December 2009 Issue


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In the December 2009 issue of Virginia Living, you’ll find the glorious antebellum Oak Ridge estate as well as the humble, centuries-old log cabins of Rockbridge County … whose residents might well have enjoyed the persimmon, another issue highlight. We examine how West Virginia came to be, and we unravel how a Mariners’ Museum archivist stole myriad bits of history. There’s a serious dose of the 21st century too, with a wild ride through dynamic Fairfax. Also inside: nutty sweets for the nutty season, an antiques expert and a polo phenom, chocolate, Todd Jurich’s Bistro in Norfolk, a trek in the Peru highlands, Colonial Williamsburg Christmas trimming stats, and much more.

Machu Picchu is magical, but there is more to do in Peru’s majestic mountain chain—namely, make the Ausangate Trek, up and around one of South America’s highest peaks, where you can see glaciers, alpaca herds and the indigenous Quechua people. Read more


Restoring the grandeur of an antebellum compound takes labor, money and love. Read more

, House + Garden 5 Comments

nut sweets

Photography by Kip Dawkins, food styling by J Frank, prop styling by Tyler Darden

… or a Christmas carol mash-up in which we fight nuts with nuts. Read more


Caffeine-Stoked Revolt

Sterling Hundley

Wherein illustrator Sterling Hundley recalls a mob scene at Charlton's Coffeehouse. Read more


Hard cider lifts spirits Read more


Marzipan Balls

Kip Dawkins

Roll up, roll up. Read more


Christmas Cookies

Kip Dawkins

A seasonal sugary snack Read more


Fairfax feat

Nick LaClair

Fairfax County is something of welcome anomaly—the Old Dominion's busy, brash and diverse economic powerhouse. Read more


snow geese feat

Robert Meganck

Greater snow geese, copious and invincible. Read more


Antiques expert Ken Farmer, a regular on Antiques Roadshow, talks about his love of American folk art, how he got started in the business. Read more

Culture 3 Comments

wolf web

David Deal

Isabella Wolf aims to conquer the polo gender gap. Read more

Travel 1 Comments

Guingon feat

Angelou Guingon

Painter Angelou Guingon likes to mix the mundane with the menacing, which may explain the punch in his minimalist, surrealist-style works. Read more


Mariners feat

Courtesy of the Mariners' Museum

Over a nearly six-year period, a Mariners’ Museum archivist named Lester Weber systematically stole thousands of historical documents from the institution, including material related to the sinking of the Titanic, and then sold them on eBay. Read more

Culture 5 Comments

gearharts feat

Courtesy of Gearharts

Charlottesville’s favorite chocolate shop is branching out. Read more


Pre-1863 Virginia map

Courtesy of the Virginia Historical society

John Brown’s raid, 150 years ago, was a practical failure with massive ramifications. It lit the fuse leading to the Civil War, and, as MARY MILEY THEOBALD writes, set in motion the creation of the 35th state, “West, by God, Virginia.” Read more


Beginning nearly three centuries ago, Scotch-Irish settlers built log cabins throughout Rockbridge County. More than 400 of these earliest of American homes still stand—some abandoned, others partially renovated or restored. Read more

Culture 2 Comments

Tiffany lamps Paris

Jay Paul

A new exhibit of the U.S. designer’s decorative work is on display in Paris, featuring 14 works from the VMFA’s collection. Read more


Hard to find and tricky to eat, the persimmon is deeply connected to rustic holiday food traditions. Head for fields and woodlands—and look up! Photography by Tyler Darden Read more

House + Garden 3 Comments

squashapenny feat

Chris White

Squashapenny Junction, in Doswell, is a former country store full of stuff “hollering out” from another time. Read more


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