Saturday, July 16, 2011

Route 11 Road Trip -- Day 1: Winchester

On the road to Winchester

Our adventures actually started before we reached Winchester. We left early in the morning and took a back road from our home. It took us through Front Royal, where we found a farmer's market in the town square.

The town center farmer's market at Front Royal
The square also featured a large sundail (that was pretty accurate, at least according to my watch and asmall bandstand.  Not everyone was local -- I overheard an animnated coversation in German as we walked back to the car.

Dinosaur Land! How could we pass it up?
On the road to Winchester, we passed Dinosaur Land. I know absolutely nothing about the place, save that it looked like it had seen better days. When traffic patterns change, many of the businesses along the older roads that rely on tourists tend to wither -- like Dinosaur Lnad.


Winchester is where Route 11 enters Virginia. The road is also known as the Valley Turnpike, and has its origins as a wagon route. The city stands at the mouth of the Shenadoah Valley, and was of major strategic value during the Civil War. The rich farmlands of the Valley were called the "Breadbasket of the Confederacy." Union troops were sent to capture and destroy that breadbasket, opposed by the out-numbered and  under-equipped confederates lead by Stonewall Jackson.  The hit-and-run tactics of Jackson tied up the larger Union force and ranged up and down the Valley. There are historic road markers about every two miles ( or so it seems) marking some skirmish or battle of the Valley Campaign.

One of the many unique
structures in Old Town.
Winchester's downtown (Old Town) was beautiful. The center is bricked over to make a pedestrian mall, and most of the boutique shops and restaurants seemed to be thriving. Of course, Winchester is the county seat for Frederick County,  a refuge for the rich and powerful (and horse owners) from Washington, DC. There seemed to be not a few businesses catering to the carriage trade.
Apples and Rebels
Throughout the city, large apples had been set up for public art. I've seen similar projects elsewhere -- the concept is that different artists decorate the shapes, making them simultaneously uniform and unique. Sort of like variations on a theme. The oddest one I thought featured different portraits of people important to Winchester.

As you can see in the photo below, there's Stonewall Jackson. I remarked on the odd placement on Facebook, and someone pedantically explained that Stuart encamped in Winchester. True, but I stick by my original thought.  When I think of Winchester, I think of apples. When I think of apples, I don't think of Stonewall Jackson.

Winchester = apples = Stonewall Jackson ?!
Tomorrow it's on down the road, to Stephens City and beyond!

#route 11

Route 11 Road Trip -- The Plan

Route 11 Road Trip - Day 2: Winchester to Harrisonburg

Route 11 Road Trip - Day 3: Harrisonburg to Lexington

Route 11 Road Trip - Day 4: Lexington

Route 11 Road Trip - Day 5: Lexington to Christiansburg

Route 11 Road Trip - Day 6: Christiansburg to Abingdon

Route 11 Road Trip: Day 7 Abingdon to Bristol

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