October 11 – Orange to Gordonsville

Day 14.  500 Mile Journey to Salem. Orange, VA to Gordonsville, VA. About 10 miles. 36,000 steps. Overcast skies. Hilly. High 71. We had about 15 walkers today, our largest number since Bethlehem! AND, we had a GREAT time!! As this was a shorter mile day, we started the day touring the grounds of Montpelier, the home of James Madison.  Absolutely gorgeous and well preserved, I strongly suggest adding this incredible piece of history to your tour of this area. Numerous photos in this post. We then walked several stunning and serene miles to our picnic spot on the land of one of Betsy’s friends. Lunch was a catered box lunch feast, again executed by Betsy (can you tell we LOVE Betsy???!! – with help from her Academy classmate – Susan Garrett) – as you can tell, we loved the picnic format AND the food!! After another amazing afternoon walk, we arrived at Wolftrap Farm, our home for the night! We were greeted by horses and cows as we walked into the property – the perfect welcoming committee!! Some of our group enjoyed the hot tub, some toured the property by golf cart, and some simply sat and soaked in the scenery.  We had a wonderful lecture on James Madison by Hillary, followed by an INCREDIBLE BBQ dinner (also by Betsy), complete with slaw, cornbread, broccoli salad, collard greens and even miniature pumpkin muffins! DELICIOUS!! All in all, just about a perfect day! This Journey team of volunteers and supporters is astounding in every way. It was especially rewarding to host Katherine Knapp Watts today (and her classmates, friends, brother), Salem’s leader of all things 250. What a wonderful job she has done creating the magic…  thanks to her, and to everyone involved, for making this happen. And, once again, thanks to Holt Long Morris, our orchestra conductor, for her expert use of the magic wand!
#mysalemjourney. #journey2salem

– Lucy Rose C’76

Day 14 Journey to Salem. Fun short day today! 2 weeks complete🎉 🏃‍♀️🎉🌞💜💛
Started by touring the beautiful gardens of James Madison’s house, Montpelier. Loved having some more Salem folks join us for the day!! Delicious picnic lunch provided by our fabulous VA hostess, Betsy Brantley. #mysalemjourney #journey2salem

Debbie Faires A’82

Day 14 and 10 miles… a rest day. We walked from Montpelier (James Madison home) to WolfTrap Farm.

The Montpelier trails were steep, colorful, and very quiet. We enjoyed a picnic on the pasture of a Montpelier neighbor. Many single day walkers joined us which made the day far more full and interesting. Salem Alums always seem to make fast friends with anyone and especially each other.

Our embedded PBS Documentary team now has a camera drone which has become the talk of the trail. We are still getting used to them being around us all the time. When I had to “water a tree” on the trail this morning I asked that they stop rolling. Of course they have been wonderful professionals. I’m enjoying learning more about all their equipment!

The #wolftrapfarm accommodations are probably my favorite so far! The quiet setting is set far off the main road with friendly quarter horses, cows, geese, and dogs. We have a golf cart to get around!

My thoughts are with my home and family more than ever on this long holiday weekend. I have missed my daughter’s Fall break @salemacademy, my son’s soccer tournament, my Aunt’s 70th birthday, and decorating for Halloween with my husband. I was looking forward to a once and a lifetime chance to “go back to college” for a month long “Jan term” like immersive experience— which apparently includes homesickness. Just like college I am learning a lot, stretching my boundaries, meeting new people and forging lifelong friendships. To gain all this, it’s been tough to let go of my familiar life.  #mysalemjourney #arewethereyet #hiking #virginiaisforlovers

– Frances Cronlund C’98

Strava Map – Day 14