Monday, May 7, 2012

Three 'Burgs

A Blog of Three ‘Burgs

Gettysburg, PA

     The past three weekends we have enjoyed time in three different but delightful towns: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg and Lynchburg, Virginia.  I guess the last one shouldn’t really count since we live in Lynchburg, but we have spent such little time here lately that it seems like we are just visiting!

     We traveled to Gettysburg to attend a wedding.  The parents of the groom are great friends and the groom and our son have been best friends since second grade.  It had been a while since we last visited Gettysburg and it hasn’t changed much, which is a good thing.  This, of course, was the site of the pivotal battle in The American Civil War.  We arrived on Friday and checked into our hotel, tried to find a Starbuck’s (there aren’t any in Gettysburg) and had an absolutely awful latte served rudely by a disinterested barista at a coffee shop in the Outlet Mall.  We stayed at a Marriott Courtyard which was well kept and clean, had free wireless internet and was conveniently located.   We ate at the Appalachian Brewing Company which is located in a building which was used by General Lee as the Confederate headquarters during the battle.  We enjoyed some vegetarian Thai rolls and split a very good veggie pizza.  We also tried the local brew which was spectacular.  After dinner we drove over to the battlefield.  This particular battlefield is remarkably well preserved and seems like it hasn’t changed since the Civil War.  The view of the sunset from Little Round Top was beautiful.


Sunset from Little Round Top

 Marker for Col. Patrick Henry "Paddy" O'Rourke, 
killed on Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg.  It is local
  folklore that if you rub his nose you
     will have good luck!

     The next morning we went to the new Visitor’s Center, watched the movie produced by the History Channel and narrated by Morgan Freeman and viewed the diorama, a 369 painting depicting the battle.  We then drove through the area occupied by the Confederates, found some re-enactors and viewed the infamous field where Pickett’s charge occurred.  There are monuments everywhere on the battlefield which were placed shortly after the war’s end.  The Pennsylvania Monument on the Union side and the Virginia Monument on the Confederate side are the most impressive.

A portion of the Diorama of
The Battle of Gettysburg


Virginia Monument

      We then attended the wedding at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church.  This church was founded in the 1830s and served as a field hospital for both sides during and after the battle.  The Sisters of Mercy did their best to nurse the most severely injured soldiers which is memorialized by a striking stained glass window on the front right of the church.

Cupola of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church
 Gettysburg, PA

     Gettysburg is a great place to visit, filled with history and respect for the fierce fighting which occurred there and the bravery displayed by both armies.  The community has done a superb job of preserving the battlefield.   Gettysburg has some of the usual tourist type attractions but lacks a lot of the more usual amenities (such as Starbuck’s).  You can still get a great breakfast at Perkin’s,  enjoy a meal at a historic restaurant and view a world famous battlefield which has not been polluted by urban sprawl. 

Williamsburg, VA

Governor's Palace from the Duke of Gloucester Street, Colonial Williamsburg, VA
       We never pass up an opportunity to visit Williamsburg.  We spent part of our honeymoon there almost 35 years ago and have returned often.  Our third son spent his four college years at The College of William and Mary and is now attending law school there as well.  He is very involved at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church and was ringing bells with the college bell choir on Sunday, April 29.  We were also celebrating two birthdays as well.  We made a quick trip on Saturday afternoon and stayed at a Quality Inn which is OK for the price.  The location is great, there is free wireless internet and a free breakfast in the morning.  Colonial Williamsburg is beautiful any time of the year, but particularly so in the Spring.  The gardens are meticulously maintained and, because of Williamsburg’s more coastal location, are ahead of Lynchburg in terms of what’s blooming.  We walked the length of the Duke of Gloucester street under an overcast sky because of the weather were able to wander the gardens which were basically empty.  We had a fantastic dinner at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern (seafood is their specialty and the flounder and scallops special did not disappoint) and then headed back to the hotel.  The next morning we attended the early service at Williamsburg Presbyterian and thoroughly enjoyed the performance of the bell choir.  We then drove on home to Lynchburg.

Christiana Campbell's Tavern
Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Sanctuary, Williamsburg Presbyterian Church


     This weekend we finally stayed home.  Lynchburg has been our home since 1992.  The town began as a convenient crossing point over the James River.  It has served as a transportation hub, both as part of the canal system to Richmond and later for the railroad.  Tobacco was stored and then sold and transported from here.  There was a significant hospital here during the Civil War and we are located only twenty or so miles from the surrender grounds at Appomattox.  Attractions nearby include Poplar Forest, the recently restored summer home designed and built by Thomas Jefferson and the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
     We started our weekend downtown at the First Fridays art exhibit.  There are several galleries downtown which have food and live music on the first Friday of each month year round.  There is a trolley which will take you free of charge on a circuit which includes the downtown galleries and the Lynchburg Art Club on Rivermont Avenue.  We first went to the Academy of Fine Arts where a one artist show was on display and then went to the Riverviews Artspace on the riverfront.  After viewing some interesting fabric art we ate dinner at one our favorite restaurants, The Bull Branch.  It is somewhat tucked away on a side street and has a funky non-Lynchburg type of feel to it.  The menu changes frequently and features locally grown organic vegetables.  The skies cleared and we were able to enjoy the “Super Moon” on full display!

     Saturday morning we got up and went to our Community Market.  There was a slight drizzle which kept the crowds down.  There was the usual great selection of fresh vegetables and plants.  Saturday night we saw “The Hunger Games” (book and movie review to follow soon) after $3 burritos at Moe’s “Cinco de Moe’s” celebration.  Sunday has been a day of catching up, blog writing and cooking (vegetable lasagna from Saturday’s haul at the Community Market). 

Three weekends: Three ‘Burgs.  Love it.

Riverviews Artspace
Lynchburg, Virginia
Gallery, Riverviews Artspace
Langley Fountain from inside Riverviews Artspace
Bull Branch Restaurant, Lynchburg, VA
Entrance to Bull Branch Restaurant
Interior, Bull Branch Restaurant
Lynchburg Community Market
Fresh produce!
... and plants!
"Super Moon" over Lynchburg, VA
May 5, 2012


No comments:

Post a Comment