In Loving Memory of Earl Hamner

July 10, 1923 - March 24, 2016
 

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Our trip to Walton's Mountain

 

We started our journey in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ariving from Frankfurt, we stayed for two days in a hotel in downtown Atlanta. In these two days we discovered some of very interested places in Atlanta. I was very interested in the history of Dr. Martin Luther King, an American pastor and civil rights activist (born on 01/15/1929 in Atlanta and murdered on 04/04/1968 in Memphis, Tennessee). Dr. Martin Luther King had been a hero to me in my youth by his completely peaceful protest in the struggle against racial discrimination. So I wanted to see necessarily the environment of his childhood and his subsequent action.

Not far away from downtown Atlanta is a area, called Sweet Auburn. In this area Dr. Martin Luther King was born and raised. It is named the National Historic District, which is dedicated to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Here you can visit his parents' house in which he lived until his 13th year, the memorials, his tomb and the tomb of his wife, Coretta King, who died in 2006).

Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther King

All facilities can be visited free of charge, also the birthplace. There was a very interesting and lively tour thru the house. We could ask questions and I could feel how much the guide loves her job.

Geburtshaus von Dr. Martin Luther King

Birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, in which he grew up until his 13th age

In the memorial you will find original items from the life of Martin Luther King, for example his shoes and clothing, his notebook, his prayer-book and much more. On many monitors you can watch his speeches, reports, and it shows contemporary films about the racial discrimination and of course there are also a lot of display boards with pictures and reports issued.

With the free tours every person has the opportunity to learn about the life and work of Martin Luther King and about that time of discrimination and racial segregation. A very good idea.

Dr. Martin Luther King Gedenkstätte

Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial

I was deeply impressed and very touched by the encounter with the life of Martin Luther King and the still ongoing reference to this man.

After two very beautiful and exciting days in Atlanta, we took our rental car which we already booked in Germany and made our way north.

Walton's Mountain - here we come!

At the end of the first day we stayed in a very nice hotel in Ashville, North Carolina, only about 1 mile away from access to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were very excited.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The next morning, after a typical breakfast of eggs - over easy fried - and crispy bacon with toast and coffee, we went up directly on the Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway is an approximately 750-mile route through the Appalachian Mountains, beginning as an extension of the Great Smokey Mountains in the south and ending in the Shenandoah National Park. The Blue Ridge Parkway pass over into the Skyline Drive.

Friends of the Waltons will remember the double episode "The conflict" in the 3rd Season, in which the construction of this road and the consequences for the mountaineers has been showed.

On the Parkway is a speed limit of 45 mi/h (ca. 70 km/h). On some places you are only allowed to drive 35 mi / h. That is okay because the Parkway shows so much of natural beauty - you need time to enjoy.

Again and again, there are vantage points where we stood amazed and silent, looked over vast valleys to the horizon and we had the feeling to look at the other end of the continent. Nothing is heard except the birds and the rustle of leaves in the wind. Sounds corny, but it is definitely so.

In den Blue Ridge Mountains

In the Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

On the whole route on the Parkway you can find visitor centers which are like small museums, where you get all sorts of information and of course, can buy one or another souvenir. Somehow I had the feeling that people are very proud of their kingdom of nature and they like to give any information to their visitors they are asking for.

A visit to the Visitor Center is strongly recommended.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains

 

Blue Ridge Mountains

Many times we saw deer crossing the road, many turkeys, squirrels and birds of prey, only a bear we unfortunately not met, although I constantly peered searchingly into the forest (from the car, of course ...). Too bad, because there are many bears in the area, as we were assured.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Two full days we went through this breathtaking landscape, in thick fog, with most heavy rain, blue sky and glorious sunshine. Two days only nature, hardly a house, hardly any other car we met. I think we were lucky. In autumn during the Indian Summer when the leaves are discolored, the streets must be full of cars. I can not imagine that at all.

 

Eine verlassene Behausung aus vergangenen Tagen in den Blue Ridge Mountains

An abandoned dwelling house from bygone days in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Das große Tal

The Big Valley

Peaks of Otter

Peaks of Otter


At the end of the second day on the Parkway we arrived at our destination, the Orchard House in Lovingston. A beautiful bed and breakfast I always had dreamed of. A big white wooden house with a large veranda and rocking chairs, surrounded by beautiful nature. A long driveway up the hill took us to the Orchard House, our home for the next two days. Deb and Richard greeted us like old friends, led us through the whole house and finally to our room on the first floor. From here we had a view of the long driveway, the land and in the background, the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wow ! Wow!

