A Day in the Village of Waterford

by Bruce Appelgren, Peak Custom Tours, Director

Peak.WaterfordYard2017Since I grew up in Chicago, it is always a surprise to discover the charm of quaint villages and old historic properties that still exist on the East Coast. Places like these add a different dimension to our lives, enriching them with an awareness of what has gone before. Yet even in our times, it is still a rarity to find special places that can fully capture a previous way of life.

The village of Waterford dates back to 1733 and is certainly one of the most charming villages in the Shenandoah Valley. They don’t build villages like this anymore! Most people visit Waterford during the big craft fair in the fall. When I first visited Waterford, I was immediately struck by the wonderful feel of this old Quaker village. As I think about it now, perhaps it was the human scale and the uniqueness of each separate building. Then, too, it is clear the village was made for walking and horses, not cars. I go back to see my favorite place in Waterford every year, just to stand there and admire the view of a house with a balcony and a yard that stretches away to fields of crops and distant rolling green hills, with nary a fence in sight. Where in the world do feelings like this come from? Any ideas?

Actually there are folks who study and think about the experiences like this and how they occur and how we can have more of them. If you are interested in understanding these human responses to place, and much more, take a look at an academic newsletter from Kansas State University called “Environmental & Architectural Phenomenology.”

Our Peak Custom Tours Waterford experience is an opportunity to visit in a quieter season and learn all about the town. You’ll take a walking tour of this old Quaker village and have a special catered lunch. Afterwards, you’ll visit the adjacent Phillips farm and take a tour along the waterway that borders the village. Here you’ll learn about some of the wildlife and history that determines life in Waterford today. After a guided visit tof Second Street Schoolhouse, one of the earliest and best-preserved schools for African Americans in Virginia, you’ll have tea and say goodbye to this unforgettable village.

For more information about any of our upcoming tours, please visit our tour page.