I like everything about The Phoebe Needles Center
in Callaway, Virginia, so when I was invited to speak there on May 10th, I was thrilled. And the fact that I would be in the company of two other authors whom I admire--Becky Mushko
and Dan Smith
--made it even better. We were the May program for the Center for Lifelong Learning for adults 55 and over which focuses on education and fellowship.
Located in a "you-can't-get-there-from-here" place, I discovered that it's fairly simple when you travel with Becky, who knew an easy way. Dan followed Becky and me from the Rocky Mount Wal-Mart to Route 40 past Ferrum College where we turned onto Turner's Creek Road and drove straight--well, uh, "crooked" is probably a better word--to Phoebe Needles. I was driving, so I couldn't take pictures or gawk a lot. Becky snapped this one and others. If my hubby were not allergic to hay, which is the reason we had to give up our horses, this would be a place I'd like to live. And, folks, it's for sale!
It's worth visiting Phoebe Needles for numerous reasons. The drive along the twisting ribbon of road provides you with gorgeous scenery, and the lunch served at the Center is always delicious. To me, however, the best part about attending their monthly programs is the people you meet. I liked re-connecting with The Rev. John Heck (Executive Director of Phoebe Needles), people I met when I spoke there in 2009, and meeting nice new folks.
The huge room above is arranged for dining in the rear, and a program area in the front. By the time our "Four Writers: Four Viewpoints" program (although only three writers came) began, only a few seats were left. The kitchen is to the right, and there are large porches to the left and end of the building.
Becky ready from her recent novel Stuck
and from Ferradiddledumday
, an Appalachian version of Rumplestiltskin. Because Phoebe Needles attendees had heard me read from my first novel, Secrets at Spawning Run,
in April 2009, this time I read only from Secrets at Sweetwater Cove
, my second novel in the "Secrets" series. We could not have asked for a better audience! They were attentive, interested, and asked excellent questions.
Before we left, John Heck showed Becky and me what used to be the Episcopal School's bathrooms. They were outdoors, and you had to walk down steps to a small, dark, creepy area. The daily use "contents" ran out a pipe onto the ground. Yuck. All the plumbing was removed years ago, the bathrooms converted to storage areas.
John Heck at the bottom of the steps.
I'm surprised that the next photo even came out because of the absolute darkness below. Guess I have a better flash on my camera than I realized. Anyhow, after seeing these creepy areas, plots started running through my head.
I took the below picture of a local farm from the porch at the Center. I could live here, too, if hubby weren't allergic to hay. I'd want horses, lots of horses, but horses eat hay, so. . . .
If you're interested in the programs offered, click on Phoebe Needles
. You'll be glad you did.
Labels: Becky Mushko, Center for Lifelong Learning, Dan Smith, Phoebe Needles, writing