We’ve crossed the Delaware, Susquehanna, Potomac, and Ohio rivers in the past 5 days, and look forward to sunny days and more leisure to enjoy the ones yet to come (The Missouri! The Mississippi! The Columbia!) One highlight of the trip so far was the memorial service in the chapel at the Virginia Military Institute, honoring the ten young cadets who died in the Battle of New Market in May 1864.
Soft, lilting southern accents permeate the air – the wait staff at restaurants, in particular, sound gracious and kind, and even if the service is a bit slow from time to time, it feels simply good to just sit and wait, talking about the day, the drive, the scenery, the breweries!
I’ve already lost count – there was Star Hill in Crozet, Blue Mountain Brewery in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains, Devil’s Backbone and Blue Lab in Lexington, VA….the Charleston Brewery in West Virginia…and more.
Virginia’s many historic markers included one marking the location of Meriwether Lewis’ birthplace – this gave me a thrill (yes, it did!), because we’re going to be driving in large part along the Lewis & Clark trail once we arrive in St. Louis.
Our drives haven’t started early yet, so there’s been room for morning exercise either at the hotels (terrible equipment!) or running. Rest stops include some serious stretching of legs, hips, shoulders, back – otherwise, yikes!
I’m reviewing many of the places we’re eating on www.yelp.com – so you can look up Pronto and The Red Hen in Lexington, and others I’ll share as we go along. The Red Hen was an extraordinary, tiny restaurant serving meals prepared from daily ingredients sourced locally – truly fine dining, and not something we can afford to repeat every day!
We left Lexington on Friday and drove to Charleston, West Virginia, along miles and miles of absolutely beautiful, winding S-curves, up and down roads across the Blue Ridge, and through West Virginia – I now understand why it’s called the “Mountain State” – it feels like the entire state is series of tiny towns in narrow valleys set between lush green hills. From Charleston we made it to Lexington, Kentucky, site of one of Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood homes.
This Lexington had no VMI, but does have Henry Clay’s home and law office, a thriving bourbon/craft brewing industry, and a busy Saturday morning farm market which I explored. I didn’t get a doughnut today – but Cathy of Cedar Ridge Farm had a delicious sour cream cinnamon roll that was superb with the pourover coffee from MagicBeans Coffee (www.magicbeanscoffee.com.) The growing season has already brought tomatoes, gorgeous peaches, blueberries, strawberries and various greens to the market. The market is set up under a glass pavilion just outside the old Lexington Courthouse, parking was easy, and dogs were abundant!
On to Columbus, Indiana, home of some extraordinary public buildings designed by world-renowned architects…