Streaming serenity: Nelson's River Trail a visual lullaby
Address: 832 River Trail Road, Shipman, Nelson County
Neighborhood: River Trail
Year Built: 1998
Size: 1486 fin. sq. ft.
Land: 27.8 acres
Agent: Marlo Allen, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III, 434-996-3525
Curb Appeal: 10 out of 10
Folks who follow the wooded country road to the stone driveway of this peaceful River Trail hideaway will find the path to serenity. Small groupings of sculpture and flora dot the landscape leading to the main house. The gurgle of a tiny stream joins the splashing of water rippling from a perennial garden to steppingstones leading to the entryway. The stream feeds an iris-ringed stone pond, home to a school of vibrant Koi.
A row of rocking chairs on the front porch and the sound of the water streaming below complement the tranquil view, and a dramatic gabled roof shelters an outdoor living room— one of many places to sit and reflect.
The cedar bungalow– reminiscent of a summer house on a lake or remote mountaintop– was custom built in 1998 for the previous owner by Nelson County’s Jim MacAvoy. Multiple rooflines and creatively placed windows add interest to the understated entrance. Beyond the gardens and ornamental trees, a quintessential storybook cottage— just 225 square-feet and landscaped with boxwoods and flowering window planters, and outfitted with woodstove, sink, and WC– can serve as a home office, workout room, or cozy guest retreat.
The high gabled roof extension on the main house runs from the outdoor living area into the kitchen, creating a lodge-like feeling. The wide wraparound deck is ideal for dining and relaxing, a place where visitors will want to lounge and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Above the kitchen/dining area inside, the gabled ceiling is brightly whitewashed, and cherry-trimmed windows surrounding the dining room table frame a forested backdrop. The sounds of the bubbling water can be heard here too, a pleasant serenade.
Sienna and gold ceramic tiles, ochre base-cabinets, and a porcelain farm sink brighten the simple cucina style kitchen where a pantry wall of built-in cabinets houses the refrigerator. Decorative iron brackets hang from painted shelves on the opposite wall. A vintage enamel gas stove would complete the look— an upgrade to consider.
Salvaged solid-wood doors with cherry casings add a craftsman-style accent throughout the main floor. Cherry bookcases frame a fieldstone chimney in the living room, creating just enough space to sit and rock beside the cast-iron stove, and tall windows provide more views of the green canopy outside. Heart pine floors extend up the stairway (with a cherry balustrade).
A private wing off the living room houses the first-floor bedroom, the feeling of space enlarged by a cathedral ceiling, a second-story window, and exposed beams. A generous full bath on this level has laundry facilities, ceramic sink, and terra cotta floor.
Above the living room, the master bedroom takes up the entire second floor and is spacious enough for a king-size bed. A cozy sitting area tucked under one dormer has decorative leaded glass windows. Light streaming from many windows with a variety of shapes brightens the bathroom, and a skylight illuminates a claw-foot tub nestled in a dormer. The sage-green wainscoting and pedestal sink complete the classic country look.
The quality of the craftsmanship, materials, and detail throughout the house is exceptional. If the picturesque, 30-mile trip down Rte. 29 south seems daunting at first for a daily commuter, there’s lots of light at the end of the tunnel. Retirees with green thumbs can continue to expand the wildflower plantings on the 27 acres or take up fly-fishing in the bordering Rockfish River. River Trail is a community of 15 homeowners, a boon for convivial types seeking like-minded, friendly neighbors. Other more solitary souls will find this a haven of peace and solitude.
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