Riding ‘Round Virginia

While it can be a challenge to be away from home for several weekends in a row, the benefits include the opportunity to visit with family and friends.  Two weeks ago I was in Williamsburg celebrating my mother’s birthday.  Last weekend, for a mix of meetings and fun, I rode the bike from Blacksburg to Fredericksburg to King George to Richmond and back home.  The weather was bright and beautiful and I enjoyed 600 miles of happy!

My meeting was in  Fredericksburg, an historic town that I had not visited in decades.  Sadly,  I wasn’t able to do much exploring since I arrived late on Friday and had to be in meetings first thing the next morning. I did stay in a hotel that I now hear is haunted, although I saw no sign of ghosts.  The Inn at Old Silk Mill was built in the 1930s and was one of the largest motor lodges on the east coast.

The Silk Mill was built in 1889 and was a factory that employed over 200 women. The women spun silk that was imported from Italy to go around spools for sewing. Originally the C.W Tholtz Throwing Company, The Mill has been recently renovated to host weddings and events.

All the meeting attendees were able to attend Senator Mark Warner‘s annual BBQ.  Located in King George, Senator Warner’s home is located right on the Rappahanock River.

The Senator, and Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, and current candidate for Governor, Ralph Northam, and Attorney General Mark Herring stood in line for hours greeting the many hundreds of people in attendance.

What a wonderful way to say thanks to the many people who have worked to keep Virginia blue.

Next post: Riding Through Civil War History

Brewery Ride – Day 2

When Ike and his partners opened Old Bust Head Brewing Company (OBH) two years ago, there were only 40 other craft breweries in Virginia.  Today, there are over 100.  The craft beer industry is clearly booming, and I was ready to explore a few.

In my previous post, I wrote about my visit to OBH.  On the second day of my trip, I took the road south, back toward home.  Before doing that though, I stopped in Warrenton for coffee and breakfast.  Located in the horse and wine country of Fauquier County, this town of less than 10,000 people is just an hour from Washington DC.

The current County Court House, built in the 1800s, is the 6th one in Fauquier County, several before it having burned to the ground.

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As always, I prefer to visit a local restaurant or diner, even if it means bypassing the free continental breakfast at the hotel.   I sat outside and enjoyed a delicious cold brew coffee and egg croissant sandwich at Deja Brew.

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Before leaving town, I walked around looking for photo opportunities.  Historic buildings, quaint shops, and local restaurants abound in Warrenton.

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Warrenton is also an historic train town, and like many communities, converted an old rail line to a walking trail.  Phase 1 of the Warrenton Branch Greenway was dedicated in 1998.

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Lots of folks were out walking that morning, proving that local governments who invest in their communities improve the financial health of the locality, and the physical health of their citizens.

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After leaving Warrenton, I made a quick stop in Culpeper, another historic town in Virginia.

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Heading onward, I followed Rt 151 through Nelson County.

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Located at the base of the Blue Ridge, Nelson 151 is the home to Seven Wineries, Three Breweries, One Cidery, and One Distillery.  I definitely didn’t have enough time to visit them all, so a return visit to Nelson 151 is in order!  My next stop was Wild Wolf Brewing Company, where I kept it light with an American Pilsner.

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Check out those hops!

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From there I rode onward to Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, makers of Vienna Lager, one of my favorite beers.

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What a fabulous day to be on the bike!

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By the time I pulled into my carport at the end of this brief but oh so great ride, I’d put 620 miles on the bike and a whole lot of happy in my heart.  Thanks for sticking with me through this long post.  Be sure to let me know if you’re going to be in the area. We’ll check out some more of Nelson 151 together!

Brewery Ride- Day 1

The sun streaming through my window had me awake and excited about a weekend on the bike.  Since I only planned to be gone for 36 hours, I was packed and on the road in no time.  Just 45 minutes later, I met my sister for breakfast, and then continued the trip by avoiding the interstate and riding the old state road, Rt 11 North.  The purpose of this trip, after all, was to have unscheduled, unplanned time.   To take my time, stop where I wanted, ride where I wanted, and to explore with no schedule.

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When I stopped in Buchanan to check out the swinging bridge, I saw that I had a Voice Message.  A good Samaritan had found the wallet that I didn’t know I’d lost 45 miles back in Salem.

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So much for leisurely riding!  I hit the interstate hard and fast, thinking the whole time how fortunate I was to have a good guy find my wallet.  It could have been a disaster! It turned out to be an hour and a half detour, but I was definitely not complaining.  Besides, the weather was perfect.

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The only definitive plan I had was to meet some highschool friends at Old Bust Head Brewing Company.  It had been over 35 years since I’d seen Ike, and I was looking forward to visiting the brewery that he and his wife had opened.  After riding 340 miles under clear skies and on dry roads, I rode the last 10 minutes in thunder, lightning, and rain.  Thankfully, Ike directed me into an empty garage space and I was able to keep the bike dry.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinquapin Chestnut Porter, although rest assured that I am extremely careful when I ride the bike.

