Not-so-traditional Thanksgiving

K and Belle (L-R)
The Girls (L-R), K and Belle

I hope you folks in the US enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Ours was interesting.

As I mentioned the other day, we didn’t have any meal plans for turkey day. A couple of weeks ago, when I was cataloging VA LOVEworks I still needed to capture, I mentioned planning a trip in the car, since Winter is approaching. Hubby said he’d go along, so I suggested doing it on Thanksgiving.

Hubby started a diet recently, and I knew we wouldn’t be preparing a traditional meal for the two of us. So I figured a road trip would be better than sitting around the house.

Not only did Hubby go along, we took the furkids, too. That’s something we rarely do. In fact, we’ve never spent the night in a hotel with these two. K is a good car rider. Belle doesn’t like car rides. Neither of them gets carsick, thank goodness, but Belle does a lot of panting unless we’re on an interstate or other smooth, fast-moving road. I was a bit worried that they’d be a real nuisance, but they actually did good on the ride.

Overview Map
Overview Map

I’d planned on capturing seven of the large LOVEworks and one smaller one, which I knew to be indoors. I also included two roadside oddities, which I knew wouldn’t be enjoyed by all participants. But, since both were in areas we’d be passing through anyway, I included them.

Traveling in a clockwise direction, our first stop was in Lynchburg. Wait, I mean our first planned stop was in Lynchburg, we first had to stop at Wal-Mart to buy a dog leash. We’d forgotten to grab the leashes before leaving home and could only find one in the car.

My Traveling Companions at the Lynchburg LOVEwork

Mike, being a good sport, tried to get both of the girls to look at me for a pic. I took about ten shots before giving up.

Also in Lynchburg, within sight of the LOVEwork, were “the red high-heeled shoes of a giantess,” as described on

Giant Red Shoes along the Lynchburg Waterfront

Not knowing when, if ever, I’d get back to Lynchburg, I wanted to see the shoes. There were other oddities, like an enema collection, large metal water pitcher, and Easter Island head, but I didn’t want to push it.

Crazy Clouds

From there, we headed south and west toward Lambsburg. The LOVEwork is actually located at the Virginia Welcome Center along the northbound side of I-77, so we dipped down into North Carolina then headed north on the interstate.

The weather was warm — mid-60s F / about 18 C — dry, and partly cloudy, which made for some interesting skies.

Lambsburg LOVEwork
Lambsburg LOVEwork

That’s my favorite LOVE image from the trip. The light was perfect and there was a break in the clouds.

From there, we headed west toward Abingdon, where we’d reserved a hotel room for the night. A good bit of the Lambsburg-to-Abingdon leg was along The Crooked Road Trail (a portion of US-58), which goes past Grayson Highlands State Park, a place I’d been wanting to visit. I’d read there was a pretty good view from the park. As it turns out, the Internet was right.

View from Grayson Highlands State Park
View from Grayson Highlands State Park

I’d hoped to see downtown Abingdon’s Main Street at night, but Hubby was tired after those 380 miles in the car. The girls needed some people time, too. So, we got a mediocre-to-crappy meal at Cracker Barrel, which was right next to the hotel, then hunkered down for the night. (By sheer coincidence, Abingdon was almost exactly the halfway point of our journey.)

After a yummy breakfast, we were off.

Abingdon LOVEwork
Abingdon LOVEwork

I’d stopped in Abingdon in July, but the sculpture had been damaged during a storm and removed for repair, so I missed it. I’m glad I got the chance to go back. Not capturing the Abingdon piece wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but it’s a pretty town in a very nice area.

We also stopped at Holston Mountain Artisans, a craft co-op which has an indoor LOVEwork I’d hoped to see. They have a barn quilt on the outside of their building, so I actually got a chance to see a full-size barn quilt up close for the first time. (The standard side on a big barn is 8′ by 8′ (about 2.5 x 2.5 meters) square.

