Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Surprising Stay

On Tuesday we packed up the car and headed slightly north to Lexington, the second stop of our Virginia tour. The Red Roof Inn in Troutville served its purpose but it was far from an excellent place to stay… stayed in worse and stayed in better. With the change we knew that we would be staying at the Hampton Inn which we thought would be a step up from where we were. What we didn’t expect was how big that step would turn out to be. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, the historic (main building built in 1820) Hampton Inn in Lexington was quite the surprise.

During our stay there we ventured off to a few other locations (i.e. Natural Bridge and Bear Mountain) but also took advantage of both the amenities and architecture at the hotel…

…as well as the close proximity (five minute walk) to the heart of Lexington. By the way, I highly recommend the Southern Inn and Bistro On Main for dinner. Best meals, by far, during this trip so far.

Today, our final morning before driving across the Commonwealth, we took advantage of the loose schedule and spent some time at the Stonewall Jackson House which proved to be a fascinating glimpse into the complicated (and some would say conflicted) life of the Confederate general. It is one thing to read a book or watch a movie about him like “Gods and Generals” but it is a different experience and perspective when walking through his home.  

From the museum we walked across the street and did something that I haven’t done in some time (I actually can’t remember the last time)… we went for a carriage ride around town. Much like the tour bus we rode in Pittsburgh last month, this was a great way to get an overview of the town and take in as much as possible with the time that we had. In addition to the slow ride past many of the historic houses and buildings up and down the streets…

…we also passed many of the buildings which are part of Washington & Lee University.

As we made the final turn to return to our original departure point near the Visitor’s Center…

…I could see the foreboding buildings of VMI making their presence known in the distance.

And as the fortress like structure came into view we passed the resting place of one of the former instructors… Stonewall Jackson.

Back at the car as my family stretched for one last time, I ducked into the Rockbridge County Historical Society. While not as fruitful as I was hoping, it was a good conversation nevertheless and I was able to walk out of the small building with a few new contacts in the area for further research inquiries. With our feet beginning to throb we welcomed the long drive although there was a little letdown having to leave these counties to which we are so closely tied. So long Botetourt, Rockbridge, and Amherst Counties. We will be back again soon!