Steeles Tavern Manor

Steeles Tavern Manor
The amazingly comfortable Steeles Tavern Manor near Lexington Virginia.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Touring Virginia's and West Virginia's Civil War Sites by Clint Johnson

I wanted to find a good, complete resource for Virginia's Civil War sites. 

I picked up Clint Johnson's "Touring Virginia's and West Virginia's Civil War Sites" some time ago, and I believe it is the most complete reference for someone wanting to visit places connected to the Civil War in the Virginias.

This PACKED book clocks in at over 350 pages with no filler.  I wonder how much time the author spent in his tireless research on this one....

The book is divided into 18 separate road trips that one could take around the Virginias.  So it is divided into sections by geography instead of chronology.

For most of us, that is the perfect way to organize a book like this.  You have a good idea of what sites are in an area.

And honestly- this isn't a new idea.  I have many books like this.

BUT, Johnson's book is very unique.  It reads just like you are on a road trip with him.  He gives very specific directions about how to get to a battlefield or monument.  He suggests side trips.

ALSO, he gives a great description of what happened at a site, and why it is important to the Civil War tourist.  You could skip over the travel info in this volume, and you would still have a great book about the Civil War in this area.

AND he writes like someone who cares about these sites and their history.  His writing is electric and enthusiastic.

I quickly realized after I started reading, that this was not a book to skim.  This is a book to read slowly and enjoy.  It is also a perfect book to read with a note pad handy.

There are some very interesting facts I learned from Clint Johnson's book.  For example, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and John Wilkes Booth were present for the hanging of John Brown.  The designer of the Confederate battle flag is ironically buried in Union West Virginia.  An inn in Middleburg Virginia was a favorite of John Mosby... and JFK and Jackie.

You know I have added some of those sites to my list of places to see.

I also think that any good book should answer questions.... but it should also spark more curiosity.  Johnson does that in this book.  He mentions several places with rich Civil War history, but with statuses that don't look good at the moment.  For example the former Albert Jenkins house museum currently sets vacant.  He brings up the fact that the burial site of Lee's other horse, Lucy Long, remains a mystery.  He also discusses a child named Jim Limber who, "disappeared into history."  Limber's story (and the fact that so little is known of him) is one of the more interesting tales in the Civil War.

I could go on and on.  This is an informative book that is simply good reading.  It gets my highest possible recommendation and I will be reading more books by Clint Johnson.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fort Boonesborough State Park in Kentucky

I had not been by Fort Boonesborough for some time (decades).  Well, like some of the other spots around my home state that I love, I have to put this on my list of places to start visiting frequently.

We stopped by for the first time since my college days.  It was $8 each to get in, and there is an intro video that shows every half hour I think.  The film was well done and even got some laughs from the crowd with us.

After the video, we casually strolled around the replica fort.

There was a good crowd the day we were there.  In fact, some of the cabins became so crowded, we left and came back later.

I am REALLY starting to appreciate the whole, "reinactor doing demonstrations" thing.  This is really cool, especially when the actor really gets into it, and enjoys what they are doing.

I think we encountered 7 or 8 on this visit...  each one talking about what they were up to, or what they did- each from a pioneer's view.

Several of the cabins around the fort have open doors, and you can step inside and talk to these pioneers.

One that really stood out to us was the candle maker.  Using an antique candle holder, the pioneer woman told us about dipping the candles in wax, then letting them dry briefly on the revolving holder.  Some candles dried as others were dipped over and over.  She also talked about the molding process to make candles.

There are a couple of very interesting museums at the Fort right now too.

I was really impressed with a particular cabin that was packed with pop culture items relating to Daniel Boone.

I really love seeing old pioneer and Daniel Boone type toys.  Especially the stuff from the 50s and 60s.  It was before my time, so it will always have a vintage feel to me.  You know... it's coolness will always be a little bit out of my grasp. 

Plus, when I was a kid, Star Wars and space toys were the thing.  Like every other kid, I loved that stuff then, but I really appreciate the Marx type toys now.  Personally, my few old Star Wars toys are in storage.  My Marx Civil War, Daniel Boone, and Johnny West dolls are proudly displayed on my bookshelf.

AND here, they have a great display of vintage Boone items.

Check out the cool Halloween costume!  If only that kind of coolness still existed! 

I was pleased to see the small figures, and the stage coach.  Various Daniel Boone related first day covers and postal items were represented too.

After making the rounds at the fort, we stopped by the gift shop to check things out.  I picked up a few postcards, AND a small bag of a corn snack prepared just like the pioneers may have enjoyed.

Outside, we found a marker where the original fort was.  It is not far from the pool area at this state park.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Keith United Methodist Church in Ohio

AND here is one more pleasant little country church, Keith United Methodist Church, once associated with my wife's father.

