An Oasis in the Appalachian Mountains

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By John Cowgill

Graham Blandy, a stockbroker from New York City, established a vacation home near the small town of Boyce, Virginia.  When he died in 1926, he donated the property to the University of Virginia, and it was named the Blandy Experimental Farm.  Dr. Orland E. White took over the property years later, and he attempted to grow trees and plants from around the world on this land.  His work was continued through the years.  In 1986, this oasis was named the State Arboretum of Virginia, but the work of Graham Blandy continued, and it continues to the present day.

You’ll see trees and plants from all over the world at the State Arboretum of Virginia.   Among those plants are the Gingko Trees. They are originally grown in Asia; when you visit the Gingko Grove, you will see the largest collection of Gingkos outside of Asia.  Other plants include Cedars of Lebanon, and numerous gardens to include the Herb Garden and Zoo Garden.  There is so much here that you may need to make more than one trip to see everything this oasis has to offer.

The State Arboretum of Virginia is open every day of the year.  Yes, that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.  It is open from sunrise to sunset, and it is free to visit.  It is located at 400 Blandy Farm Lane off U.S. Route 17/50 one mile east of Boyce and U.S. Route 340.

The State Arboretum of Virginia is a farm, an arboretum, an oasis.  It is truly a place where you really can get away.


John Cowgill ( loves to visit historic places to include lesser-known sites.  He loves taking road trips, and he loves railroads.  You can also follow him on Facebook at ‘John Cowgill: Photographic Journeys’ and John Cowgill: DC Railroad Examiner.  You can also check out ‘John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad’ at


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