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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movern Park - It's Basically the American Downton Abbey...

Another Sunday afternoon makes for another chance to out and see the sights - I've seen people remark before that my parents seem like they don't ever just stop and sit still and that's right...they don't. I've been caught up in that since I moved here and now that I'm here, I understand why they don't stop. There is far too much to see in this area! I mean, when antebellum mansions, Civil War battlefields and National parks are all just a stone's throw away, wouldn't you be going too?

My parents had a Groupon for an antebellum home in Leesburg (about 40 minutes from our house) called Movern Park and the Groupon was a tour for four. Sadly, we were lacking our fourth but since the coupon had to be used before the end of the year, we decided Sunday afternoon was as good a time as any and we headed out. I didn't google the place before we left and really had no clue what we were going to see, so when we parked and made our way through the gardens to the house, I was a little bit shocked. It's huge!

The Davis House at Movern Park

Hello - it's gorgeous! When can I move in?
The tour we were scheduled for wasn't until 4 and so we had about fifteen minutes to kill before reporting back to the house to take the tour. We walked to the Carriage House, the stables and an old Civil War encampment off from the side of the house. Apparently not much is known about the involvement of Civil War soldiers in the area but they do know that they had an encampment behind the house and even had a snowball fight on the lawn! They are still learning more about the soldiers time there though.

Doesn't everyone have giant stone lions on their front porch?

Three cabins from Civil War time; you could look in each to see the conditions. It just made me think of the end of Cold Mountain...

The stables - very pretty with the red doors!

Before we headed into the house for our tour!
So - Movern Park is best known for being the home of Virginia governor Westmoreland Davis; he was governor from 1918 to 1922, you can only serve one consecutive term as governor in Virginia - Virginia is the only state that has this law in place. The house was originally built as a small farm house in 1780 and was gradually added onto until it became the colossal house you see in the pictures - when the Davis family bought the house in 1903, they did little renovations as the family who owned it from 1900 to 1903 spent so much money renovating and modernizing the house, that in 1903 they went bankrupt and had to sell it! Ironic, right?

Mr. Davis & his wife were very into fox hunting & held hunts often on their estate.
So - you weren't supposed to take pictures inside the house but I took a sneaky shot or two (or three) without any flash, you see. I didn't want to damage anything...I just really wanted a picture or two. :)

The billiard room...minus the billiard table.
Fun story about the propeller over the fireplace - my Dad asked about it. Westmoreland Davis was the first governor of Virginia to fly! He agreed to take a flight in an airplane to ensure other people that flight was perfectly safe and no one need fear taking a little spin through that air. The landing of his "very safe" flight was extremely rough and in the landing, the propeller of the plane came off and cracked - and so they gave Mr. Davis the propeller as a memento of his trip! There is plaque on the right side of the propeller that says just that, even though it's horribly faded and on the left side, you can see the crack in the propeller!

A tapestry on one of the walls - they traveled extensively!

One of a set of two mirrors with the Imperial Hapsburg crest on them; again a souvenir of world travels.

The beautiful view from the bedroom(s) upstairs. 

Looking out onto the lawn from the second floor rooms - everything is so lush & green!
As I mentioned above, the Mr. Davis and his wife were very interested in fox hunting and would hold hunts frequently - once we finished the tour of the living area of the house, there was another section devoted to fox hunting that we walked through to conclude our tour. All I could think was "bless those poor fox; being hunted by hounds must be slap terrifying!" I guess to each his own, though seeing I'm not even remotely a fan of being on a horse, I don't see myself being wildly intrigued at the thought of going fox hunting anytime soon.

A rug with a fox hunting scene stitched onto it...pretty cool.

A rug in one of the rooms - each square was cross stitched by hand & let me tell you, it wasn't a small rug. It was amazingly detailed though!

Stained glass windows in the house's stairways. 

The house used to have towers on either side - reminiscent of a castle. The house is already insanely impressive; can you imagine how it would look with towers?

Just chilling on the porch with one of the lions...like you do...

Such a grand house!

Movern Park selfie!
The house also had gardens, so we wandered through those as we walked back toward the parking lot. Mr. Davis and his wife are buried in a mausoleum in the gardens and we stopped to take a peek at that as well. We were surprised to find a picnic laid out near the fountains and wondered just who would be having a romantic supper in such a lovely spot - maybe someone was even going to be proposed to? Who knows! I do know that Movern Park holds weddings and I'm sure an engagement there would be just as lovely.

Goodbye beautiful house...

A butterfly in the garden - there were plenty of butterflies drifting around.

One of the walkways through the garden.

The mausoleum for the Davis' & Mrs. Davis' mother - in the middle of the boxwood garden.

Flowers in the boxwood gardens.

A hidden hedge pathway!

A lovely spot for a picnic....
So - another Sunday afternoon spent seeing even more of the sights Virginia has to offer. I just wonder what we'll get up to in the coming weeks? I'm not sure what we'll do, but I do know there is plenty still to be seen and done!

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