So after we toured Monticello we had decided to build in another leisurely driving day, this was a vacation after all. We decided to drive-by Polyface Farm on our way back to make sure we knew where we were going, and just because we wanted to – the farm was the whole reason for the trip in the first place. So we put the farm address into Waze, left Charlottesville and headed toward the farm (or so we thought).
You might remember from an earlier post that the Farmer said we were trying out Waze as a directional app and that they all have some quirks. At one point, on our way back, Waze directed us to turn onto the “Old Virginia Turnpike” . There actually seemed to be a sign that indicated the road we turned onto was the “Old Virginia Turnpike” and originally it started out paved. After a ways it turned to gravel, then it turned narrower and twisty and eventually it turned into a one-lane dirt goat path that went on for miles. GPS and satellite signals were non-existent, sporadic or few-and-far between and not necessarily in that order. Many miles into the path, where we had a top speed of approximately 15 mph, we finally got an updated signal and according to Waze the path we were on went around in a circle, with no apparent way off for probably another 15 miles.
Pulling over into a small clearing we decided we really didn’t want to drive on this particular road for the next 10-15 miles at 12-15 mph. Options were discussed and it was decided that we would turn around and head back to concrete highways and more visible indications of civilization. The return drive (back to the highway Ben Stone…) was uneventful and went much faster since we had already been down “that road” once. There were “drive-ways” deep down that forest road, we even saw a “property for sale” sign once, it reminded the Farmer of a lot of properties deep in the Ozarks, where we used to vacation at my Uncle’s cabin when everyone was younger. Probably a nice, remote place to live, but it might be tough to commute from there to a day job, so definitely off-grid homesteading possibilities if you are leaning that direction. Check out Staunton, VA real estate here.
So at that point we ended up back in Staunton and being a mite peckish decided to stop at the Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House. We weren’t expecting much and man were we blown away by this place. It was early afternoon on a weekday, so the place wasn’t that busy but their pizza options were varied and delicious. They had some excellent local brews on tap and if you are passing anywhere near Staunton, VA, we would highly recommending stopping in for a slice. It really hit the spot and clearly we can’t say enough good things about the place. Try if for yourself. After the bite to eat we decided to go ahead and drive out to Polyface and see what the trip was like, get the “lay of the land”, so to speak.
It’s about a 20-30 minute drive out to Polyface from Staunton. The roads were mostly paved (except for the last mile or so) and it was a lovely drive, right until the heavens opened up and unleashed a driving rain you literally couldn’t see through for more than a few hundred feet. The rain combined with the winding roads and unfamiliar territory did slow us down considerably. The last mile or so turned into gravel, with exceptionally large potholes (reminded us of Topeka roads) that you couldn’t really see because they were full of water. We apologized to our suspension multiple times on that drive. Finally we did arrive at Polyface. We decided based on the rain not to go on in (they are open any day you care to go, farm operation transparency is their thing). We decided to turn around, head back towards Staunton and get to our Airbnb location for the night.
We were booked into a stay at Fordell Farm near Staunton, VA. We were really looking forward to staying at the Fordell Airbnb site. The Airbnb listing looked fantastic and we weren’t disappointed, and the owners have really set the place up to make the stay very pleasant. There are currently several options and we stayed in the apartment suite attached to the main house. There was a walk-out patio, with a nice sitting area and the suite itself was very cozy. The owners have put a lot of effort into making the experience traveler friendly and inviting. The space was super clean, the furnishings comfortable, informative visitor information was provided about things to do in the area, places to eat and coffee table books on the history of the area. When we arrived we had a nice chat with Randy the owner. Even though there was a light rain, it was great to just sit for a while under the umbrella on the patio without having to be anywhere. Randy was easy to talk to, not intrusive and very knowledgeable about the history of the area. Overall, if all Airbnb experiences were all like this we would never stay anywhere else.
Next up: Polyface Farm Tour!