Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the Price Family who once lived on Adventure Farm.
The Price Family came to Adventure Farm around 1920 and served as the tenant farmers for the owner Mr. Tayloe until 1950 when my grandfather bought the land. In exchange for the living in the house rent-free, and products farmed off the land, the Price Family agreed to take care of Adventure Farm.
They lived in a turn of the 20th century vernacular I-house, which sat on the hill next to where my grandparents built their house in 1952. It was made of wood and the exterior was painted a deep red. Inside were four rooms with heart pine floors and an attached kitchen. There was a phone, one of the earliest in the area and a privy out back. Six children were born and raised in the house. Rutledge House, about a mile and a half away, was the closest neighbor.
As we drove around the farm, an entourage of stories full of warmth and love spilled out and filled the spaces between us. I could envision where a smokehouse and chicken house once stood, how the land looked different with more woods and how joyful the simple upbringing had been. They spoke of the animals and crops and how wonderful living on Adventure Farm had been.
While building their new brick house, my grandparents lived in the old wooden house. After they moved out, my grandfather drug the I-house down the hill to where it currently sits.
Over the years, the house has been home to many occupants. First came the McCauleys who were great people, loyal and honest hard workers. In the late 60’s and early 70’s the house became “The Court House” when rented to UVA Law students. I recently met one gentleman at the Adventure Farm Tasting Room and he told me kind words about my grandfather. It is believed that he enjoyed having the young men on the farm.
In 1974, my mother and I moved in and this is where I spent all my formative years. I still have dreams where I am in the old house. I remember the old 4 paned windows with rope pulleys. The wainscot was high and dark in the downstairs hallway and rooms whereas upstairs it took on a more typical chair rail height. My favorite part was the green tin roof (the house by now was painted white and covered with shingles) which allowed for the rain to make the most pleasant sound.
In the spring of 1993, I came back home to be closer to my dying grandfather and I have never left. There have been weddings, memorial services and children born on the farm. Countless splinters from heart pine floors have been pulled and country mice heard running the walls escaping winter’s harsh reality. There have been dogs, one cat, hamsters and birds, all pets and a few wild snakes in the wrong places. The house has been gutted and refurbished to its original glory with an addition built in attempt to compliment but not disguise. The lake has grown larger so that I can now watch the ducks and great blue heron out my study. It is all the same and different at the same time.
The love felt for the land, the strong sense of place and importance of family are familiar threads which weave the Price family to mine. As they all drove off on that first cool fall day, I smiled, meeting these new faces and feeling akin to them though blood and time separate us, the land holds us together.
So Happy Thanksgiving to all. We are grateful for each other, for our home and the land. The attempt is to try each and every day to hold on to the miracle and beauty of life by opening our eyes and hearts to all those around us, all people, all animals and all the nature.