I’m so fortunate to live in a part of Virginia that is easily accessible to so many attractions: the beach is about three hours away; the mountains are a two-hour drive; our nation’s capital is 45 miles north; and Richmond, Virginia’s capital, is about a 30-minute drive south.
But I don’t always have to leave my little community to see beautiful places. I live in Spotsylvania and am close to two other beautiful communities: Stafford and Fredericksburg. On any given day, I can jump in my car and visit a gorgeous park, trail or historic site in any one of these counties. On a recent weekend, we paid such a visit to Chatham in Stafford, a Georgian mansion built in 1768. I’ve been here many times over the years and I still feel as if I’m in another country whenever I visit. It’s a gorgeous site, with extraordinary gardens, a view overlooking the Rappahannock River and the City of Fredericksburg, and a stone gazebo housing a statue of Pan, the Greek God of nature, the wild, shepherds, flocks, and mountain wilds. Every time I’m at Chatham and see Pan in his gazebo, I can’t help but feel as if I’m stepping into C.S. Lewis’s Narnia!
I’ve come to rely on these treasures in my hometown many times. We have taken our relatives on visits to them or our kids when they are looking for something different to explore. I’ve also run in many of these parks; the switchback asphalt trail at one of these parks makes for a killer training hill! These places become my “Old Faithfuls” and they never let me down.
I look at the clothes in my closet in a similar way. Although I love to shop and add to my collection, I have several pieces that are my own “Old Faithfuls.” They always look nice, make me feel good, and have stood up to the test of time. The dress I’m wearing in these photos has been a summer staple of mine for years. I was drawn first to its warm colors of gold, raspberry, and black. With its v-neck and empire waist, it’s also flattering to my curves. Another selling point is its comfort. The dress is easy to move around in and pairs well with flat sandals or a shoe with a little bit of a heel. I wore my multi-colored flip-flops with cork bottoms and carried my large straw tote to complete my casual look. A gold clutch would dress it up a bit for fancier occasions.
Whether I need something for dinner, a visit with family, or a holiday gathering, this dress is one of my top choices – an Old Faithful every time.
Photos by Edward A. Vollbrecht, Jr.