Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#64 Abingdon, VA

Ron's sister and brother-in-law told us about a fantastic restaurant they had tried in Abingdon.  As they described this historic, old tavern..turned restaurant, it sounded so good we thought we must give it a try.  Our 30th wedding anniversary was coming up so we made reservations for the 21st at The Tavern.  Knowing how tired we might be after eating a large meal late in the evening, we decided to spend the night in Abingdon too.  As we researched for a place to stay, we came upon The Martha Washington Inn.  Oh my, now this looks like a place to stay for a real special occasion.  We were not disappointed in our meal and we were not disappointed in our selected hotel either.
The Martha Washington Inn
Several famous people have stayed here over the years: Elizabeth Taylor, Eleanor Roosevelt and Present Harry Truman.
 We enjoyed the beautiful pool, hot tub and gardens.
The Martha was built in 1832 and it has quite a history.  Click on the link below to learn more.
The Martha Washington Inn, Abingdon, VA

Our dinner at The Tavern was just as wonderful.  We chose a smoked salmon appetizer that was very tasty.  Ronnie selected a seafood pasta dish and I chose the beef tenderloin medallions.
The Tavern is located about a block and a half from The Martha.  It has quite the historical background too! Click on the link below to learn more.   

One of the day trips we have taken in the past couple of weeks was to Pipestem State Park in West Virginia  and The New River Gorge National River.
At Pipestem State Park, we rode the tram that takes you from the top of the mountain down to the Bluestone River.  We found a hotel and restaurant at the bottom nestled right beside the river..
Pipestem Resort State Park Lodge 

Next, we moved on down the road towards the New River Gorge.  We did not get as far to the famous bridge but we did get to Grandview Overlook on the New River.
Hopefully we can get back to visit the New River Gorge Bridge one day.  There seems to be a lot to explore and enjoy around that historic and very scenic area too.
More later.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

#63 New River Trail State Park, VA

We had a good weather forecast last Sunday: pleasant temperatures, sunny skies and low humidity.  We decided to take advantage of that and ride our bikes on a section of trail in the New River Trail State Park.  This trail is built on an old abandoned railroad track. It has been turned into a trail that can be biked, walked or even used by horseback riders.  We found it's smooth, graveled surface very easy to ride on. We researched online and found that the part of the trail from Fries to Fries Junction was mostly shaded and followed closely along the New River.  I packed water and snacks for a picnic, Ronnie checked the air in our bike tires and off we went.
We had great views of the New River and there were benches along the way where we could rest.

 At Fries Junction, we came to a fork in the trail.  One branched towards Galax and the other towards Pulaski.  We could see that the fork going towards Galax spanned a trestle and that looked way more interesting so we chose to go in that direction.
Once we rode over the trestle we continued a mile or so farther until we came up upon the Grayson Tunnel. 
It wasn't a long tunnel, but it was very dark inside it.
On the other side of the tunnel there was a bench that over looked Chestnut Creek. That's where we enjoyed our picnic.
We rode about 15 miles that day.  We were a little bit tired but not too bad and now we're hooked.  We had forgotten how much we enjoyed riding bikes and hope to try a few other bike trails in the future.

 Later in the week, we visited The River Company Restaurant and Brewery in Fairlawn.  Ronnie and I like to sample different breweries wherever we are traveling and this looked like an interesting place to try.  It was a $2 pint night and that works for us.
The brewery and restaurant was located high on a bluff overlooking the New River.  The dining room was very nice with the exposed beams giving it a rustic, log cabin feel.
Ronnie selected the Southwest "V" India Pale Ale and I chose the Farmhouse Hefeweizen.  Excellent!
Our reuben sandwiches came with hand-cut sweet potato fries.  The fries had an unusual cinnamon infused dipping sauce.  It was so good...
 There are just so many great choices of fun outdoor activities and interesting places to see and visit in southwestern Virginia.  Even though we have been stationary for the past several weeks there seems to be something new to do or see each time we decide to get out. More later..

Saturday, July 5, 2014

# 62 Grayson Highlands State Park, VA

We have decided to spend another month at Fort Chiswell RV Park here in Max Meadows, VA.  We would like to spend more time visiting family plus we get to continue enjoying the beautiful southwestern area of Virginia.

We have explored the areas of Floyd, Big Walker Mountain, Narrows, Pearisburg, Polaski, Hillsville, Newbern, Claytor Lake, Draper Mountain and the Draper Mercantile.  We know about the New River Bike Trail and hope to bike a section of it before we leave.
Wildflowers along the roadside have been abundant!  We saw this mix of day lilies while traveling to Floyd.
We found this hidden lake to be the quietest place.
 Gatewood Park and Reservoir outside Pulaski, VA
We also visited Eggleston, VA.  It was here where we learned the amazing story of Mary Draper Ingles.  She was captured by the Indians about 260 years ago.  She traveled over 800 miles on foot through the wilderness to get back home. To learn more about this incredible story, I downloaded onto my Kindle, Follow the River by James Alexander Thom.  After reading this historical novel, I gained a new perspective of her courage and perseverance.

To celebrate the July Fourth Holiday we visited Grayson Highlands State Park.
 We hiked the Twin Pinnacles Trail.  The park ranger said it was the "premier trail" of  the park.
While on the trail, we saw this tree growing on top of the rock.  Can anyone tell me how this tree was able to do this??

Once we got to the pinnacles, we saw the views of the northwestern mountain range. The bald, cleared areas you see are Christmas tree farms.

Our next hike that day was the Cabin Creek Trail.  Ronnie neglected to tell me it was rated as "difficult".  We made it, wasn't too strenuous.  I carried a backpack of snacks and we were able to enjoy a picnic at the base of the waterfall.

In the clear creek below the falls, we saw trout and crayfish.

Today, we took a drive back to Eggleston.  In my research about Mary Draper Ingles, I read about a restaurant in town called The Palisades.  It sounded like an interesting place so we thought we would give it a try.  We were pleasantly surprised, this restaurant was very good.  As the saying goes.. "You can't judge a book by it's cover." Ronnie describes the interior as "modernized old" as that part had been renovated. The owners kept the quaint character of the building's facade.
We selected wood-fired pizza although the menu had other excellent choices.
Ronnie selected the Southwestern pizza.
I selected the vegetarian pizza.
Our waiter brought us a sample of the sweet mesquite popcorn they serve at the bar and our dessert choice of homemade pomegranate chocolate chip ice cream was so creamy and good.  And yes..we have dinner for tomorrow....

A view of the New River Palisades.