Virginia Backroads – 2010

Virginia Backroads – 2010

     Driving back roads allows us to see more scenery, stop and really appreciate the countryside!  Beginning in the Gloucester area, we drove west until we reached Harrisonburg.  The Sycamore Tavern, between Richmond and Charlottesville, dates from the mid 18th century.  Behind the tavern is an herb garden, and in front is a pump.  Horses were changed, and guests took refreshments.  Today it's the Page Library. 

     A roadside picnic table grove hearkens back to families traveling by car in the 1940s and 50s.  A plaque honors E.  Barbour Pendleton, M. D.

    Cuckoo!  A unique name, but a beautiful, graceful home built in 1819.  Jack Jouett made a ride from the tavern there in 1781 to warn the Virginia government that the British were on their way!

     A train engine in a yard was fascinating! 

     The town of Louisa, in the county of Louisa, was noteworthy.  The courthouse, war memorials, historical society building, several old churches, and some shops were pretty!   Patrick Henry lived here.  John Mercer Langston was born here.   Graves in the cemetery dated back to the early 1800s.  The Boxley Place Inn is a stately example of antebellum architecture.  http://louisatown.org/  http://boxleyplaceinn.com/

     In Barboursville, the ruin of a home designed by Thomas Jefferson and owned by Gov. James Barbour stands.  The home burned on Christmas Day 1814!  A good climb to the top of the hill affords some mountain views.   http://www.virginia.org/site/cities.asp?city=Barboursville

     Harrisonburg, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was a perfect place to stop for the night.  It is a Main Street American town. http://www.harrisonburgtourism.com/   Since we weren't exceptionally hungry, Pennyback's sandwiches and salads were a good choice.  I had Chef Corey's Chicken salads, a mixture of chicken, nuts, and grapes, with a slightly sweet taste.  I added a cup of a spicy black bean soup, which complemented the chicken.  Greg's sandwich, an Italian sub, and his lobster bisque, he relished.  We added a glass each of local white wine, made in stainless steel barrels for a clean, light taste.  The price was $34 before tip.   We ate on the roof, for unique city views.

     In the morning, Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens was a lovely place to take a walk and enjoy the woods.  It's a native preserve, so most of the plants are native to West Virginia.  Unfortunately, most of the flowering plants have had their season.    A pond and miniature waterfall are delightful!  Allow at least an hour.  Admission is free.  http://www.jmu.edu/arboretum/

Part 1

     Also free is admission to the Fireman Museum.  On the third floor of the Public Safety Building, exhibits highlighting the history of the Fire Department include badges, uniforms, and equipment.  Photographs and news stores of fires are displayed on the wall.  It's interesting to see how firefighting has changed.  Firemen are given the respect and honor due them.  They are heroes!  Allow at least 15 minutes.  http://www.harrisonburgva.gov/index.php?id=598

     The Hardesty -Higgins House was the home of Harrisonburg's first mayor, Isaac Hardesty, in 1853.  One room remembers him. http://www.virginia.org/site/description.asp?AttrID=37093

     Another houses the Valley Turnpike Museum.  The turnpike has pioneer and Civil War significance.  Also in the house in the Harrisonburg Rockingham Civil War Orientation Room with a video, a gift shop, and a tea room.  There are many beautiful homes, churches, and gardens in town.  A stroll to see some is a good idea! http://www.harrisonburgtourism.com/v.php?pg=30

     "Do Downtown” is a slogan.  The town has been renovated;, and there are several interesting shops and restaurants.  One, especially, is "The Blue Nile,” an Ethiopian Restaurant!  A surprise, right!  We both decided on the buffet, an appealing array of 12 different dishes.   Our server told us that any dish with the term ‘wat” means spicy, and they were.   Lentils, tofu, chicken and red cabbage are some of the foods we sampled.  We've only had one other experience with this kind of food, but we are liking what we've tried!   The buffet is $8.95 per person.    The building was originally a hotel, and then became other things, including a bus station.  Original wallpaper on the columns add historical authenticity.   http://bluenileva.com/

  Part 2

     We have never had a bad experience in Virginia!  It has charm, history, fabulous scenery, outdoor activities, museum, and so much more!  We'll return.  On to West Virginia!