It’s official! After much consideration, our 36 foot travel trailer has been named “Memory Maker”. It’s the most appropriate name, because we hope to make many traveling memories in it over the next few years! We plan to spend time in the mid-Atlantic region, as well as further up and down the east coast. One of our most important goals is to trek to as many National Parks as we can.
If this first full weekend in the trailer is any indication, there are Many Memories for us to Make, but it does require that we be OPEN to them!! We spent the weekend with new friends Linda and Dawn. I’d met Dawn three months ago at an Alzheimer’s conference and we joined them at Natural Bridge, VA where they’d already spent a week. Our campsites were across from each other, and we had dinner on Friday night at an awesome seafood buffet at the National Bridge Inn. The main attraction of the buffet is a huge pot of crab legs that’s almost as big as I am! They constantly re-fill the pot throughout the evening! Amazing!
Dinner was scrumptious! We all had such a blast getting to know each other. We all felt like family. On Saturday, Tim and I covered the area, taking in the mile walk to Natural Bridge, the waterfall at the end of the trek, then exploring the caverns, and finally taking in the beautiful college town of Lexington. We ended the night playing Scrabble on our campsite deck with Linda and Dawn.
But the most important Memory of the weekend for me was a trip to Layne’s Country Store. We originally had driven by it, but it looked inviting, so we made a U-turn and went back. As soon as we entered the store, you could tell it was a really historic place. Part history, and a very well-stocked country store. Then I saw them, Confederate Flags in several displays in the store. I was thinking to myself, “ok, we need to get out of here”. Just as I was about to collect Tim who was over at the homemade jelly counter, a woman came from behind the counter and said “hey y’all, how ya doin? Let me know if I can help you find anything.” She and Tim immediately got into a discussion about jelly and they were both laughing as if they were old friends. I paused and held my tongue about wanting to leave, because the store worker seemed genuinely warm, AND happy that we were in the store!
After we’d been speaking for several minutes with the friendly woman, a gentleman came from behind the counter too and offered us a sample of country ham and hoop cheese (cheese made only in June). We loved our samples and ended up getting free recipes, buying half a ham, some country bacon and the hoop cheese. They asked how we wanted our items cut and wrapped, and treated us like royalty. They recommended the best way to travel with our ham, and for cooking it. But the most impressive thing for us was the history lesson we received. They felt like family to us, and as it turned out, Layne’s country store was indeed all about family. The young woman who was so pleasant as she waited on us was the granddaughter of the founder of the store, and the man who gave us the samples was her dad. While we were finishing up our purchases, the father and grandfather of the employees and the founder of Layne’s Country Store arrived. He too talked with us about recipes and showed his granddaughter where the pamphlets on the store’s history were located so she could give us one to take home.
We must have been in that store for 45 minutes.and it was one of the best “in-store” experiences we’ve had in years!! What a great time! Turns out, the confederate flags that had temporarily aggravated me, were in a museum section of the store focused on Old Virginia – sold with other medals, and war memorabilia. If I had reacted just to the flags and left the store without interacting with the Layne family, it would definitely have been our loss.
The camping was awesome, and even in the rain, we made a lot of memories this weekend that involved scenery, relaxation and fun! But what will stay in my mind most from this weekend is all about Southern Hospitality, Genuineness and Family – learned from a country store called Layne’s!! So our vehicle, Memory Maker has lived up to its name already!!
What memories did you make this weekend?? I hope they were great ones! Big or small, memories are moments that are priceless!