Friday, September 21, 2007

The Falls of Hills Creek, Jefferson, & The Blue Ridge Parkway

The morning started with a drive eastward on Highway 39 in West Virginia. The first stop was the Falls of Hills Creek, a set of 3 falls (creatively named Upper, Middle & Lower - the default naming convention for waterfalls occurring in triplicate) in the Monongahela (nearly the most enjoyable word to say - ever) National Forest. Rising early has its advantages as the sun had yet to creep up on the falls and I was able to shoot some very slow speed photos. I was the only one there and it was wonderful.

From here, the drive wound into Virginia where I called upon a few old churches and then...and then, on to the celebrated Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Though this entire day has really been the highlight of the trip so far, one might say that the visit to Monticello constituted the oft mentioned but rarely seen (outside the world of ice cream sundaes, anyway) "cherry on top". The man had a clock in every room; we would've been fast friends. After gazing upon such interior history as Jefferson's boots, writing desk (with copy machine - 2 pens rigged together so that when the venerable Thomas wrote with one the other would make an exact copy on another sheet of paper), "automatic" doors, artifacts from the Lewis & Clark Expedition and many busts and paintings ranging from Voltaire (bust) to the head of John the Baptist upon a plate (painting), I wandered the grounds for a while, paid my respects at Jefferson's grave and returned via footpath to the parking lot. Following this, I made an obligatory stop at the Monticello Visitor's Center and was surprised to learn (via the "museum" portion of the center) that Jefferson owned a pair of spectacles with green lenses - a fact of which 1/2 of the gift shop staff were not aware (a genial older woman who claimed that I "just made her day" with the passing on of tinted glasses knowledge).

After all of this, I decided to retire to a peaceful, 15 mile drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway which was, of course, worth every minute. In continuation of the retirement theme, I now find myself in the Super 8 hotel of Waynesboro (no elevator, 3rd floor, thank goodness I don't have back problems) looking out of the window in view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, wreathed in the pink haze of sunset with a 1/2 moon watching overhead.

The Stats:

Driving Time: 4 Hours
Driving Miles: 300+

What was Heard:
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack (So good I helped myself to 2nds)
Lots more of Bluegrass Junction on XM


Mom and Dad said...

Bill Bryson, watch out! The forthcoming Oh! Appalachia book will be on the bestseller list.

Tim the IT guy at Karl's said...

You are traveling along my favorite places to 'get lost' from the stress of daily life, and get in touch with really 'living'. Keep up the good writing, I'm enjoying traveling with you in my mind.