A Photoshoot in a Crumbling Appalachian Manor in Chilhowie, Virginia

Queen of Crumbling Appalachian Manor-Chilhowie, VirginiaI had a great opportunity to shoot my best friend, Tracey, in a crumbling Appalachian manor in my hometown of Chilhowie, Virginia. Even though I grew up seeing this house just across the cornfield, I never got to go in it. The family is gone now, and the house has now been sold. The current owners graciously allowed us to go in and do a photo shoot.

Tracey had visited the house a week ago and told me how spectacular it is. We both knew it would be perfect.

The woodwork is pristine in this manor house. There are pocket doors between every room that are at least 11 feet high. One room has magnificent wooden columns with recessed alcoves. The front door is so tall it’s like a door in a giant’s house. In fact all the doors in the house are like giant fairy-tale doors.

Once again, I got a costume for Tracey at Fantasy Creations. The queen costume worked well with the enormous crumbling grandeur of the manor. She seemed to be a queen whose subjects had long ago disappeared.  Tracey and I are huge fans of Grey Gardens (a 1975 American documentary film that depicts the everyday lives of two reclusive socialites, a mother and daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived at Grey Gardens, a derelict mansion in East Hampton, New York), and I could see Little Edie marching down the dramatic staircase of this house in her white tights and dance shoes waving an American flag.

I’m so grateful that I was able to shoot my friend in a place this is special to both of us. One of these photos is going on my wall!