The Quest for Archie, November 2020

When we lost our little dog Mollie it was unthinkable to try to replace her.  Months went by while we were “dogless”.   We thought maybe we would not get attached to another animal because the loss is so hard as most animal lovers would concur.  However, being dogless is just not normal for us.  We have always had a faithful companion or two in the house.  So, we decided to find another little dog to adopt.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find a suitable dog in the shelters near us. Most were pit bulls or larger dogs.  A few had Chihuahuas but there is already one reigning  Chihuahua  in our family and her name is Rosalita and she rules the roost.   In the past, we have always had larger dogs but because of Molly, the Cairn Terrier we came to love the ease of a smaller dog albeit more noisy.  Molly loved travelling and hiking with Carl and the best of all she fit so easily in our small camper.   So we decided to get another Cairn terrier.  We found a very nice breeder in Texas of all places and her name was Janine and they raise goats.  Coincidence?  We had a lot in common already.  So here we are in the middle of a pandemic travelling across the southwest to pick up our little Archibald “Archie ”McMartin.  I added a Mc to Martin to give him a Scottish flair as the breed originates in Scotland.

DAY 1:  Destination Stony Fork Campground in Wytheville, VA  What a charming park located in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest .  It is  a beautiful natural forest setting. with the Stony Fork creek meandering through the camp sites.  You can hear the rippling water as you rest in the peaceful setting.  The Seven Sisters Trail leads you to the top of little Walker mountain and the Scenic Byway.  We did not have time to hike or take the byway but will definitely be returning to this sweet campground.  It was a welcome respite from travelling on the I-81.  The price was right to at $16 with the Senior Pass.

Nice level large sites. electricity hook ups available.  

DAY 2:  Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, TN  This is definitely one of my favorite places to camp.  Large sites and 1,720 acres of beauty surrounded by the lovely Byrd Lake, a man-made lake made by creating a dam on Byrd Creek in 1930.  There is a very striking stone bridge built by the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 to 1938.  They took the native “crab orchard sandstone” and created a gorgeous structure.  So sad I didn’t have time to paint it.  When you cross over the bridge it leads to a fantastic restaurant, The Homestead Harvest Restaurant.  The cuisine ranges in their offerings but our favorite fare is the catfish and baked chicken.   Both are served with southern favorites including greens, cornbread and mashed potatoes and gravy.  For desert the comforting banana pudding.  The first time we came here we sat in the lovely dining room overlooking the lake.  But in Covid days we did a take out. 

This whole project was constructed for the enjoyment of the residents of the area during the 1930’s when the  “Resettlement Administration” tried to help poverty stricken families.  Another project was  The “Homesteaders on Cumberland Plateau”  The first thing I noticed upon entering Cumberland’s historic district was the pretty little houses each donning  a pinkish stone façade. It reminded me of my childhood home growing up in Seat Pleasant, MD.   The “crab orchard sandstone” is native to this area and only found in the Cumberland County, TN.  In 1934 as part of the New Deal the homes were built for distressed farmers, miners and factory workers.  The project ended in the 1940’s but the houses remain today.  Many other buildings in the area utilize the lovely pinkish sandstone. 

Unfortunately was not able to get much painting in at these two parks. Shame on me, but that is what happens when you spend too much time travelling and not enough time enjoying the views and painting. Next time we stop that will be a priority!

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