Georgie Young's idea of Nirvana is a pre-Revolutionary War gristmill that she and husband Jim now operate.
It's rare to come across a place so breathtakingly beautiful, so utterly charming that you consider pulling up stakes and moving there. But that's how I felt when I first found this stretch of State 606 in Rockbridge County, just north of Lexington, Virginia.
At Exit 205 off I-81, you're greeted by huge truck stops and convenience stores. But pass through the town of Raphine and continue west on 606, and you'll find yourself rolling along a gentle country road.
"I love it," says Raphine resident Georgie Young. "When you head out this road, you think you're at the pity's end of Western civilization. But when I take this road, I know that in two minutes, I'm going to be in heaven."
Heaven on Earth
Georgie's idea of Nirvana is a pre-Revolutionary War gristmill that she and husband Jim now operate. In 1992, they both abandoned high- profile jobs in Washington, D.C., and moved their lives to the Shenandoah Valley. They've never been happier.
The couple sells freshly ground flours, meals, and grits to wholesale and retail customers, plus they've added a line of mixes for everything from buckwheat pancakes to hush puppies. They also pair their products with other locally and regionally produced foods for gift baskets. Imported linens, local pottery, and gourmet cookware round out the offerings.
Georgie invites visitors into her kitchen, too, for instruction on preparing foods from France, Italy, and the American South. The cooking classes, she says, started as a way to teach people how to use grain products, but they too have evolved. Now she teaches her students to prepare a complete meal designed with entertaining in mind.