Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pharsalia Lovely Lavender Day 2012 Review

What a beautifully HOT day in Nelson County, VA at the Pharsalia Historic Home. Temperatures officially reached 98 degrees even though we were so close to the foot of a mountain. Pharsalia is quite lovely...inside and out. The Pharsalia website contains many excellent pictures and other information including the following:

"The history at Pharsalia is truly fascinating. Hospitality has been a Pharsalia hallmark for nearly two centuries...
Built in 1814 at the foot of dePriest Mountain in Nelson County, Virginia, by William Massie, Pharsalia commands stunning views and is surrounded by original outbuildings and lovely gardens. Pharsalia's grace and elegance remind all who visit here of a time when there was more time... time to connect with the land, time to connect with family and friends, even time perhaps to reconnect with oneself.
Pharsalia is rich in history with a picturesque setting like no other. Our desire is to continue to preserve the past of our great-great-grandfather, and to share its uniqueness by opening our doors to you."

SO much to look forward to...the road trip from the farm to Pharsalia was quick and quite easy. Once we unloaded our products and the supplies needed for the next day, we settled in to visit with Foxie, the enchanting women who owns and operates Pharsalia. The buildings and land have been in her family for generations.

The next morning, Annie cut fresh lavender at her parents farm for our afternoon of crafting. Their farm is located approximately 10 minutes from Pharsalia. This is a sweet picture of Annie's mothers vegetable garden which is located to the right side of their lovely log cabin.

First order of business once at Pharsalia was to set-up our products table. Foxie had 15 lovely farm tables built for wedding buffets, etc. and we were fortunate to have one right outside the old smokehouse (which is now a nice bar with restrooms). The products and plant display was lovely and fit in very well with the overall old farm look and feel.

This was the last bit of work for the day and it was only 10:00 AM! Now the fun could begin as the entire class gathered under a large shade tree to the left of the main house. Here, Foxie and her staff had placed comfortable chairs so that everyone could sit and listen to a very informative discourse on lavender and it's overall care by Annie. For example, did you know that the #1 killer of lavender plants is root rot due to over watering? And, that a lavender plant matures and peaks at 3 years old? Or finally, that there are over 400 varieties of lavender but only ~15 varieties that grow well in the south? Many in attendance asked great questions and everyone feverishly took notes as Annie spoke.

At one point, Annie had us all move to the teaching garden located just below the beautiful swimming pool. Foxie and her team had kindly arranged tents and seating here for us as well...did I mention how VERY hot it was? It was here that Annie showed the entire class how to effectively harvest lavender and how to correctly prune a lavender bush (which we learned is best done end of October or if forgotten then, in middle of February).

Now came my favorite part of the day...LUNCH! We escaped the worst heat of the day by joining Foxie and her team for lunch in the main house. In this beautifully restored home, we were treated to delicious asparagus quiche, chilled cucumber soup, fresh rolls with creamy lavender butter and a mixed salad with a raspberry and lavender vinaigrette... 

And, to top it off, an excellent array of lavender inspired deserts such as lavender shortbread, chocolate brownies with chocolate lavender glaze, cheesecake with a blueberry and lavender drizzle and our favorite, the chocolate lavender ice cream! We washed it all done with sweet tea and Annie's famous lavender lemonade...

Once our bellies were nice and full, we once again ventured outside beneath the large shade trees and leisurely watched Annie demonstrate the art of making a lavender wand and basket.

Then, the bulk of students moved to the next crafting station and eagerly awaited Annie to teach us how to make a lavender wreath (check back later this week for a blog post with easy step by step instructions). We crafted and enjoyed our second helping of chocolate lavender ice cream (shh don't tell anyone).


Although it may not be a traditional work of art, I am quite satisfied with my little wreath...such a nice memento from a truly memory filled journey to lavender-topia!

If you weren't able to make it this year, please consider joining us in the summer of 2013? We would LOVE to spend time with you, enjoying lavender together! Please take a moment to check out the Pharsalia facebook page for another nice picture of Annie teaching the morning class.

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