Tales from the 2016 Road: West Virginia’s “Pot Handle”

13

July 13-14, 2016, Martinsburg-  My processing and purchase of a 2013 Hyundai Elantra became final at 12:30 PM.  I gathered my stuff at Days Inn, went over to Sugar Hill Auto and transferred everything from the Altima, paid up, said goodbye to the Old Trouper and went for lunch at Blue Colony Diner.  It was time to head south.

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Blue Colony Diner, Newtown, CT

The very Russian waitress was rather brusque, and hurried, something to which I’m not accustomed.  The Reuben was nicely prepared, though, so I made do.

Southward became a bit of a slog, at first.  An enormous pile-up, involving three tractor-trailers and eight cars, had taken place on I-84, between Newburgh and Middletown.  I stayed in queue, until the State Police ushered us all off, at Exit 5-A.  I went south when most everyone else headed north.  The road from Goshen to Middletown was relatively empty,and I was back on I-84, in less than an hour. I was in Pennsylvania, a short time later, stopping at a Rest Area in Mountaintop, where my eldest brother and his family once lived, and enjoying the other half of my Reuben.

There was a second pile-up, near Hershey, but it was on the eastbound I-78.  I took the westbound, to I-81, near Chambersburg.  Then, it was a short hop, through a narrow stretch of Maryland, to Martinsburg,WV.

After a very restful sleep, followed by continental breakfast, it was time to spend a bit of time taking in Martinsburg’s downtown.  There are several Federal Period structures here, as there are across both West Virginia and Virginia.

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First Presbyterian Church, Martinsburg,  WV

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Berkeley County Courthouse, Martinsburg, WV

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Martinsburg Arts Centre

The center of town is marked by a landscaped little square.

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Central Square, Martinsburg, WV

The house built by General Adam Stephen, founder of Martinsburg, is preserved on the city’s southeast side.  General Stephen’s residence was built of native limestone.

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Adam Stephen House, Martinsburg

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Root Cellar and Spring House, Adam Stephen House, Martinsburg

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Native Limestone, Adam Stephen House, Martinsburg

The brick house next door was built by Philip Showers, in 1874, and housed railroad workers and their families.  It is called the Triple Brick House, and was divided into three dwellings.  Today, Triple Brick House serves as Martinsburg’s Historical Museum.

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Triple Brick House, Martinsburg

This city was a Western outpost of Revolutionary forces during the War for Independence, and has had a key role in subsequent conflicts, from the War of 1812 to the “War on Drugs”, of the Reagan Era.  It is now home to major offices of the Department of Homeland Security.  Yet, on this quiet morning, it was a place of restfulness and reflection.  There is much in the “Pothandle” of eastern West Virginia to explore and enjoy, so I will come through here again.  It was time, however, to get as far south as possible by this evening.

NEXT:  Harrisonburg of the Shenandoah