Unsere Unterkunft in der Nähe des Walton Mountain Museums

Our accommodation near the Walton Mountain Museum

Blick von der Veranda

View from the porch

Den gleichen Blick hatten wir aus unserem Zimmer Blick von Veranda Richtung Scheune

The same view we had from our room view from the porch towards barn

Unser Zimmer im Orchard House

Our room in Orchard House

First of all we layed in our bed, needed 10 minutes to realize we are almost there, then off to the bathroom, quickly refreshed and then out into the car.Schuyler, where you are - here we come!

Although it was 7 p.m and the museum was already closed, no matter, I wanted to see it. So we went to my instructions, "the abbreviation" which brought us deeper into the forest. On the left and right side behind the trees we could see small houses, but there was neither a sign nor even any town, no matter how small . After it was getting dark and the Waltons Mountain Museum did not appear in the vicinity, we turned over and drove back the whole distance.

Hier irgendwo muss es doch sein, Waltons Mountain ....

Somewhere around here it should be - Walton's Mountain ....

Then back onto Route 29 and still a little furtherto the north and than turn right in and run and run .....

Eventually a sign on the museum, now we are right way. The excitement and anticipation grew and suddenly a road sign - Schuyler! Juhu !!! Juhu! Once again right up the road and turn right again and then we stood in the parking lot of the Walton's Mountain Museum. Done.

For years I was dreaming about it and now I'm standing here and still need to wait quite a long night until it opens again, mmmmhh.

Anyway, we're there.

Frühstück im Orchard House

Breakfast in the Orchard House

The next morning after a very exceptional but super delicious tasting hot breakfast - it was a kind of peach soufflè and hot coffee - , we went for the second time the direction to Walton's Mountain. This time we have found it quite easy, smile.

Hier irgendwo muss es doch sein, Waltons Mountain ....

Hier irgendwo muss es doch sein, Waltons Mountain ....

At 11 a.m. we arrived at the museum. The sky was bright blue and the sun shone gloriously warm. In the parking lot outside the museum were only one or two other cars. With my membership card (for the museum, get the card every year of my loved ones for Christmas), I received free admission. Otherwise, admission costs $ 6.

Manfred (my friend) also immediately became a member of the museum. The membership card presented from Patrick who is the editior of the Blue Ridge Chronicle, a quarterly newspaper of the museum (Waltonfans knows what I mean). After Patrick heard Manfred's name, he said, "Oh, you're the one who extended the annual mebership-card every year for Christmas as a gift for a friend." We were speechless !!!.

Patrick turned out to be a real Walton dictionary. Since we were the only visitors in the museum, and it remained approximately the next 2 hours, we got a personal tour of the museum with him. Patrick declared every room, always pointing toward the little things which may slip the attention because of the variety of the exhibited objects, pictures, books and much more.

Die große Halle, von der alle anderen Räume abgehen

The great hall

We were so fascinated about the museum. that we stayed there for four (4) hours. First we entered a very large hall which is equipped with chairs and tables. In the background is a small stage. The museum is also used as a community center. Three walls of the grat hall are all equipped with pictures and reports on the Waltons, the Hamner family and the place Schuyler. From the great Hall you go to smaller rooms such as John-Boys Room, Ike Godseys Store (where you can buy wonderful Waltonsmemorials ), the living room, the kitchen, the script room and on the other side the the recipe room and more.

John-Boy's Zimmer

John-Boy's Zimmer

All of them are reconstructed rooms. John-Boys room confused me a bit because in the series the bed was on the left wall,in the museum it is on the right one, however. Probablyit was impossible to put the bed on the left side for technical reasons.


 

Alte Bekannte

Old friends

Waltonfan

Waltonfan

Living room, kitchen, and John-Boys room are separated by a thick cord, so you can only have a look but should not touch the furniture, etc..

I was particularly impressed by the living room and the kitchen. Of course, the rooms do not have the scale of the Waltonhouse (or better of the studios) but the rooms are very successful made. There I told Patrick that you can feel the love for the Waltons in this museum very much.

In the kitchen you see the ironing board with turned on iron, on the small table are the ingredients for baking and on the dining table you can see few cookies laying there for the kids. Olivia and grandmother are probably just walked out of the room ......

