I grew up with this show every Thursday night because it was the one television show my mom insisted on watching. As curious as I was for myself, since the Walton's and I are practically neighbors, I wanted to do this for my mom too! Walton's Mountain is just a couple of hours south of us and makes a lovely drive on a summery day. After driving south of Charlottesville we looked for the turnoff, which is quite a ways south of Charlottesville actually. We always think we've missed it but we have to just keep on driving. Finally we found it and turned onto a mountain road, which is very well maintained. While following the Rockfish River through the woods and further onto the mountain, I imagined that we were actually driving John Walton's 1923 Ford Truck. (That's a guess from the link that I found. And of course the real truck was black.)
Eventually I spied the watering hole. Would Reverend Fordwick (played by John Ritter) show up accidentally drunk? (I'll never forget this very first performance I ever saw from John Ritter who later became famous for many other roles.) On this hot day many kids were swimming in the river. I had a tough time getting a picture without including them!
Then we passed by a quarry (more on that tomorrow) and came to the crossroads...
Surprise! Right there was the Walton house! I never imagined it would be right at the crossroads! The house itself is now open for tours. However we did not tour this house. It is not decorated like it was on the Waltons. I think it's more true to when it was Earl Hamner's home. Also it's an extra charge. When we first arrived we didn't even know this was open for tours. I assumed it was closed because that was what I had read on the internet when I planned this trip. We drove, instead, up the road a short ways to the high school where the Hamners attended school. (Earl Hamner is the creator of The Waltons, based on his family. John Boy represents Earl Hamner. More on that tomorrow.)
The highschool was decorated as much as possible like the television show, going all the way into making them look like stage sets. They even had camera equipment set up, which I thought was pretty cool. Now I wish I had pulled back a bit on the perspective so we could see the cameras that were used. However at the moment I wanted to remember the Waltons and pretend I was in their house.
I'll never forget John Boy churning butter while eating an apple on Christmas Eve, in The Homecoming. He disobediently brought it into the living room to join the family to listen to the radio skit with the family.
Can you believe that they put the Baldwin Ladies' recipe making machine in the same room as Olivia Walton's kitchen????? I was flabbergasted! Mama had choice words about the recipe, and of course the little old ladies had no idea what "the recipe" actually was, and of course the men folk didn't mind a nip now and then. Apparently there was a huge brew-ha-ha in the local community about this...which is why the Walton house and gift shop have absolutely no affiliation with this high school/museum. When we asked the little old ladies at this museum about the house, they clammed up. We found out that there is some controversy that has to do with the "recipe making" machine being in Mama's kitchen! (This machine is actual works and was donated by one of the locals.)
As fans can tell, the rooms are not an exact recreations from the television show. These items from the 1930's were donated by local residents and then staged to look as much like the show as possible.
Oh, how a radio such as this played center stage in some of the story lines...especially as the Waltons listened to the news, hoping John Walton had not been on the bus that had overturned. (The Homecoming)
I always wondered why there was never any mention of nearby historic neighbor, Thomas Jefferson. Nor did I understand why John Boy did not attend the University of Virginia in nearby Charlottesville. More on that tomorrow.
In a separate room were lots of extra artifacts. My favorite was this wedding gown from the 1930's.
Then we went to Ike Godsy's Store, also located in this museum. It was filled with all kinds of fascinating assortments...and also served as the gift shop.
On the one wall were all the post office boxes. Nearby where lots of post cards. I bought two, one for me and one for my mom. I wrote a note on both and addressed them, then took them to the cashier to purchase. She added a stamp to them and mailed them for me. She said they'd arrive with a special postmark. I will share that tomorrow!
This is a daybook, which I found intriguing because daybooks are highly popular in the 18th century. This one is from a General Store in Howardsville, Virginia dated from 1956-1957.
War rations...I've heard so much about them but have rarely ever seen them. The Waltons did go into the WWII years.
Toys...that the Walton children were rarely able to afford!
Just waiting for the Baldwin sisters to come in to try some on...and then walk off without buying a single one!!! (I couldn't believe that scene from The Homecoming!)
Fabric! Not sure if these are from the 1930's, because I could buy some of those types of prints today quite easily. Also I am starting to collect retro prints. Did I tell you all that I won a quilt contest last summer? One of my prizes was some retro prints from the 20's...which are quite different from these. Hmm....
Then we went to the gift shop below the house and then walked around a bit to...
...the Baptist Church where Grandpa rang the bell to welcome in Christmas.
More on the Walton's, Thomas Jefferson, and Earl Hamner tomorrow!