In the US today it is the Thanksgiving national holiday, where we reflect on our lives, our friends and our family and are thankful for the good things in all of them.

After a short trip to Loudoun County, Virginia for the first-ever Symposium on Social Media in Tourism (SoMeT,) I’m really thankful for those visionaries who can look at broken-down, bedraggled old buildings, see possibilities for them, bring them miraculously back to life and then let all of us enjoy their living history.

In Broadlands, Virginia, I’m thinking of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, where we had dinner and did some minor carousing during the conference. It’s a series of gorgeous old timber barns, houses and taverns from the 18th and 19th centuries that have been preserved and brought together to form a rambling complex of restaurant rooms and bars (complete with restored carriages hanging from the ceiling in one of the bars.)

nterior of one of the bars at Clyde's Willow Creek Farm in Broadlands, Virginia (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

In Clarksdale, Mississippi, I’m thinking of the Shack Up Inn, a motley-looking and history-soaked collection of converted sharecropper shacks brought together at the old Hopson plantation and now serving as the state’s most famous B&B (“Bed and Beer.”)  All because a few nutball guys who love the blues and the Delta decided throw all sense to the winds and preserve what they loved (and yes, they did install indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning.)

Converted sharecropper shack at the Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale Mississippi (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Thank you to all of those who preserve history for the rest of us….even if they don’t really think of themselves as preservationists or belong to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The people who can see a future for the things from our past are themselves a national treasure.

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