Recently my husband and I went to Roanoke, Virginia for a business/anniversary trip all rolled into one. Yes, that’s right, he got a business deduction while I got to share a hotel room and meals out at a beautiful vacation spot. Roanoke has special attractions for me.
The Blue Ridge Mountains surround this city that sits in a bowl-shaped valley. My grandparents’ former home rests on a hill where the mountains are visible from every vantage point. I went by the old house while I was in town. A neighbor was sitting out on her front porch when I drove by. I stopped to speak to her. She remembered my grandfather as she bought her house 30 years ago when he was still living. She called the current owner to see if I could get inside to look around. I was thrilled, of course.
Upon entry, I couldn’t get over how much smaller the house seemed than in my memory. Everything must seem bigger than life in the eyes of a child. The kitchen had been remodelled with dark cabinets and black granite countertops. The dining and living areas have switched places from where my grandparents had them. The walls have been painted dark modern colors and the hardwood floors have been exposed and refinished. The screened porch has been enclosed and the stoop over the back door has been removed. A quaint courtyard area surrounded by black wrought iron fencing is now located in front of the back door. The old chain link fence, many old trees, shrubs and roses that my grandparents planted are gone. It is strangely different but I was comforted knowing that the old house has been maintained and cared for.
Roanoke has become a tourist attraction because of a popular salvage store located near the downtown historic district. The Black Dog Salvage store is hugely popular because of a modern trend to recycle, reuse and reinvent items for home and garden decor. They have a television program called Salvage Dawgs which is in its fourth season on the DIY network. The show airs many of the shop owners’ adventures in finding architectural pieces in old homes or industrial sites that are being demolished.
While we were in town, I had to visit the famous salvage store. There is an amazing selection of wrought iron pieces, garden art, fountains and statuary for gardeners outside the store. Inside, there are old doors, mantels and windows to suit any taste. Another part of the store is set up with booths which are consigned to vendors who sell antique or home decorating items. One could easily spend an entire day and not see everything at this amazing store.