My recent tour of historical homes was very intriguing but I hadn’t expected to be touring another such home anytime soon. However, my husband and I were invited to attend a reception put on by LEDA (Lincoln County Economic Development Association) ‘honoring International Industries operating in Lincoln County’ the other evening, and found out it was to be held in the oldest house in the county.
Vesuvius Vineyards is located in a rural section of Lincoln County – so rural, I didn’t even know it was there, although I don’t live far away. I’d heard of Vesuvius Furnace, an iron foundry that operated from 1790’s until several years after the Civil War. What I didn’t know was that one of the furnace’s founding partners, Joseph Graham, had built a house just down the road from the foundry, and that the house is now restored to former grandeur and serving as a venue for weddings and receptions of all sorts. I had the pleasure of meeting some members of the family who now own the house and got to hear some of its history.
John Lineberger III and Jay Thompson, cousins who are involved in the business and who served as our bartenders that evening.
John Lineberger, one of the owners, and me
What I find so interesting is how the past and the present are so intermingled. Those historic homes I toured last weekend are still currently occupied by people whose lives might contain many mementoes of the past, and yet they’re still very involved in present-day activities. The Lineberger family that I met at Vesuvius Vineyards have done a beautiful job of restoring a beautiful old house, but they’re deeply involved in providing today’s brides and grooms with a beautiful and spectacular setting for their special event. I’m currently working on my third novel, to be set at Camp Meeting, those evocative summer rituals – part religious revival, part family reunion – at which history is an integral part. (Just visit many of the tents and see the photographs proudly displayed of families gathered on the porch, going back through generations.) We are ourselves, in this time, with cell phones and Twitter and high gas prices and heavy political debates, and we are our ancestors, with Model T’s and no air conditioning and ragtime music and heavy political debates.
At any rate, it was a real pleasure to be at an event that combined a lovely setting (the grounds of Vesuvius Vineyards are just as nice as the house), fantastic food (LEDA provided an international cuisine featuring dishes from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Japan and Singapore, to honor the nationalities now operating businesses in the county), fascinating conversation and what might possibly have been the last of the mild fall weather (I hope not!), with the bonus of inspiration that dovetailed so beautifully with things I’m trying to write. I love serendipity.
Vesuvius Vineyards has a terrific website with a lot of history on the house and foundry, at http://www.vesuviusvineyards.com and LEDA’s website has an article on the International Appreciation event here.