Saturday, July 30, 2011


A few weeks ago, my family and I were invited to a Summer Supper at Sudley Manor given by my sister-in-law's family.

Once we learned the invite included all children and dogs, we packed up the family and headed west toward the Shenandoah Valley, excited to see family we hadn't seen in a while. 

Upon arrival, we were greeted with hugs by both family and a profusion of hunting dogs. Since Sudley Manor is owned by direct descendents of the Carter and Lee families, two of the oldest surnames in Virginia, the house brimmed with history. But my children were more interested in playing with their cousins and hitting the pool.

The pool, hidden in a secret garden, had a beautiful view of the rolling Virginia countryside and the Shenandoah Valley.

Although I was desperate to explore with my camera, and catch up with my sister-in-law, the kids decided to have a diving contest. Since they didn't trust us to judge fairly, they wanted photographic proof. So for the next few hours, I drank fresh-squeezed lemonade, chatted with the other adults, and caught children in mid-air. 

Oops! I got distracted by the amazing view!

After an hour, I snuck away to check out one of the gardens. While most of the flowers were hiding from the intense sun, I did catch a few brave petaled souls and an iron wood nymph.

But then the "Divisionals" started for the final dive scores!
The dive competition ended with a dare for a back dive. The only one who completed the dare was also the only girl.

After a wonderful afternoon swimming, playing with dogs, and spending time with those we love, we headed inside for a meal of cold fried chicken, corn and bean salad, and homemade cookies. All served with ice-cold lemonade, of course! Although it was too hot to eat on the patio, we had an amazing view from the dining room window.

Finally, after many licks from dogs, hugs between cousins, and promises to see each other before Christmas, we drove away, secure in the promise that one day soon we'd return to Sudley Manor.

What is a "Study in . . ."? 
A visual record defined by a single element, such as color, texture, or type. Previous journal entries include Studies in PurpleStone FacesYellowBarkIron GatesOrange and Hide and Seek.

I hope your days of summer are filled with joy, grace and ice-cold lemonade!


  1. I love all the photographs! Wow. Great day. And the children look fabulous!

  2. We had a great time that day. I just can't believe summer's almost over!