July 31, 2013

Pageant of Steam

On Sunday we went to Berryville to see the "Pageant of Steam." The focus of the show was old steam-powered vehicles, but there were other events including a flea market.

Steam engines were once important in manufacturing and agriculture as well as on railroads.

Pictured here are a Frick Portable Steam Engine from 1923 and a Chase Shingle Mill from 1910.

We were there in time to see the Mule Pull, in which mules and horses showed off their strength by dragging a weighted skid a certain distance. We only watched for a short time before leaving to get lunch.

Link: Shenandoah Valley Steam & Gas Engine Association

July 30, 2013

The Old Hotel Edinburg

In Shenandoah County, Virginia

Across from the bank in Edinburg is an old hotel that is currently used by the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). When I first tried to take a picture of it, a vehicle pulled in beside me. There was an attractive guy in the passenger seat so I took his picture!

When I looked for information on this old hotel, I found a postcard image. I assume the train once stopped nearby, making this an ideal location for travelers.

I crossed Stoney Creek Road to get a picture near the railroad. One set of railroad tracks has been removed and the other set is in disrepair. The train doesn't run here anymore.

A plaque gives the date of the hotel as 1904. It was placed by the Edinburg Heritage Foundation.

 Link: Town of Edinburg — Organizations

July 29, 2013

I Should Have Exited at Tom's Brook

On Saturday I got stuck in traffic on I-81 north of Tom's Brook.  We'd stop, creep forward, stop again and so on.

I didn't get upset. I took a few pictures, listened to the radio, and reminded myself that I-81 on a bad day is like I-66 on a good day. Or I-95, or the Capital Beltway... I used to live in Northern Virginia and I sure don't miss the traffic!

Besides, who can complain when the scenery is so pretty?



Gladioli, or Sword Lilies

July 28, 2013

Scenes from Across the Lake

Late on a recent afternoon we walked around the lake. I took the first photo from the dam, looking toward the first house you pass when you enter the community.

The second picture has some cattails in the foreground. They are also called catninetail, punks, corn dog grass, or bulrush, but the scientific name is typha.

July 27, 2013

Girl Riding a Bike

It looked like she was having fun! I don't know her, but she and her family were enjoying a morning ride.

July 26, 2013

Zinnia Angel

I wanted to make a photograph for Orange You Glad It's Friday so I picked some zinnias in the late afternoon. It's a good time to take pictures because the light has a warm tint and long shadows can look dramatic.

I made a number of shots using the garden angel as a prop. Which do you prefer?

Rain Finds it's Way

We had some sudden storms earlier this week and they went as quickly as they came. The rain on the roof is supposed to be channeled into the downspouts, but sometimes the water overflows the gutters and splashes wherever it pleases.

Metro Construction

When we took Marie to Dulles Airport I made the short drive from there to Tysons Corner. I had two items to return to LL Bean and figured I could try on a pair of pants there.

Tysons has had bad traffic for decades but I was not expecting it to be worse than it used to be during holiday shopping season. I forgot that Metro is being built there — finally! The subway should have gone there years ago, and now that it's being added, the construction is slowing traffic to a crawl.

I did find some pants that fit, at least. Same size as the pair I returned, totally different fit!

July 25, 2013

Bird in Flight, Late Afternoon

I believe this bird is just a vulture but it looks neat against the sky.

July 24, 2013

The Blackberry Affair Tour

The Battle of Wapping Heights is also called the Battle of Manassas Gap, but it also had the folksy name of The Blackberry Affair. This was due to the temptation posed by local berries which actually delayed many soldiers who were unable to resist the fruit.

The battle took place 150 years ago but is not well known because it was dwarfed by the Battle of Gettysburg earlier that month. Yet it was the final battle of the Gettysburg Campaign, and the largest military engagement in Warren County (which happens to be where we live).

I've done many Civil War tours but was not familiar with this battle. Our tour leader was Patrick Ferris of the Warren Heritage Society in Front Royal, which is where we started the tour.

A planned stop at Morgan Ford was canceled due to high water on the Shenandoah so instead we went to Riverton to discuss the river crossings. From there we drove in a car caravan to Manassas Gap, stopping at several points around Linden.

If that marker in the first picture looks familiar, it might be because I wrote about it in December.

The outcome of the battle was basically that although there were 400 casualties, there was no clear victory. Most of the Lee's army slipped away during the night and made it back to the position they had occupied before they embarked on the unsuccessful campaign into Pennsylvania.

