Country Roads

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On October 24, we attended the wedding of my cousin Derek in Charleston, West Virginia. The following day became a foliage trip, as we took the scenic route home.

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These three photos were actually taken just before the wedding. Some interesting boats were traversing the river, so while waiting for the ceremony to begin, I took a few snapshots. The sailing ship is actually a replica of one of Christopher Columbus’ ships, the NiƱa.

We wanted to make a few stops on the way back. One was the New River Gorge Bridge. This bridge was built in the 1970’s, and for a time it was the highest span bridge in the world. It may still be the highest and longest in the western hemisphere. At one time, crossing this part of the New River could take up to three hours. The image at the top of the page is of the old bridge, down at the base. Today the gorge can be crossed in just under a minute.

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We saw some amazing views of the regional topography. But as you can see, Michael wasn’t impressed.

Our second stop was for a late lunch in Hinton, West Virginia. You may find this hard to believe, but one of the best views of the New River, or at least this part of it, can be seen from the dining room of a Dairy Queen! Yes, it’s a bit out of the way, but the view is amazing.

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These three photos were all taken from the dining room of this restaurant. The first time I visited this place was in 1995, when the family had a reunion at nearby Bluestone State Park. My brother, mom and I found this place sort of by accident, but never forgot it.

It’s a very popular place for bird watchers. At certain times of the year there are all types of bird feeders and bird houses attracting all manner of feathered visitor. The dining room has one way glass, so most of the visiting birds are unaware of the human spectators.

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These last two photos were taken on I-66, in Virginia, as we crossed the Shenandoah Valley. This highway traverses the region from Covington to Staunton, and finally Charlottesville. Our final stop for this foliage trip was a restaurant in Staunton, Mrs. Rowes restaurant and bakery. I was introduced to this restaurant several years ago by some friends, and I’ve stopped here several times since. Sometimes we stop for a meal, while other times we pick up some things from their freezer. This time we did both. The view isn’t as nice as the place in Hinton, but the food is amazing. Most tour books describe the food as “Americana.” That is to say, it’s not exotic, and most of the dishes are familiar. That doesn’t make it any less delicious. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it. Check their web site for hours and exact directions.

By the time we reached Staunton the frequent changes in altitude were starting to cause us sinus problems. We arrived home around nine in the evening, and all went straight to sleep. We didn’t unpack our bags until the next day.