We took a moment to drive by here not too long ago.  For some reason, we saw several turtles on this day.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Smith Chapel near Hackney Ohio

Here is another great little church in rural Ohio where my late father in law once worked as a preacher.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dungannon United Methodist Church in Ohio

We drove by Dungannon United Methodist Church in the Beverly Ohio area.  My wife's father was a preacher at this little church at one time.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Coffee Grinder- Point Pleasant West Virginia

We were in Point Pleasant West Virginia again the other day.  Seems like I pass through there regularly these days, which is cool with me.

I have mentioned my appreciation for this little town, and its strange history many times.....  and I am sure that I will mention it many more.

Point Pleasant has such a rich and weird past as a river town, and as a town forever connected to the Mothman.  AND it is just a cool little town.

Anyway, we didn't have a lot of time, but I was in desperate need of some coffee as we headed home from a long weekend trip.  Luckily, this area was not out of the way, and I was able to get some coffee from the Coffee Grinder!

This is such a great little independent family ran place.  The people running it are always great when we stop by.

PLUS, they sell Mothman Coffee and Mothman cookies!  One of those cookies or a bag of beans FROM Point Pleasant is a pretty cool gift to take back home to someone!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pomeroy Ohio

I just want to make a quick note here about Pomeroy Ohio.  We drove through here on the way home from our Marietta/Parkersburg trip.  It looked like a great town, and I got a few photos that absolutely do not really represent what I remember seeing.  Its a pretty little Ohio River town.

I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and it says that the McDonalds in town still has pizza!  I know this wasn't a popular menu item, but I thought McDonalds made GREAT pizzas!

Well, I will have to make it back here just to go to their McDonalds!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Abandonded near Marietta Ohio

We passed by these old buildings while in Marietta.  There was something spectacular about them, even though they are obviously run down.  I thought these old structures would be perfect for a post apocalyptic movie.

Anyway, I had to take a few photos.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stockport Mill Inn and Restaurant on the Dam- Stockport Ohio

This was one of those things that we kind of happened upon as we were driving around rural Ohio near Marietta.  We saw a sign for the Stockport Mill Inn and we followed it.

We found the Inn and got out to check it out.  A small but nice gift shop was open, and it seemed that their restuarnat/kitchen had just shut down from their Sunday buffet.  The place was pretty quiet, but we were still able to do a little exploring.

The Stockport Mill Inn is right on the Muskingum River.  The mill dates back to 1842 and the current structure was built in 1906.  The actual Stockport Mill Inn and Restaurant on the Dam opened for business in 2000.

Being that we stopped by briefly, and didn't have a chance to really patronize the place, and I don't have a lot to say about it other than we are going to have to give this place a real try soon!  Check out the photos...  I think this would be a great place to spend a weekend enjoying the old building and the water right outside of the historic Inn!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Jeremiah's Coffee House- Marietta Ohio

Jeremiah's Coffee House is located on a stereotypically perfect river town street (Front Street) in Marietta Ohio.  I mentioned in a previous post how much I love this town, and this street in particular.  There are so many cool little independent places on Front Street... and Jeremiah's Coffee House is the perfect place to stop after exploring the downtown area.

We stopped here for coffee, tea and scones after making a couple of circles around Front Street.  We ended up hanging out for some time since the place is so darned cozy.

The shop is roomy, and there are plenty of places to have a seat.  There are lots of menu items, and many cool artsy items to check out.  Someone has done a very cool series of prints onto old cloth and framed them.  I was guessing that they were silk screened images on a light brown/tan cloth, and framed.  These images looked great on the walls of Jeremiah's- they seemed to really fit in with the rest of the d├ęcor.
We saw several locals come and go.  The staff seemed friendly and helpful with selecting drinks.  They seemed to know what they were doing, and my coffee was great.

We took books in with us, and ended up reading for some time.  It was warm outside, but there was a very nice breeze going through Jeremiah's.  It was very relaxing.

Friday, July 7, 2017

JustAjar Design Press- Marietta Ohio

So, we were strolling down Front Street in Marietta Ohio (I know, this is about the 10th time I have mentioned that street on this blog lately) and I saw a great looking display in a window of some very cool posters!

I love these types of great looking, artsy posters advertising local events and concerts.  They are really spectacular.

JustAjar Design Press had several colorful ones on display.  Unfortunately, I was in town on a Saturday, and their business is only open on Fridays and by appointment!  Oh well, that will give me another excuse to return to the area soon.

I took a few photos of the great pieces displayed, check them out.  I like the colors and design on the Trails and Ales one.  The riverboat one is nice too.  You have to love the Mavis Staples concert poster because....  well....  Mavis Staples.