Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest Festival – Virginia Is For Lovers

by Sherry Riter in Alyssa,Apple Festival,Family,Travel,Virginia

As I was scrolling through the photos that I haven’t posted on my blog yet, I came across some pictures of the Graves’ Mountain Apple Festival taken in October 2012. At first I couldn’t think of a logical explanation of why I hadn’t shared them yet, but then I remembered that we went to the apple festival right before I moved.

It is a perfectly logical explanation of why I was so busy that month even though we have made a tradition of enjoying ourselves every year at the Graves’ Mountain Apple Festival located in the mountains of Syria, Virginia.

The weather cooperated on festival day. Not only was the sky a vivid blue, but the temperature wasn’t too hot or too cold.

Graves' Mountain Apple Festival

Since I was diagnosed with a severe grain allergy in September 2012, this was the first apple festival that I didn’t get to enjoy Brunswick Stew because one of the ingredients is corn. The bowl of stew is served with cornbread too. Yeah, I avoided it all. They also serve pulled barbecue pork and coleslaw sandwiches, but I asked them to leave the bread off. My meal was delicious.

Graves' Mountain BBQ Cole Slaw

I especially love the apple sauce which actually tastes just like my delicious and smooth homemade apple sauce.

Graves' Mountain apple sauce

It took me at least an hour to convince Alyssa to pose for a picture in the pumpkin patch. Everyone else who was taking pictures in the pumpkin patch were young parents and their babies. I reminded Alyssa that she would always be my baby. I think she was just shy because everyone was watching us. LOL

Graves' Mountain Apple Festival Pumpkin patch

After we had eaten, I took a picture of Alyssa and in the background I saw a girl that looked so much like my daughter that it freaked me out!

Graves' Mountain Alyssa look alike behind her

They both had the same hair color, skin tone, full lips, face shape and sunglasses! It really was uncanny! Even Alyssa thought the girl looked like her, so I couldn’t resist taking the picture of the stranger.

Graves' Mountain Alyssa blond look alike

We had to take pictures by the river and the crooked tree. Awwww…she is so pretty!

Graves' Mountain Alyssa by river

I really enjoyed all the natural stuff at the festival this year. The leaves on the trees were flaming red and breathtaking against the vivid blue sky. There are so many things to do in the fall, but the apple festival is definitely my favorite activity during this time of year.

Graves' Mountain red fall trees

There were a million different types of rocks of every size. I’m such a crazy girl about rocks. I love them! I have to constantly resist the urge to hoard rocks. LOL

Graves' Mountain rocks stones quartz green

Alyssa also has to resist the urge to hoard rocks, but she likes the kind set in gold or silver.

Graves' Mountain Alyssa with jewelry

Not only did we go into every jewelry shop, but I think Alyssa touched every piece of jewelry.

Graves' Mountain jewelry stand

I did spy these really cute red and black heart earrings made with safety pins. It was such a cute idea.

Graves' Mountain red black earrings

Some jewelry shops were better than others, but after awhile, they all just seem to blur together. Alyssa didn’t tire of looking at the jewelry until she had actually looked at all the jewelry.

Graves' Mountain jewelry earrings pins

I was so glad when we left the jewelry stores and started to do things that were more fun like letting me pose in order to look like a happy cow. No amount of cajoling could convince Alyssa to be a cow, but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm!

Redhead Riter as a cow

The water in the river was so beautiful and cold. This year I saw apples that had fallen into the river from a couple of wild apple trees that hung over it.

Apple in river at Graves' Mountain

The crystal clear water with the sun dancing off it was mesmerizing as the water slowly slid past me. I really wanted the big smooth rock laying in the river. If Alyssa hadn’t been with me, I might have actually attempted to carry it back to the car. But with Alyssa there, I knew she would have just flipped out if I started digging in the river for big rocks.

crystal clear water in river at Graves' Mountain

One of my very favorite sights at the Graves’ Mountain Apple Festival is the big black pot of apple butter that is being continuously stirred by someone. The blazing flames under the pot and the long wooden pole look so primitive. However, I know that the apple butter is just perfect and the aroma that wafted past my nose was intoxicating.

apple butter cooking at apple festival

I’m so glad that I have a perfect apple butter recipe that I can make in small batches. Not only do I feel like such great homemaker, but since going grain free, I feel much more comfortable making my own food to ensure no grain products contaminate the dishes.

Maybe I should get a big old black pot and long stick too. Then I could chant, “Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble” over the pot while I stirred it.

Graves' Mountain apple butter pot fire

All in all it was another wonderful day spent on Grave’s Mountain at the Apple Festival. It is definitely an experience we will repeat and enjoy again in eight months. I can’t hardly wait!

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Audrey February 15, 2013 at 6:19 am

I may have to start tagging along with y’all as Terry just absolutely hates going.


2 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

Sure! You’re welcome to come with us. We make a whole day out of it because we stop at all kinds of antique shops on the way back home. It’s always a lovely day!


