Saturday evening my wife and I attended a dinner held for the people of the Virginia Horticultural Foundation at the Weblin House in Virginia Beach (I play a small role in helping the foundation put on the Mid-Atlantic Horticulture Short Course). The Weblin house was built in the late 1600's and was a working farm until late in the 20th century when it was swallowed by suburbia. Its current owner and our hostess, Gian Petersen bought the property (along with a few of its original acres) in 1997 when the house was in extreme decline. Since then a lot of very hard work has pulled the house away from the brink, so perhaps it should be here for a few more centuries.
At some point in its history Weblin House became a dairy farm. Several of the structures that served that purpose still persist, including silos, which now seem out of place in the thick of suburban sprawl.
The cow barn/milking parlor has been converted by by Ms. Petersen into a very unique home surrounded by gardens with a large koi pond right outside the kitchen door.
The remaining few acres of the farm are still under cultivation, but are growing crops not likely familiar to first Weblin family. Ms. Petersen is Korean, and much of what she grows reflects her heritage. She has allowed other members of the local Korean community to use a portion of the land to grow their preferred varieties of cabbage, greens, peppers, eggplants and other produce. There were also more than a few Asian persimmon and pear trees, Chinese Dates (Jujubes), figs, pomegranates and many a young ginkgo. Some of what was grown in the garden was also served at dinner. We had bok choi, marinated cucumbers, pickled radish, some really good marinated beef, glass noodles, fried rice, sushi rolls, dumplings and of course, kimchi.
Some may think it odd that a Korean woman would be so dedicated to preserving a small piece of early American history, but Ms. Petersen will be the first to tell you that her efforts are an investment for future generations. I don't think it odd at all, especially when you consider that the first family to occupy this house also came from somewhere else very far away in order to make an investment in the future.