Conspiracies in prospect?

Exhausted from chasing one another all round the flat, all in good fun we hope, it's time for an aimable rest.

And a brief wait for dinnertime

Dinnertime for cats

The Old Y at the end of March 2024

Beverley Street in fine late afternoon light

Choupette hiding in the study

An awkward medical memento, no harm done

Next up: Views of a couple of foresty walks in early April 2024

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 8 April 2024, updated 17 April 2024..

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