About a month ago, I was driving south on route 81 in Virginia, on my way to pick up my son to bring him home for the weekend from college. I found myself ahead of schedule- he was taking an evening exam so I knew he would not be able to leave at the time I was due to arrive if I just continued on my way.
So I started entering keywords onto my GPS to look for points of interest. I would love to say I entered "museum" or "park", but I entered "bead", "quilt" and "yarn". (I can hear it now, "sorry officer, I was distracted by the yarn!")
What I found was the Orchardside Yarn Shop, in Raphine, Virginia. First off, it is not exactly right at the exit off of 81, but the drive out there was splendid- with rolling green fields and roadside streams. I honestly found myself thinking "hmmm maybe we could retire to this area", even though I have vowed to never move again.
The card I got from Orchardside yarn shop describes a "knitting cottage nestled along the creek featuring fabulous selection of basic and novelty yarns, books, needles and accessories." They do not lie- at first I thought such a tiny place could not hold much selection, but they had some fabulous fibers, and a really huge selection. The people there were so welcoming. I was buying one skein of each item I selected, and explained that I am not really a knitter or crocheter, but am a fiber artist. They told me I should come back some time and let them teach me to knit, and I will admit it was very tempting. The staff is helpful without being smothering, and they definitely know a lot about all of the yarns and patterns they sell.
The shop is set on a farm, with a creek running by it and ducks and peacocks wandering around out back. (I had forgotten how loud peacocks can be!) They even have a little picnic area for an enjoyable lunch on a nice day.
Here is just a hint of the yarns I bought!