As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
“In memory I go there each night, I stand beside the gate, look up to the house, and once again I hear the voices of my mother and father, my brothers and sisters as we call goodnight to each other before we sleep.” ~Earl Hamner Jr.
As a young child, I had the opportunity to visit “Walton’s Mountain” (Schuyler, VA) with my grandparents. That trip had a lasting impact on me and bits and pieces of it are fresh in my memory like it was just yesterday. One thing that stands out is seeing Mrs. Hamner (Earl’s mother and the inspiration for Olivia Walton on The Waltons) sitting on a rocking chair on her porch. She waved to us and I was starstruck.
Ever since that trip, I have had a strong desire to return to that area and spend more time exploring. My family had the opportunity to do that very thing on a recent visit to Virginia. We visited The Walton’s Mountain Museum and followed it up with a visit to The Waltons Hamner Home. While the surroundings look a bit different, the house itself looks just the same as it did to me as a child (and in my memory).
Only this time was a bit more special. Why? Because we got to go INSIDE the house!
Our trip couldn’t have been planned more perfectly because the house had recently been sold and had literally just opened for tours a few days before our visit!
[clickToTweet tweet=”A visit to the childhood home of Earl Hamner Jr., creator of The Waltons. #familyfriendly #fieldtrip ” quote=”A visit to the childhood home of Earl Hamner Jr., creator of The Waltons. #familyfriendly #fieldtrip @HeidiSays “]
I made arrangements to tour the house before our visit. We walked up the front sidewalk and onto the front porch. At the door, we were greeted by the lovely Laurie Lane, docent and tour guide extraordinaire. Now, let me give you a quick blog tour …
Upon entering the house, one of the first things that you notice is that the house is quite a bit smaller than the one that you see on The Waltons. Right inside the front door hangs the picture of Mrs. Hamner and her 8 children (yes, there were 8, the character of Ben was actually based on a set of twins).
The house was originally a company house owned by the local soapstone company. When the company went out of business, the opportunity to purchase the company houses was made available to the employees and Earl’s father purchased the house.
I’m sure a lot of family time was spent in this room, gathered around the radio listening to Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy or singing along as brother Cliff (aka Jason) played the piano. This room reminds me of a time when families spent more time together in closer quarters. It makes me long for a simpler time!
Next, we were taken upstairs. At the top of the stairs, to the left, is the girls’ bedroom. Again, it’s quite a bit smaller than the room on TV. We were there at the perfect time of day to see the sun shining through the windows. The room looked airy and bright. (FYI: the wedding dress was a gift to the home and an antique piece. I thought it amazing that it’s just out in the open and not locked up behind glass or something. It gives a touch of authenticity to the home.)
Did you ever wonder how John Boy got lucky enough to have a room to himself? I did. I mean, even though he was the oldest child, it just never seemed quite fair that he had a room of his own. Well, guess what? Earl Hamner did NOT have a room of his own! He shared this small room with his 4 younger brothers. The room isn’t very large and I’m not even sure where they all slept.
I only got a picture of this one side of the room, but this is literally all there was to the room – two beds, a closet, and a small dresser by the door. Oh, and the most important part … a desk at the front window. Above that desk hangs a light that the new home owners have decided to leave on at all times. What a special tribute to a very special man!
“I hope you’ll always remember the house as I do. The light in the window, the lonesome call of the whippoorwill, and voices calling Goodnight!” ~Earl Hamner Jr.
Back downstairs, we were able to see the parent’s room. (Yes, you read that right – there were only TWO rooms upstairs!) If the bed looks familiar to you that’s because it’s the ACTUAL bed that was used on The Waltons! The lamp on the dresser is also an authentic piece from the show.
While the room doesn’t look exactly like John and Olivia’s room on the show, I had a strong feeling of reverence while standing in this room. Maybe it was the fact that I had actually seem Mrs. Hamner years ago, I’m not sure. After my family left the room, I just stood there, feeling very nostalgic and a bit teary-eyed. This tour was getting to me!
Unlike on the show, the bathroom was downstairs in the real Hamner home. We didn’t tour that room, however. Instead, our last stop was in the kitchen. Those dishes may look familiar as they were seen on The Waltons. And the sign on the wall that says “Faber Mills” … there’s an episode of The Waltons in which the town of Faber is mentioned – this is why! It was neat to see and hear the little ins and outs of Earl’s stories, based on real life.
I didn’t want to tour to end! I just wanted to curl up and visit for awhile. Laurie, like Mrs. Hamner before her, invited us to join her for some cookies and a cup of tea. And it was lovely!
Just like that, our tour was over. Outside, we enjoyed seeing a brand new addition to the home – an original 1929 Ford truck just like John Walton’s!
We walked back around to the front of the house. Despite the bright sun, we were able to snap a quick picture. My only regret is that we didn’t get a picture with our amazing tour guide! Maybe next time!
You, too, can visit The Waltons Hamner House!
The Waltons Hamner House is located at 128 Tree Top Loop in Schuyler, VA. Laurie is available to give tours daily from 10am to 4pm. Tickets are available for $8 per person (children under 5 and all military personnel are FREE!) at the Walton’s Mountain Museum (just up the road a few yards from the house).
I would highly recommend a visit to this home if you get the chance. Even my 11-year-old son, who hasn’t gotten into The Waltons yet, enjoyed the tour.
Afterwards, be sure to stop and visit the Walton’s Mountain Country Store. We bought a few things, including an autographed copy of Goodnight, John Boy by Earl Hamner Jr.
***This post made possible by The Waltons Hamner House.***
***Special thanks to Laurie Lane for the fabulous tour!***