Each specific cider is named after the Seven original "Hill Houses of Rockbridge County"- where the orchard is located.
"The Seven Hill Houses Of Rockbridge County, Virginia" are Federal style homes built from the mid 1790's to the 1830's. They are: Cherry Hill, c. 1795; Clover Hill, c. 1812; Liberty Hill, c. 1830; Fruit Hill, c. 1820; Rose Hill, c.1820; Fancy Hill, C. 1820; Hickory Hill, c. 1824. They are still standing today.
Each element for Halcyon Days used was hand illustrated at our studio. The final artwork was created using a process called scratchboard. By using a clay-covered board, the artwork was applied using black india ink. Using a sharp tool, the black image is then precisely scratched to reveal the white clay layer below. Scratchboard was invented in the late 1850s as a tool for commercial illustrators and quickly became favored over the expensive and time involved intaglio printing process in which the image is etched in reverse on copperplates.
Growth is plentiful at the orchard. The main Labyrinth Orchard has around 1,000 trees and will build out at 2,000 trees. The orchard is based on the Chartres Labyrinth but 10 times the scale. The concept behind the labyrinth orchard is to encourage 'orchard walks'. Apple trees are planted in a way that let you progress from the newest varieties to ancient ones as you reach the center. If you walk the entire 11 circuit path to the center and back out, it is over 3 miles!
Plans continue on the renovation of an existing 1940's milk barn that was on the property and will house the cider production facility. A recently purchased local log cabin from the 1850's will be reconstructed next to the barn and serve as the tasting room.
Larry Krietemeyer, Orchardist and Cider-maker