Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Views from the Valley

About a year and a half ago Robin built me a "writers retreat." Initially, I thought we would use it on weekends, and for a few months in the summer, but we moved there about a year and a half ago and we've never looked back. Here are some pictures of the amazing place Robin has created.

Amenities at "the land" (as we call it) include: swimming, archery, darts, bocce ball, lawn chess, giant Jenga, drinks and grilling in the outdoor kitchen, bird watching, butterfly watching, relaxing by the pool, relaxing in the pool house, relaxing on the carriage house porch, relaxing on the main house porch, well, relaxing just about anywhere, really.

She added a few extra bedrooms and we've been enjoying hosting writers, readers, friends and relatives out in Luray. "The season" is pretty much wrapped up now, but maybe in the future, we'll open up visits for more people.

Front view of the cabin with the "carriage house" (aka the garage, workshop, and Robin's office) to the left.

An open plan first floor with kitchen, dining room and living room taking up the first half of the house. Through the "secret door" (bookcase) is access to the two guest bedrooms.

The covered side porch sitting area is great for mornings and gets a fabulous view of the sunrise.

The dining table is from "Antique Tables Made Daily." While the construction is brand new the material was cut over a hundred years ago. Formerly the beams in a barn in Pennsylvania, this American chestnut is now extinct. The 1907 blight killed all the trees and even to this day none will live to older than 7-years. Botanists are trying to cross-breed the species, but the original is gone forever.

The front porch sitting area is perfect for the evening with cool breezes and an excellent spot to watch the clouds over the mountains. Late afternoon produces spectacular cumulus creations.

My office, where the "magic happens." Is currently on the second floor, although plans are underway to build me a separate smaller cabin hopefully next year.

The upper floor of the carriage house doubles as a guest quarter and Robin's office. This three-room suite includes the "shipping closet (as seen peaking through the open door. Where packages are assembled and mailed when people buy directly from us. Individual mini-splits contain Marc Simonetti's artwork and allow each room to be individually temperature controlled.

New this spring, the pool area! It consists of a pool house, an outdoor kitchen, a sitting area under the back porch of the carriage house and some places for fun and games.

The bocce ball court is sandwiched neatly between the pool and the back-porch sitting area.

The outdoor kitchen is nestled under the pavilion and has granite countertops and weather resistant cabinets. It features a huge grill, refrigerator, and ice maker for mixed drinks.

The back of the carriage house provides excellent shade when it's too hot to sit next to the pool.

A side view of the main cabin.

The pool house is a great place for playing games, changing clothing, or just sitting and relaxing.

A giant lawn chess board provides a little intellectual stimulation while cooling off at the pool.

Early morning looking over the two outdoor sitting areas of the main cabin.


  1. Awesome view! Thank you for sharing this. Bigger thank you to Robin for being the genius she is.

  2. very beautiful house michael! congratulations on the success you both have achieved!

  3. Beautiful views! Can I move in with you?

  4. What a beautiful home! I'm surprised you would ever consider living anywhere else.

  5. Omigosh. What a dream! Secret door through bookcase to guest bedroom? Fantastic! (Little envious drops of dribble falling on the screen...) :-) Can Robin build ME a writer's retreat? But with less other fun stuff to do, so that I'd actually do the writing? :-)

  6. I'm so happy for you and Robin! I have fond memories of childhood trips from Ellicott City, MD down to Charlottesville, and then back up Skyline Drive to Luray Caverns. It's such a beautiful part of the country, and since it was on one of those trips that I first read "Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold!", I have always considered Luray to be my own personal portal to Landover.

    I did eventually convince my Dad to take a detour south along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the actual location that Terry Brooks described in the book, but it just wasn't the same.

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