Country Roads, Take Me Home

That John Denver ballad has been stuck in my head for months now, and whenever I heard it, it conjures up memories of my ancestral home. A few weeks ago, my family and I traveled to the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. To say it was a social trip wouldn’t be a good description, even though we did socialize with family members from other parts of the country. You see, we were traveling there to bury my late grandfather’s ashes at the old family burial grounds, so it was a bit of a somber event.

While the funeral was a bit melancholy, one couldn’t help but enjoy the nice weather, the beautiful scenery, and seeing the home of our ancestors. Before the funeral, we got to visit the home in which my grandfather and his siblings grew up. Check out that driveway and the open fields!

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The Family Homestead, Frankford, West Virginia

We also visited the church where my grandfather and his family attended. The church has long since moved to another location, but the old building is still standing.

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The former Gethsemane Baptist Church, Frankford, West Virginia

And the view from the church, all I can say is WOW! Look at those mountains! Every time I see them, I just want to quote one of my favorite movies, Lord of the Rings… “Mountains, Gandalf! Mountains!”

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View of the Allegheny Mountains, West Virginia

The funeral itself was held at a private burial ground that sits on private property. Arrangements had to be made well in advance, and during the summers months, as the roads we took to get back there could be treacherous in bad weather. It was a very peaceful and serene area, and my grandpa is now surrounded by family that has already passed on. Some of the headstones were so old, and to see the dates on them, well, you just don’t see those kinds of dates to often. The genealogist in me wanted to document everything! While I won’t be sharing those items with you, I do want to share a few nature images I captured.

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Red Cap Mushroom. Reminds me of the Smurfs, which is ironic because we called my grandpa “Papa Smurf.”
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Just a little frog I almost stepped on. He posed just long enough for me to capture his portrait. 

Following the funeral, we traveled back to Virginia to have dinner with all the family that had made the trip. Along the way, we stopped to see the famous Falling Spring Falls on the Sam Snead Highway. I caught the falls at dusk, and boy, I couldn’t have captured a better sky!!

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Falling Spring Falls, Covington, Virginia

I also captured this great shot of Valley View along the Sam Snead Highway. Did you know I just love, love, love barns? When I saw this one, I knew I had to get a shot of it!

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And let’s not forget the wildflowers everywhere for the eye to see! Love this wild chicory I found at the old family homestead.

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Gosh! Looking at these photos makes me want to go back already! I might just have to plan a fall trip so I can capture those lovely mountains in all their autumn glory!