IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE is based on real events, people and places. In this post I wanted to show you some of the landmarks to be found in the book.
When I was a young teen my grandparents took me, (more accurately, drug me) on a picnic to a place called Strathmore. Like many young people, I wasn’t fond of hanging out with old people. Now that I’m an old people myself, I can appreciate what they were trying to do. They wanted to share a vital part of their past with me.
Strathmore was a milestone in their lives. It was where they began their married lives together and the place where my grandfather worked as foreman of one of Virginia’s most prestigious farms. On that 1200 acre farm there was a house that is integral to the story. Recently it was renovated and turned into a Bed and Breakfast. The last I checked, the business closed and the house is on the market. If I had the money, I would buy it.
Strathmore House overlooks the Shenandoah River and one of the most notable landmarks in the Shenandoah Valley, Meems Bottom Covered Bridge. The impressive 200 foot wooden structure was built by Frank Heiser Wissler in 1894 with the intended purpose of improved access to his apple orchards.
Another landmark of note in the story is St. Mary’s Lutheran Pine Church which is still in operation today. My grandmother, Mable Shown grew up in a house next to that church.
Fortunately, all of these special landmarks are still with us and can be seen near Mt. Jackson, Virginia in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.