Up and out for a day in Charleston, West Virginia.
Drive into the city. It’s the capitol of West Virginia. Doesn’t seem like a capitol or major city. Very laid back. Old classy looking homes in the middle of the city.
Start with a free tour of the gold domed capitol building. All very interesting but why do all these politicians need such palatial and expensive offices. What’s wrong with a few low cost portacabins.Followed up with the West Virginia museum. A stunning exploration on West Virginia through the ages. One of the best museums we’ve visited and best of all it’s free.
Sadly the old capitol quarter of the city falling into neglect as all the trades going to the downtown mall. Not all that impressive apart from the Starbuck area. Comfortable seating and waterfall in the mall. Very impressive and pleasant.Wendy has lunch in the old quarter. I get my usual liquid lunch of a coffee. Don’t I just love American coffee. Buy a coffee and get free top ups and they even offer you one to go. Now that’s amazing, sadly I’m not talking about those tax dodgers at Starbucks of course,
Pick up one of my all time American favourites the Italian Subway with lashings of Jalepenos for dinner.
12 weeks here, 4 weeks of that time will be spent sat traffic lights. Get a life, get some roundabouts.
Up early and off down to Shenandoah as we leave West Virginia. As a state it’s famous for it’s coal and you can see why as you drive down the interstate and can see the coal seems on the side of the interstate. Lovely state of mountains and trees as far as the eye can see. Surprised to encounter two toll roads on the interstate, I suppose these along with parking charges everywhere in Charleston are essential to pay for the upkeep of the gold plated state Capitol. Arrive at the Rockfish entrance to Shenandoah National Park at lunch time which gives us the whole afternoon to drive the 105 miles up to the top at Front Royal. A slow trip along the top of the Appalachian mountain range; some 75 pullouts; autumn colours are blooming; one of the most beautiful roads in America. After a long day, 9 hours on the road, we finally arrive at our hotel in Woodstock. Yet another SleepInn. They really are great value for money. Clean, trendy, comfortable, good free breakfast, good wifi and best of all reasonably priced. Compared to the Quality and Comfort hotels in the Choice hotels chain they are the best. These days when I think of Quality Hotels the first word that springs to mind is “tired”, can be run down and tacky. I think SleepInn seems to be the up and coming brand within the Choice Hotels chain.
Amazing Americans visit England to see James Herriot or Downton Abbey. Bugger the rich history and culture.
Drive the bottom quarter of the Skyline Drive (North to South) and then head to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. Glad we booked our house tour in advance as it’s the busiest weekend of the year. Tour of the house is really interesting. What an amazing character he was. What a giant of an intellect Thomas Jefferson was. Not only did he draft the American declaration of independence but was also president of the US, amongst just two of his many achievements. We could do with good old TJ to come and help with our Declaration of Independence from those control freaks in the EU. Mind you quite a bit of his works were based on the English philosopher John Locke.
Drive down to Richmond for our next overnight at a Comfort Suite.
Tonight dinner is at a great all American diner, and unlike “family restaurants” – to be avoided, like Cracker Barrel – this place sells bottles purporting to contain beer.
Try the Rochester Garbage Plate
Wendy needs to add this to one of my all time favourites.
A few words of wisdom on religion from Thomas Jefferson: “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779), quoted from Merrill D Peterson, ed, Thomas Jefferson: Writings (1984), p. 347
Pity some Muslims don’t heed his words.