Two Day Trip

Ah, western Virginia. Into the mountains and the small towns along the Blue Ridge. First day hit Staunton, birthplace of Woodrow Wilson and Billy Haines. President Wilson’s library and museum have much to see. Collections of his personal memorabilia and everything to do with the events of his time. Women’s suffrage, World War I, including old Pierce Arrow autos.

There is no marker for actor Billy Haines’ birthplace. The M-G-M star of the 1920s made a post-movie career for himself as an interior decorator for the stars. He and his partner Jimmy Shields lived a long happily married life.

Went to the local farmer’s market and were amazed at the size and amount of vegetables and other items. Great number of businesses along the main street, Beverly but less so in other parts of downtown. Very helpful visitor’s center.

Down Route 81 to Roanoke, Virginia. We went to the Taubman Museum to see its collection.

The building is a great design but it really lacks effective connection to the local streets. The cafe is hidden and there are no entrances to the Market Square where many locals and tourists go for food and activities.

We enjoyed much of the collection and really enjoyed Tim Tate’s exhibit.

The show had beautiful imagery inside glass reliquaries and on the walls beside the glass pieces. It really drew raves from staff and visitors.

After going to our hotel and relaxing, we drove back downtown to look at the Market Center area for dinner. We were surprised to see pricey menus and eventually opted for a sea food restaurant in the Grandin Court neighborhood. Home to hipppies who could afford to move out of downtown, the area had an art deco movie theater, a ballet theater, and a few co-ops and natural foods locations.

Eventually, we returned to downtown and drove past a few of the local gay bars.  The neighborhood place had a big pool table and a small counter area. The dnace club wasn’t opened yet and the other palce seemed more gay-friendly than gay.

Next day we drove to Otters Peak and saw the National Park Service’s Johnson Family Farm from the 1850s. Enjoyed the excursion in the woods and seeing fauns. Then off to Otter Peak Vineyard to taste wines made of fruits, including plum, apple, and mango (Plumlicious, and Mango Tango were some of the 11 names for these sweet after-dinner wines).

Stopped in a small town called Bedford for a walk around and lunch at a nice little restaurant, Court Street Pizza. Nice to see all the small businesses that can continue to flourish in a small county seat.

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