Küche

In the living room are pictures of the family on a side table and on the coffee table Grandfather and Elizabeth have just a game of ludo played.

Wohnzimmer

There is a script room with many scripts of The Waltons and also of other series written by Earl Hamner. On the other side of the great hall you go into the recipe room. There, standing next to an old sofa you can see an old recipe machine, which was used to distill spirits - sorry, I mean the recipe was made with it - and it still would work today, says Patrick.

Then there is another room where you can see a fantastic replica of the entire Waltonscenery including Waltonhouse, barn, garden shed, carpentry, chicken house, car, tree, tree house, swings and much more. It is all handmade by Julie Landis from Missouri, a big Waltonfan. Julie needed about 6 months to produce this masterpiece and she transported it over 750 miles to Schuyler to donate it to the museum. Wow! Manfred has filmed everything exactly determined and he made about 50 detailed photographs. I am already looking forward to my Christmas gift !! Always wanted to have a small Waltonhouse.

Further there are replicas of Ike Godseys store, gas station and a car as well as the legendary Waltonhouse dollhouse, a donation of Patrick ( this house is much bigger than I thought).

Well, as we were standing in front of the Walton livingroom Patrick asked us if we would like to get photographed by him for one of the next issues of the Blue Ridge Cronicle. ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄhhh ? Yeeeees!

So he took his camera, removed the cord and told us to sit down on the Walton´s sofa. So we were sitting in the Waltons living room! Hello !!!

Somehow it was like a dream, I was all mixed up. Patrick made some more pictures with our camera for us. Meanwhile he sent me his own pictures by email. I'm curious how I will look like in the Blue Ridge Chronicle ( thank God, it is only in black and white).

Zwei auf Wolke sieben....

Two on cloud nine ....

Finally we watched with about 15 other visitors the 30-minute film about the Waltons from the early 90's. At the beginning Patrick told us about the history of Schuyler. In the past this place had more than 7000 inhabitants, a hospital, two hotels, two cinemas, petrol stations and much more. Today you can not longer imagine that because in principle in Schuyler exist the museum, a church, a souvenir shop with 3 bed and breakfast rooms, the Hamner house, a post office (where the son of the director of the Walton museum works) and two or 3 other houses. If you drive out of the center of Schuyler to the forest along the street you'll find on the right and left side of the road the typical single-family houses with their mailboxes on the street and the American flag on the porch. Probably they all belong to Schuyler.

Finally we had "a little" shopping at Ike (Patrick) and then we said Goodbye to everybody. When we came into the parking lot we were thrilled by everthing we have seen. So many details, the museum was much nicer and bigger than we thought and the people there simply great. Friendly, helpful, interested in us and in general ...

Ike's neue Aushilfe

Ike's new assistance

Thank you for establish this museum - thank you for that ! Well done !!!

Then we went to the Hamner house which is located across the street from the museum. The Hamner house is still unter renovation. Later the house will be open to the public. Unfortunately it was not yet so far.

A few yards away is the Church. We walked around a bit and snapped a few photos. What we have done with the rest of the day, I can not say for sure. I was just filled with many impressions. In bed at night when we were looking at the pictures with your digital camera we decided spontaneously to visit the museum again the next day.

After our departure from the Orchard House and Richard and Deb the next morning we arrived again at the Walton's Mountain Museum. This time conscious without video camera ( and unfortunately without Patrick), but with much more calm (because without a camera), we once again enjoyed every minute in the museum for another 90 minutes.

Later, we said goodbye to the director and her assistants (after I was shopping a little more at Ike).

Outside I sat on the edge of the parking lot under a tree at a picnic table, pulled out my journal and put my thoughts and feelings down on paper, while Manfred walked again to the Hamner house and the church to snap a few more good photos.

he childhood home of Earl Hamner. Right up the road stands the Walton's Mountain Museum.


The Church in Schuyler

Rockfish River

On the road again ....


Then it was really time to say Goodbye. The trunk filled with our luggage, we drove to meet the rest of our holiday, secretly knowing that the highlight of our trip we had just left behind us.

And so it happened. .

Blue Ridge Parkway and Walton's Mountain - we'll come back.

Promise!

Waltonfans Dagmar & Manfred

 
 
 
Links
Walton's Mountain Museum
Blue Ridge Parkway



   

  
       

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