The Wool Factory

Yesterday I had the good fortune to attend a gathering with some of the board members of the National Women’s Political Caucus – Virginia (check us out!) at a super fun place called The Wool Factory, “a unique collaboration between chefs, brewers, winemakers, and coffee roasters aimed at creating a distinct food-and-beverage destination”.

As always when I travel and explore new places, I must know the history and the Wool Factory’s website provides it! Originally a water grist mill (1795), and later burned by the Union Army (1865), the Charlottesville Woolen Mills was established in 1868 and “became nationally known for their excellent production of fine military fabrics and uniforms, furnishing cloth for the majority of railroad workers and military schools”. The mill closed in 1962 and “the majority of the surviving mill buildings standing on the site today were built in 1920-1930s”.

What a cool, cool place this is! The beers are named after the original wool fabrics that were produced at the mill. Needing a light cold beer after a 100 mile motorcycle ride, I opted for the Poplin followed by the Flannel No. 2. These paired well with the Peruvian Chicken.

The excellent company of board members and friends kept me from exploring the site further, but I will be back with camera again in hand for further photo ops and the trying out of new beers (they also have cocktails!) and elevated bar food.

If you are near Charlottesville, Virginia be sure to plan a visit to this historic woolen mill.

Riding on Sundays

Sunday rides are my therapy!

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My campaign manager and I have carved out 6 hours in the week for time on the bike and time with friends.  While the rest of the week is devoted to work and the campaign, those 6 hours on Sunday are for ME!  This ride was extra special because my friends and I were celebrating my birthday.

Dave led us through Craig County, VA on our most recent ride, and as we traveled along those curvy mountain roads, I was wishing I had a go-pro on my helmet so I could share the beauty of this county.  We stopped at Fenwick Mines, the site of a 19th Century iron mining site.

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Offering a wheelchair accessible trail that winds through woods and across wetlands, Fenwick Mines is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

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The reflections on this overcast day kept me shooting.

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The water was so still that the blue sky, breaking through the clouds, was visible in this reflection.

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We rode on to Tizzone, a new wood-fired kitchen and wine bar, owned by a friend.

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We enjoyed the Charcuterie and Cheese Platter, and I followed it with a Wood-Fired Smoked‎ Gouda and fig spread on Ciabatta bread.  Accompanied by a Raven’s Roost Baltic Porter, it was a delicious birthday meal. The extensive wine and beer list will require a return visit with a DD.

We left Tizzone and headed out to Parkway Brewing, a 2 year old brewery with “Fresh Beers, Artfully Crafted in the Heart of the Blue Ridge”.

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Riding a bike significantly limits the intake of alcohol for me (obviously) but learning the history of the places we visit and listening to local music always provides great entertainment.

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Another Roadside Attraction is a “husband and wife duo from Roanoke who perform mostly original songs on a myriad of eclectic instruments: from the Mexican guitarron, to a variety of ukuleles, to the haunting musical saw, and a homemade recycled percussion setup”.  Can you see that Jordan is playing the musical saw in this image?  Be sure to check out the link.  Another Roadside Attraction travels the length of the US and will be heading to Mexico later in the year.

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Sunday Riding: a great way to celebrate a birthday!  I walked in the door and the downpour began, as did the campaign phone calls.  I’m already counting down to next Sunday!