July 23, 2013

Down by the Riverside

We took a Civil War tour today, which is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Wapping Heights. This was the last battle of the Gettysburg Campaign as Lee's army struggled to return to the Rappahannock after being defeated in Pennsylvania.

Here Patrick Farris lectures in front of Riverside, a historic home in Riverton, a community on the outskirts of Front Royal. Lee's army crossed the Shenandoah River near here on pontoon bridges that were put in place by the pioneers, the equivalent of today's Corps of Engineers. Historian Farris explained that Lee's pioneers were made up of free blacks, enslaved blacks, and white men. I was interested to hear this because there's a sign at Port Republic that refers to bridges constructed by Stonewall Jackson's African-American engineer troops, and someone who saw that on this web wrote to me asking if they were free or enslaved and at that time I did not know.
Riverside is privately owned. Earlier in the war it was used by Stonewall Jackson, who briefly headquartered here.

July 22, 2013

Marie Visits

If there's anything that cheers me more than talking to a family member, it's having them visit for a few days. So a visit last weekend from Marie was a treat for me!

At the end of the visit, I dropped her off at the airport and she flew to Mexico, where she is spending a month. Take a look at her blog.
Dinner at Main Street Mill in Front Royal
Bon voyage, or should I say Buen vieje?

July 21, 2013

The Patsy Cline House

We took my daughter Marie to Winchester to tour the Patsy Cline House and Museum. It's only been open since 2011 and it's furnished as it would have been in when she lived here between 1948 and 1953.

A marker out front tells us that in "1957 she won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts national television show’s competition singing “Walkin’ After Midnight.” In 1961 “I fall to Pieces” became a hit. Her iconic “Crazy” was released a year later. Her haunting voice took her to the top of the charts, and her style and popularity have never waned. She died in an airplane crash on 5 Mar. 1963 in Camden, Tennessee."

The decor of the house reminded me of homes I saw as a child. Our tour guide stressed how hard Patsy's mother worked to support her children and help Patsy start her career. Patsy worked hard too, quitting high school to work at various jobs in Winchester. The town, however, did not celebrate her singing career until long after her death.

One of the places Patsy worked was Gaunt's Drug Store, shown in the third photo.

July 20, 2013

A Monument to Civil War Horses

Not too long ago someone asked me if there was a memorial for Civil War horses. Yes, I had seen one when we visited the National Sporting Library in Middleburg.

Here it is! Inspired by the book Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville, philanthropist and horse-enthusiast Paul Mellon commissioned the bronze horse in memory of the million-plus horses that fell during the war. The horse was deliberately made to look hungry and exhausted.

Read about the history of this sculpture.

Also on the grounds of the sporting library is a Civil War Trails marker about the Battle of Middleburg, which took place in 1863 as Lee's army marched toward Gettysburg.

Twilight and a Cheating Moon

I didn't want to run yet another beach photo for my Skywatch Post so I picked out a few that I took from our yard after we got back.

I really liked the second one, but I must confess I added the moon to give it a point of interest. The moon was actually in another part of the sky, as I photographed it in the third shot. I was able to select it in Photoshop, copy it and paste it in a "sweet spot," that is, a third of the way from the edge.

Chances are you wouldn't have noticed unless you are an astronomer who knows the moon is not in that particular position at dusk, but I know there are true skywatchers out there who might have caught my fabrication!

July 19, 2013

Wildfowl Museum

The Atlantic Wildfowl Museum is next to the Hotel Newcastle in Virginia Beach. A boardwalk tour sign tells us:
The days of skies darkened by flight of ducks and geese may be gone, but memories of those days are preserved through the works of art and preserved artifacts.
A marker on the other side of the museum is shown on the Historical Marker Database.

Boats on the Ocean

This is a tour boat rigged to look like a pirate ship (sort of). Looks like pirates are still in vogue! (We also visited a pirate-theme miniature golf course.)

The second picture is another photo I took at dawn in Virginia Beach. A couple of sea gulls are flying against the orange sky.

July 18, 2013


Atlantic Ocean at Dawn

Definitions of "swell" include:
  1. the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea 
  2. a succession of waves or a single large wave.

July 17, 2013

Our Trio on the Beach

A Week Ago at Virginia Beach

Frank met his daughter and her husband for a dawn walk on the beach. They strolled to the pier and came back via the boardwalk.