July Road Notes, Day 12: One Home after Another

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July 16, 2021, Oley- One of the things Penny used to say was that, wherever we went, someone would “adopt” me. This has been a nice feature of travel, all along, especially since I’ve been back on my own. Most people who befriend me in that way have been sincere. Of course, there are those with a “victim” mentality, who couple their expressions of “brotherhood” with pleas for money, but that is a story best set aside, for now.

The Village Inn, where I stayed last night, is a gem on Harrisonburg’s southern edge. A full breakfast buffet awaited, this morning. I brought my face mask, just in case, and there were gloves to use, but few people took the hint. The meal was hearty, and the grandmotherly attendant kept everyone well-supplied with coffee, tea, juice and cool water. I was barely out the door to my room by check-out time.

My downtown visit took in several areas on the Near South Side that had gone overlooked in the past-as my earlier focuses were Artful Dodger Café (now defunct) and James Madison University. The cafe’s site is now occupied by a similarly-themed Duke’s Restaurant and Bar. The place is every bit as welcoming as Artful was, and it is nice to have new friends as my northwest Virginia “anchor”.

Here are some scenes of this Harrisonburg stopover.

Harrisonburg City Hall, on the east entrance
Same building, on the south entrance
Even the local Parts Association has a festive mien!
Pendleton Community Bank has inherited quite a fortress.
Here is Duke’s, where Artful’s friendly people have been succeeded by new friendly people. It still feels like home.
As with any community, all has not been fun and games in Harrisonburg. The people here own up to the truth, though, and this dark incident in “H’burg’s” past will never be swept under the rug.

I left Harrisonburg, after getting a takeout lunch item, to be savoured at my next stop up the Spine of Virginia: Winchester. My first stop there was at a city park, to enjoy lunch in the shade.

Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, VA

Old Town Winchester is a marvel of a place, including a Pedestrian Mall along Loudoun Street. It has plenty of shops and historical markers, and a spacious Splash Pad for kids of all ages to enjoy.

This law office building is an example of mid-Nineteenth Century Winchester’s edifices.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church added to its property, as the congregation grew. Thus, it is a “two-tone” parish.
The Handley Library affirms Winchester’s commitment to learning for all. The South has come a long way out of the darkness, and there will, in the long term, be no going back, in any real sense.
Winchester’s Civil War Museum places the full story in an institution of learning, where it belongs.
Winchester’s Rouss City Hall is named for Charles Broadway Rouss, an entrepreneur who donated half of the funds needed to build the edifice. https://www.winchesterva.gov/rouss-city-hall-history

After passing the delightful Splash Pad (not shown here, as there were several children at play in the spot), I headed out of Winchester and up through West Virginia’s “Pot Handle”, a small nub of central Maryland and across Pennsylvania, to yet another home: Glick’s Greenhouse, which is in the process of getting newer and better. More on that, in the next post.

Unicorns will always have a place in my heart, and I’m not concerned about the colours. Rainbows belong to everyone,

Fortresses and Myths

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July 22, 2017, Lexington, VA-

I stopped, overnight, in a town I love:  Harrisonburg, home to James Madison University, to two young couples, who I love as if they were my own children, and to another young lady, whom I also love like a daughter, but who has become a bit estranged, over the past year or so.  I visited the former, at their establishment:  Artful Cafe (formerly known as Artful Dodger), in the heart of downtown H’burg.  Readers might remember this place from my 2016 excursion.  They were coasting, on Friday night, saving their energy to lovingly greet participants in the Shenandoah Pride Festival, which was today’s big event.  I stopped by, again this noon, on my way out of town, and purchased enough cold brew coffee to keep me happy, on the way to Lexington.  The definitely straight young husbands were bare-chested, in solidarity with the Pride group-who, ironically, had not a bare chested person among them.  Their wives sported rainbow bandanas, as their contribution.  Me?  I am very happy with my woman-loving self, and I accept other people’s sexuality, without casting the judgement that belongs to the Creator alone.

