Rockfish River

Rockfish River above Schuyler



Rockfish Gap has been a natural gateway through the mountains for thousands of years, Once travelled by Indians and wildlife along a footpath from the coastal plain to the Ohio Valley, today a highway, four roads, two railroad lines, and the Appalachian Trail all converge on this spot. Black Bears still follow the route as they move from one valley to another, lumbering along on the shoulder of the road like pedestrians. The Blue Ridge Parkway begins here, heading south, as does Skyline Drive, going north. From the crest of the ridge there’s a view that stretches for 20 miles down the Rockfish Valley, and it’s one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. As many times as I pass through there, my heart still hurts when I see it. The Gap and the Valley both are named for the Rockfish River that winds below, and it’s astonishing to think the entire view was created by that little stream, small enough to throw a stone across. Continue reading “Rockfish River”


Mr. Cheek’s Pond


The Cheeks’ place is a few doors down, across from the old Presbyterian cemetery. They have a small pond between the hay field and the house, and it’s lined with trees. Neighborhood boys like to fish there in the summer. There’s a Tupelo Gum on the bank that, for a few mornings every fall, catches fire when the sun burns off the mist.




Keswick & Cismont

Cattail Pond, Cismont


For friends and family, former Virginians and ex-pats, people who no longer live where the leaves change color, here are your annual fall foliage postcards. I’ll try to do some every couple of days, so you can follow the progress. Continue reading “Keswick & Cismont”

Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

Detail, Canoe Jewelry


(to start of project)

The first weekend of October is the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival in St. Micheals, Maryland, at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I’ve been to four now. On my first visit in 2003 I saw a Melonseed for the first time and knew I wanted one (the same one is still tied up there, owned by one of the Museum volunteers). A year ago I came away so inspired it pushed me to take the plunge. Deciding I couldn’t put it off any longer, I began building these boats and started this blog. Terri and I went again this year, and it was an amazing weekend. I’ve come away newly inspired to finish the boats and get them on the water. Continue reading “Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival”


Notes on the Plan


(to start of project)

Visible progress is entering a slow phase as I take on a couple of tasks that require a lot of mental horsepower. Sometimes I get tired and just have to sit and think, or take a break from thinking, and then interesting things start to happen. Continue reading “Ruminations”

Mast Step



(to start of project)

Little parts take just as long to make as big ones. This is a disconcerting fact of woodwork. Some, however, take a really long time to make, especially if one has a propensity for making things more complicated. It took the long holiday weekend – four days in fact – to almost finish making just one little part for each boat: the Mast Step. Two of those days were spent just figuring out how to do it. Continue reading “Mast Step”

Imaginary Adventures


Stepping in for the second first time


(to start of project)

We had a little fun the other night. With the interiors starting to take shape, you start to wonder what it will feel like sitting inside them. I couldn’t resist.

It felt good.

Continue reading “Imaginary Adventures”