The countryside at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, early one November morning.
The photos above and below reveal the heart of Virginia**, the land near the northern part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a hotly contested area during the Civil War (Lee formed a barrier that ran through the area and stretched across the northern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia from the mountains to the Chesapeake Bay). The photos are not altered. The skies over Virginia really are this blue during the winter months on cool crisp days.
Today the area is largely the domain of land-owing millionaires, like Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek, However, many residents are the descendants of early settlers, who fought in America’s Revolution, and were rewarded with land for their service by a Continental Congress strapped for cash.
These ancestors were former indentured Scots-Irish and English, and from Wales and elsewhere, with large influx of German origin settlers who in-migrated before and after the Revolution (hence place names like Germantown, and Germanna). Today, the inhabitants are mostly white, although freed African-Americans settled in the Independent cities along Route 81 in the Great Valley of Virginia. (The Virginia plantations with slaves lay to the East in the coastal or Tidewater area).
This area, known as the Piedmont or “foot of the mountains, was the home of the yeomen farmers, the original Democrats so beloved of Thomas Jefferson. They loved Virginia and hated the central government that developed in Washington under Lincoln and the Republicans, the so-called Yankee Leviathan.
**In Virginia, the northern part of the state is mostly suburbs and exurbs of Washington DC and known as NOVA or northern Virginia. The rest of the state is disparagingly called ROVA or (rest of Virginia) by NOVA residents. In the past few decades as the federal government grew exponentially, NOVA experienced a huge influx of migrants from other countries, and northern densely populated states like New Jersey and New York. Demographically, NOVA is nothing like ROVA.
I am linking this post to Skywatch Friday (link at left in blogroll). As Sallie over at Fulltime Living says, it’s the meme for folks who like to look up.