Holston Mountain Artisans' Barn Quilt
Holston Mountain Artisans’ Barn Quilt

Hubby actually discovered a second, smaller barn quilt behind the building, which I’ll share later. Sadly, the shop didn’t open for another hour or so and we had a lot of ground to cover, so off we went.

Dricing northeast toward Tazewell
Driving northeast toward Tazewell

I forgot to mention earlier that it was a very pretty day for a drive.

The next planned stop was Tazewell, where we’d capture the piece I was most excited about seeing.

Seen along the drive to Tazewell.
Seen along the drive to Tazewell.

I couldn’t resist stopping to see the barn quilts on this not-yet-open arts center. Speaking of barn quilts… wanna know why I was so excited about seeing the Tazewell piece, which was also added very recently?

It is a barn quilt LOVEwork! I’m not doing a barn quilt scavenger hunt, I just really enjoy seeing them.

Tazewell LOVEwork

That piece is in a really, really cool location, too, which I’ll tell you about in a separate post.

Blacksburg LOVEwork
Blacksburg LOVEwork

Not all LOVEworks have to be standalone art works. The Blacksburg piece is a very nicely done mural.

We also revisited neighboring Christiansburg to capture a pic of the piece we’d ridden past in July because it was rush hour and too dang hot to stop.

Again, not seeing it wouldn’t have been a big deal. There are no hard and fast rules to this self-imposed scavenger hunt, but since we were in the area, we stopped.

Christiansburg LOVEwork
Christiansburg LOVEwork

We were supposed to see a seventh LOVEwork. Unfortunately, I’d failed to notice that the LOVEwork at the Silver Hearth Lodge, which was one of the more-recent additions to the growing list of sites, is on private property and you’re supposed to make a appointment to see the thing. We took our chances and drove up to the lodge anyway, but didn’t see the LOVEwork.

I don’t think pieces should be included  on the official/master list of LOVEworks unless they are publicly accessible around the clock. I can’t be the only person to have driven to see a specific piece only to be thwarted because a piece was behind closed gates and/or doors.

The next-to-last planned stop for the day was a must-see for me. I missed it the first time I visited Roanoke.

I had planned the route, but Hubby was in charge of entering it into the GPS. His label for the next stop should tell you how unexcited he was about that one.

Just another stupid roadside oddity…

was excited, but the girls were ambivalent.

My first Paul Bunyan Muffler Man
My first Paul Bunyan Muffler Man

I should have made the girls get out of the car, but sunset was fast approaching and I wanted Hubby to see downtown Roanoke. As it turns out, he wasn’t impressed.

Looking west from Roanoke, just before sunset.
Looking west from Roanoke, just before sunset.

That was the end of day two. Not counting the uneventful drive home from Roanoke. I think it was just before 8:00 p.m. when we got back to Warrenton. The girls were especially excited to be back home. We were, too.

Now, if I could just muster up an iota of Christmas spirit, I might get something done today.

In search of some Christmas spirit.


9 Replies to “Not-so-traditional Thanksgiving”

  1. quite a range of interpretation for the LOVE displays.

    I liked the one of the mural on the side of the brick building….but then, I’ve always like stained glass artwork…even ones not made of glass.

    1. Dom, I really enjoy seeing the variety of creative interpretations. The more pieces I see, the more I appreciate the ones where the artist has incorporated a theme or placed the piece in a location that complements the work. It’s been an interesting hunt.

  2. At least the GPS waypoint wasn’t labeled “Yet another oddity”.

    The barn quilts are my favorite things. I’ve never heard of them before this blog and now they stand out whenever I see them.

  3. The enema collection was better left a “what-if” visit, I think. The rest was beautiful country between stops, no doubt.

    1. Andrew, I agree on the enema exhibit. Southwestern Virginia really is a pretty place. Especially the spot where the Tazewell LOVEwork is located. I’ll explain that in a separate post after I get some stuff done. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. A fun way to spend the holiday. I really enjoy seeing all the LOVE works since we don’t have anything like that here. Brad noticed a barn quilt a few weeks ago. Next time we take the back way to Salem we’ll stop for a picture for you.

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