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Bill, another highschool friend, and his son Bobby, also came out for a mini-reunion.

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After hours of conversation, it was time to check into my hotel.  It was then that I realized that I’d only taken a couple photographs, and I decided I’d return to the brewery early the next day.  Despite being less than an hour from Washington DC, much of Fauquier County is rural, horse country, and the roads back to Old Bust Head made for heavenly morning riding.

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The brewing company is located on property that has changed hands and purposes several times as the centuries rolled by.

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When the U.S. Army moved out of the secret listening post they had installed on this old Virgina farm called Vint Hill, they left behind warehouse buildings full of history and intrigue (this from the Old Bust Head website).

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   Ike and his partners have reclaimed these buildings and have plenty of room to brew, imbibe, and expand in their 30,000 square foot facility (again, from the website). With so much redevelopment going on, directional signs are needed.

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Even with backtracking to reclaim my wallet, Day 1 of the ride was a blast!

 Stay tuned for Day 2!

Sit For a Spell

Last night, I actually did sit for a spell and visit many of your blogs (although I have many more to visit!). For now, I’m off to volunteer at a Dress for Success workday, and THEN I will attempt to work on the photos from my brewery ride last weekend.

** 36 hours / 620 miles / 3 breweries / old friends **

For now, I’ll share this image from Warrenton, VA.

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Is “sit for a spell” a term that you use, or are familiar with?

What a Ride!

It was time for a much needed getaway.  No schedule.  No appointments.

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Just 36 hours through the mountains of Virginia to visit a few breweries and see some highschool friends.

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The time went far too quickly, and before I knew it, I was back home and back on the job.

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I’m working through the photos, and will share them soon.  Until then, I’m off to visit you!

Travel: Trains and Bikes

It’s the beginning of the weekend, and while there is still one more day of work, I’m anticipating a weekend on the motorcycle.  YAY!

The images you see here are my recent contributions to Monochromia.

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If you haven’t visited Monochromia yet, please do! Photographers from around the world contribute some incredible B&W images to this blog, and several of those photographers, including me, will be meeting in NYC in October.

How cool is that?

My travels will prevent me from visiting each of you until next week.  Sending peaceful thoughts during tumultuous times.

Green Atlanta

This third and final post about Atlanta (#1 Art and Architecture and #2 Cuisine and Cocktails) reveals the green side of the city and surrounding towns.  Trees are everywhere, and my early morning walks were much cooler because of the shade.  If you saw my previous two Atlanta posts, you’ll see that many of the photos show the green in the neighborhoods and right in the heart of the city as well.

Piedmont Park, whose mission is to “enhance and preserve Piedmont Park as a vital urban green space and as a cultural and recreational resource that enriches the quality of life for all Atlantans” is a 189 acre park located one mile from Downtown.  The park has been evolving since 1822, and has gone “through several phases, first from a forest to a farm, then to a fairground and suburban park, and finally to the urban park that it is today”

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As Andrew and I walked the trails, we remarked that it seemed similar to New York’s Central Park.  In fact, “in the early 20th century, a redesign plan called the Olmsted plan, was begun by the sons of New York Central Park architect, Frederick Law Olmstead. The effort led to the addition of scenic paths in the park and the joining of the park with the Ansley park system”.

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We walked along a few of the many walking / jogging pathways, but there are so many more things to do at Piedmont Park.

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Green markets, special events, a community garden, sporting events, beekeeping, and a Dog Park offer something for everyone.

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Now you see me …

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Now you don’t!

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Don’t forget to look up while you’re walking!

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The Magnolia trees were huge and full of blossoms,

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and the hydrangeas were lovely, too.

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Speaking of Green and Alternative Transportation, Atlanta has a growing cycling community.  As we pulled up to the traffic light after dinner late on Friday evening, we were stopped by the 4th Annual Moon Ride, a 6 mile night time ride through several intown neighborhoods.  The event is “open to anyone who wants to hit the streets, whether you’ve got a street bike, a mountain bike, a wheel chair or a good ole cruiser”.

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I wish I’d known about it ahead of time as I surely would have joined in.  The photo quality is not great, but that might be because I was dancing to the music that was being broadcast from various golf carts.

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Much to the embarrassment of my son, my dancing got the attention of the police officer monitoring the intersection, and she insisted on taking my photo.

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What a hoot!

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Of course, the whole reason I went to Atlanta was to visit my son, so I’m throwing in a few random shots of Andrew and his Atlanta family.

Mother and Son

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Jon (how I messed up the settings on this easy shot, I will never know)

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Wilson

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Tela

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Thanks for coming along with me on a fabulous trip to Atlanta! I hope you get to visit sometime. It’s a great city and I cannot wait to go back.