3 Joan February 15, 2013 at 6:25 am

Ohhh, your pictures are wonderful! I especially loved seeing you as a cow! You don’t look anywhere near fifty! (Are you sure, really sure, you are fifty?) Okay, I’ll have to take your word on it, but you look young enough to be Alyssa’s sister and not her mother! 😀


4 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

Thank you Joan! I don’t really feel 50 either! LOL


5 Joan February 15, 2013 at 6:35 am

And, of course, Alyssa looks beautiful in all of her pictures – but when hasn’t she looked beautiful? I think Alyssa is incapable of taking a bad picture! 😀


6 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

You are soooooooooooooooooooooooo right! Alyssa is so photogenic!


7 Joan February 15, 2013 at 7:08 am

Last, but not least, the picture of the trees with its flaming red leaves against the vivid blue sky was indeed breathtaking, as was the river with its rocks and colorful autumn leaves that had fallen off of the trees and now glistened in the water. Thank you for sharing with us your visit to Graves’ Mountain Apple Festival in October 2012 and the potpourri of beautiful photos that you took! Your photographs made me feel like I was sharing your adventure with you! 😀


8 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

Well, you are welcome to visit in October and go with us so that you can experience it first hand! 😀


9 Rachel February 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Interesting day out in Richmond. Try to go to Richmond, England one day, it’s a lovely old town by the Thames. William Shakespeare lived there for a while many years ago!
Your site is really nice to read, my daughter is gluten casien free, I think that is very different to the allergies you might have.
Thanks for sharing…
Best from Rachel


10 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

England does sound lovely!

A gluten casien free is one that eliminates a couple specific proteins in grains and dairy. It is great if someone is lactose intolerant too.

Grain free is eliminating ALL proteins in ALL grains. Funny thing is that I don’t eat much dairy or meat anyway.

Thanks so much for your comment!


11 Skip_D February 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

wonderful pictures! & it looks like a delightful festival… I’d have been all over that yummy food! 🙂

Joan is right – the pictures of Alyssa are truly beautiful! …but how could they be anything else?

I know what you mean about rocks – I have always been fascinated by rocks & fossils, & have always collected them – although most of my best were lost during a move 🙁

I hope there’s room for one more this year at the Apple Festival! 😀


12 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Sure! You and Joan should definitely come to the Apple Festival October 2013! What a crazy party that would be! LOL


13 teresa vett February 15, 2013 at 10:09 pm

LOL, pictures were nice especially of you and Lyssa.

Nooooooooooo thank you for the festival. You did not show the porta-potties, lol. I have never been as sick as when I went there. Me and Aunt Bob got that virus from the porta-potties at Graves Mountain!! Even the doctor looked at me when I said I was so sick.

She then said, “You’ve been out of town up in the mountains?”

I rest my case. Not for your mama the clean freak. You may go off to hill billy country, but I will stay where time has not stood still.


14 Sherry Riter February 15, 2013 at 11:38 pm

The porta-potties are there for the city folks. If you had used the restroom that Alyssa and I used, you wouldn’t have caught a virus from one of the other city folks. 😀 Do you remember where our country potty was located?

It was the forest. No city germs there! Ha!


15 Skip_D February 16, 2013 at 6:38 am

hehehe – you really are a country girl!!! 😀


16 Sherry Riter February 16, 2013 at 7:06 am

LOL Yep!

Mom and my aunt really did get soooooooooooooooooooo sick. The only thing they did different was use those porta-potties which thousands of other people used. Ugh!


17 Skip_D February 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

yup… I’ll take the woods – or a convenient shrubbery – any time!!! 😀


18 Sherry Riter February 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

LOL I know, right?!!! I suggested that to both of them, but they wouldn’t hear of it. I love the way Mom conveniently forgets that part. Her attitude is, “A potty was provided, so I should be able to use it otherwise why is it there?”

Ha! THAT is not my attitude. There are PLENTY of wooded forest covered areas up there on Graves Mountain and the two of them could have squatted. It isn’t like they hadn’t ever done it before because I’ve heard all the stories!!! LOL


19 Young Werther February 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Lovely photos.. but where are the apples??? Visit some fruit orchards over the weekend, eating as I picked 🙂


20 Sherry Riter February 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

It is so fun to be able to eat while picking the fruit! I remember the first time we went to the strawberry fields. I think Alyssa ate as much as we bought. LOL But there really isn’t anything as delicious as sun warmed fruit RIGHT off the vine or tree.

No pics of the apples. LOL I completely forgot to take any of them last time! LOL LOL But that’s okay because October will be here before I know it and I will grab some apple pics!


21 Katherine March 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

what a fun way to make memories. I loved this post your daughter is lovely. Who knew you would find her doppelganger there too, LOL xo


22 Sherry Riter March 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

LOL Thank you Katherine! I think she is just the cat’s meow!


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