The salty scent of brackish water wafts through the air as Belted Kingfishers dive occasionally into the Piankatank River for their next meal. A small patch of towering trees shade the elderly cat who gingerly puts one paw in front of the other to bridge the distance to the dock. Uncle Dale patiently guides seventeen-year-old Molly to reach her destination for her morning exercise. It is a tender scene to witness as we sip tea and take in the air from the back porch. I am so happy we came to visit.
Derek and I were invited to stay with Aunt Ginny and Uncle Dale who insisted that we come to their “River House” in the Chesapeake Bay town of Hartfield, Virginia. About an hour east of Richmond, the River House is their place to relax and embed daily life in the natural beauty that surrounds them. We would be immersed in the peaceful serenity of their little Pointe Anne neighborhood during our vacation time together.
We flew directly from Chicago O’Hare to Richmond aboard a tiny plane of 38 passengers. The flight was uneventful with mild turbulence and an early arrival. Uncle Dale met us at the airport to take us to the River House. We were amazed at the multitude of trees in rich hues of green that we passed through on the drive. As we reached Pointe Anne, Dale pointed out the commercial fields of corn and stables of miniature horses in the neighborhood.
Ginny was spending time with the cat on the back porch when we arrived and we shared warm conversations while Molly alternated turns from each of us to pet her. We were treated to dinner from a legendary local delight at the Merroir Tasting Room in Topping, VA from the Rappahannock Oyster Company. The Chesapeake Bay is known for their seafood so I ordered an oyster cake with a strawberry spinach salad. We sat at a picnic table just steps away from the water as dolphins bobbed the surface in the near distance. Derek tasted a Red Molly Irish Red Ale to pair with his clams. It was such a beautiful evening and we took our time after dinner admiring the horizon.
Over the next five days we would enjoy paddling the Piankatank, hiking Beaverdam Park, and visiting local shops. What seemed to make the time fade away into oblivion was the relaxation in between our events. We enjoyed reading on the porch for hours at a time and identifying bird calls while playing a Jager favorite card game called “Oh Hell!” in tight competition with each other. Derek and I savored every bite of the delicious meals that Dale and Ginny cooked for us including crab cakes, corn on the cob, grilled burgers and brats, vegetable pasta, and BLT sandwiches.
There was only one rainy day that stormed from mid-morning to late afternoon when we decided to begin a puzzle that Derek diligently plugged away on over the weekend. On our last day, he made it his mission to race the clock to complete the puzzle before we had to leave. With just a half hour to go, Derek recruited anyone who would join him to hastily finish the remaining pieces. With the bags packed up and ready to go, he was able to complete his puzzle mission down to the last minute!
While we had to say goodbye to the River House, it had been a priceless trip of Jager family time spent together. The world seemed to slow down for a few days while we unplugged from technology and allowed ourselves to unwind. As the wheels hit the runway in Chicago we smiled at each other reminiscing our favorite moments from the trip. It was a simple vacation to remember without much stress or planning of an itinerary. We celebrated our journey with a feast at Blufish Sushi before returning home. I could just bottle up the memory of all four of us relaxing on the porch with a good book and a breeze rustling through the trees to remember forever.