I spent about thirty minutes with my Lost Angel,

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J filled me in on her life, of the past two years and, more importantly, of her dreams for the next few.  She seemed a bit embarrassed to not have any great achievements to recount, but you know, just seeing her and knowing that she was essentially okay, was more than enough.  J, and the other four kids, are people who I just want to see happy, as I do with my son and his lovely girlfriend.

I headed south, on I-81, with Charleston, WV and beyond on my radar screen.  Then, I saw a sign for Stonewall Jackson House, as Lexington loomed ahead.  I know, “He betrayed our country!”.  There are those who beg to differ, so being an admirer of some OTHER aspects of his life, I left the highway and drove past the formidable fastness of Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall was an instructor, prior to the cataclysm.

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My interest in Thomas Jonathan Jackson, though,was not in his military exploits, but in his creativity and in his foresight.  His garden was decidedly Jeffersonian, incorporating many of the ideas put into practice at Monticello, including drip irrigation and organic crop rotation.  As you can see, he did make every square inch count for something.  The scarecrow was a “falcon”.

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Stonewall also, to the consternation of Lexington’s other citizens, believed Black people should be literate, and taught his “house servants” to read the Bible.  I would not be surprised to learn that this action of his actually led to his being coerced to join the Confederate Army, whose cause, despite his ferocity in battle, he only tepidly supported.  He died at the hands of one of his own sentries, which could very well have not been an accident.  Saddest of all, his own sister, an Abolitionist, declared him “dead to her”, upon the secession of Virginia and his being recruited by Robert E. Lee, in 1861.

TJ was a man of culture, and did foresee the end of slavery, war or no war.  He believed in the universality of learning, and maintained a progressive home.

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Satisfied that I had confirmed my suspicions about the decent side of Colonel Jackson, I headed west, across the Mountain State.  At a rest area, off I-64, east of Beckley, WV, I took a photo of the Blue Ridge, and found what looks like another being, inserting self into the view, gazing northward.

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Being far from alone, then, I continued on, into more rain and made it to Olive Hill, KY, before stopping at Spanish Mansion Inn.  More about it, and the Ohio River, in my next post.

 

Tales from the 2016 Road: Harrisonburg, of the Shenandoah

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July 14, 2016, Harrisonburg, VA- The Spine of Virginia is replete with picturesque cities and towns, of various sizes, from sprawling Roanoke and bustling Charlottesville, to compact places like Dublin and Damascus.  I decided to stop for lunch, and a stretch, in Harrisonburg, a city about the size of Prescott, and whose civic life is also centered on the area around its courthouse.  Court Square, west of James Madison University, has a variety of eateries and clothing shops.  I was drawn to Artful Dodger Coffeehouse and Cocktail Lounge.  Being a teetotaler, I was a curiosity to the couple who tend bar and manage the place.  I enjoyed my iced tea and tuna sandwich, regardless.  Jaqie and Rob couldn’t have been nicer.  It was pointed out to me that, if I stuck around until Friday night, I could get free Salsa Dance lessons.  There but for fortune, go I, towards Florida, but maybe on my next pass.

Here are some scenes both inside and outside of Dodger:

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The ethic of Artful Dodger, Harrisonburg, VA

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Party Time, Harrisonburg, VA

 

Once I parked my car, I passed by the town’s Welcome Center, on the way to lunch.

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Harrisonburg Welcome Center

Inside Artful Dodger, Jaqie and Rob were chatting with the regulars- about something going on Friday night, and I busied myself with the accouterments of the house, whilst waiting for my meal.

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The sun shines within; Artful Dodger Coffeehouse, Harrisonburg

 

After a good forty-five minutes out of the heat, I set out for a brief exploration of Court Square.

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Rockingham County Court House, Harrisonburg, VA

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Fountains, in Court House Plaza, Harrisonburg

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Small garden, Court House Plaza, Harrisonburg

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Panels, Court House, Harrisonburg, VA

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Unnamed building, southeast corner of Court Square, Harrisonburg, VA

I will regard this little town as another link in the chain of homes I seem to be building, whilst continuing to connect with friends and family.  it is always about expanding the network.

NEXT:  The Road Back to Florida