Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Different Kind of Ride

We didn't get out on the bikes at all this past weekend. But I'm cool with that. Because I did something that was far more fun.

Wait, did I just say more fun than riding my motorcycle? Gasp!

As a matter of fact, I did. But that's just because it involved my 11-year-old granddaughter, Brianna. AND riding. Just not motorcycle riding. Instead, we rode on horseback.

It was awesome.

Since moving to the heart of horse country, I've been itching to ride a horse. Hubby and I went horseback riding about 20 years ago in the Baltimore suburbs, but it sucked. Big time. The location was just so-so. And all our horses wanted to do was return to the barn. So, in my mind, that doesn't count.

This Virginia horseback riding experience was a first for both Brianna and me. The location, which is just about 35 minutes from our house, was fabulous. We rode on the 4,200-acre Marriott Ranch. Yep, those Marriotts.

As it turns out, the founder of the Marriott Corp discovered a farm back in the 1950s, known as Fairfield Farm, that reminded him of his home in Utah. He bought it and gradually over the years purchased additional parcels of land surrounding Fairfield.

The original manor house, built in the early 1800s, is still in use today as the only bed-and-breakfast in the Marriott portfolio. The Inn at Fairfield Farm has gotten mixed reviews as a B&B. But, let me tell you, the exterior of the place is gorgeous.

The Inn at Fairfield Farm
If you are one of those folks who can't get your partner to go along for a ride unless there's a nice destination involved, this could be the place for you to visit. If you'd rather not stay in the main building, there are a few outbuildings with lodging, too. Unfortunately, one of those -- The Baroness Cottage -- caught fire last week.

Recently-burned Baroness Cottage
Hopefully, it can be restored.

The Marriott Ranch is actually a working cattle ranch, with something like 1,200+ head of cattle.

You know what that means, right?

A picturesque barn...

Barn at Marriott Ranch
And cow pictures!

How Now Brown Cow
Actually, I think that's a steer. One of these days I'll educate myself on how to tell the dang things apart.

I just loved that cow/steer shot with the stormy sky as a backdrop.

There were even some babies laying amongst the grasses.

These pictures were taken late Saturday afternoon. Luckily we got our ride in before the freak storm front rolled through. You know, the one that has been dumping SNOW on many locations across the Eastern United States?

No snow here, fortunately. But it sure has been cold. Yesterday I don't think it got out of the 40s all day.

The front did make for some cool photos.

The next one is my favorite.

Hume Barn
When I have more time, I'll give you some detail on the roads in the area. They are FUN. Truly.

Hubby and I were actually riding in this area a couple of weeks ago. On Easter, to be exact. 

I'll do a route post and provide a map soon. For now, work calls. Sigh...


Anonymous said...

Looks like an awesome place. I love horseback riding, but don't get to experience it often.

Trobairitz said...

Oooh what fun. I haven't been on a horse in 20 years. My best friend growing up lived on a farm that boarded quarter horses. We used to go riding all the time.

The Farm you went took looks wonderful I love all the pictures, but I agree the last one is my favorite.

We didn't ride this last weekend, we chose to hang out in shorts and sandals and do yard work. Sometimes it is nice to enjoy the sun without all that gear on.

ToadMama said...

Trob, yard work is actually sort of relaxing. Sometimes.

I wish I had had access to horses when younger! I forgot to mention that the last shot is one I'd been meaning to capture for a while. It's not on Marriott property, but along a different road. The stormy sky made me stop. LOL.

It's close to Hume Vineyards. As I understand it, a similar barn was supposed to be their tasting room until it was damaged during a particularly nasty winter.

bobskoot said...


very interesting about the Mariott farm. The last time we were on horses was down in Ocean Shores, southern WA near the famous Long Beach. We got to ride our horses "on the beach".

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Deb said...

Hey, I love your blog and follow it and I gotta tell ya, we are almost neighbors!

You seem to have similar interests and I am also living in the Appalachian area, just in southern Ohio.

Would love to get up your all's way and do some touring in that area!

Nice photos...very MOOOving!


ToadMama said...

Bob, beach riding sounds like fun.

Deb, if you ever get over this way, I'd love to meet you. From Southern Ohio, you could probably hop onto US-50 and be in this area within a few hours. You'd have one lovely, curvaceous ride, too! If you ever want to escape, let me know.

Dar said...

Kathy - looks like you had a great time! I went horseback riding last year, it was cool, but I think I prefer my iron pony. Beautiful pictures!