West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Virginia Post Offices

I stopped by two friendly little post offices while we traveled through Virginia so that I could get a postmark.

These two post offices were in the Steeles Tavern area, and the Raphine area.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Bistro- Lexington Virginia

For around $8 I had a great spring salad at the Bistro in Lexington Virginia.  This was another great restaurant that didn't exactly fit in with the Civil War/history theme of our trip, but that was OK.  This place was great.

We actually got in right before a large crowd showed up.  We were glad about that, but the Bistro still seemed to handle being full.  They seemed to be old pros at that.

We over heard people at the table beside us say that the Bistro was "the place" in Lexington.  AND we heard a lot of others go on about how good the food was.

Live flowers were on each table.  My friend went to take a picture of a couple.  A lady (I assume the manager) came by to straighten one out for him before he took the photo.  She told him that the flowers came from her garden.

The entire place had that kind of a feel....  They were proud of what they have done at the Bistro.  They have made something that the locals... and tourists can appreciate.  They have some of themselves personally invested in the place.

I am generally not a spring salad person, but I did love this one. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tamarack Visitor Center in Beckley West Virginia

Not exactly a couple of years ago we were able to visit Tamarack in Beckley West Virginia for the first time.  Tamarack is an impressive visitor center that beautifully represents the best of the state.

On our first trip, we were able to spend a lot of time there, and we really developed a quick appreciation for it.  On this trip, we made a point to stop there on the way to and from our main destination.  It was a nice place to stretch our legs.

We also ended up planning some of our trip here.  The Greenbrier Resort has a space at Tamarack, so I asked the people there about tours.  They advised me to call the resort and schedule, so we did!  Visiting the Greenbrier (and taking the legendary bunker tour) has been on my list for years now.

Plus, we got to see some great West Virginian art while we visited Tamarack.  I LOVE the local foods section here, and Tamarack has a very impressive local interest book area.

Here are some photos.....

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia

Here are a few more photos I took of the main buildings on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Traveller and Robert E. Lee in Lexington Virginia

I wanted to make sure that I posted a few more Lee related photos from our visit to Lexington.

The top photo is the home of the President of Washington and Lee College (the house is called, Lee House).  It is the same home that was build for RE Lee when he became President of the college.  He died in the dining room of the home.  The college did not want to evict Lee's widow- so George Washington Custis Lee was elected the new President.  He would serve the college as President from 1871-1897 and he is now in the family crypt at Lee Chapel.

The next photo shows the green stable doors open.  I have always heard that Mrs. Lee asked that they be left open, even after her husband and Traveller's death, so that visitors could see where Traveller had lived.  One person in Lexington told us that he always heard that the doors were left open for the spirit of Traveller.

The next photo is a photo taken inside of the stable.

The last two photos are from the final resting place of Traveller.  Lee's favorite horse is buried right outside of Lee Chapel, just steps from General Lee.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wade's Mill- near Lexington Virginia

Wade's Mill near Lexington Virginia was one of those unplanned stops that was a huge bonus on our trip.

We found a flyer for the mill at our B&B.  It looked interesting.  Sure, we wanted to make the most of our time in the Lexington area, but the flyer really got our attention.

The mill was built around 1750!  That's a lot of history, and that's a lot of making something the same way for years!  This is one of the few businesses around that can measure its life in CENTURIES!

AND, they are still making their product using a water powered gristmill!

We arrived right when they opened one morning, and the miller seemed simply excited to see us!  He told us about the history of the site, and what all it has produced over the years, taking the time to explain various working parts of the mill.

We were very excited to actually have the opportunity to watch him get the mill running for the day!

This was another thing we saw on our road trip near Lexington that totally blew our minds.  There are so many great attractions around that you really have to dig around to find!  We were so glad that we found information about Wade's Mill.

After our great tour, we had to make some purchases.  My wife bought several bags of flour.  There is something very special about eating food made with ingredients from a place putting out their product for so long.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In The Footsteps of Robert E. Lee by Clint Johnson

 While I am covering Clint Johnson and his great travel guides relating to Virginia, West Virginia, and Stonewall Jackson, I have to mention his "In the Footsteps of Robert E. Lee."

Johnson again writes a great book about a very interesting, and well known character.  I think a lot of people know the basics about Lee, but this book offers a really good starting point for someone just developing an interest in the most well known Confederate.

I think this book could also be appreciated by someone who knows a lot about Lee, but wants to get a better understanding of his character.

And, ultimately, this is just a fun book to read to find out about places associated with Lee....  places that he actually worked, fought, and lived.

And, just like in his other books, Clint Johnson gives some fun, and obscure stories.  I did not know about General Lee's dog....  or his chicken.  The author also tells us about a Lee family home that inspired at least the name of the White House.

Concerning actual places associated with Lee.....  some are in need of repairs or threatened by development.  One home associated with Lee was for sale at the time the book came out (it looks like offices occupy this home now).  At least it is still standing and maintained.  One fort that Lee designed on an island still exists, but it is in desperate need of restoration.  The author also notes that unmarked graves at one battle field are, "waiting for the developers' bulldozers to run them over."

Fortunately, there are many other places connected to Lee that are in good shape!  I am glad that Clint Johnson put this book together so that we can visit them.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lee Chapel and Museum- Lexington Virginia

One of the many must see spots in the town of Lexington Virginia is the Lee Chapel and Museum on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

We went there with a very basic knowledge of the place.  We knew that General Robert E. Lee rests there in a chapel that he had built while he was President of the college.

We weren't sure if this would be the kind of thing where we would stop by, spent a few minutes there, and then leave, or if there was more to it.

Well, there was a lot more to it.

We walked in to the Chapel and a very nice volunteer welcomed us there.  She told us about the Chapel and Lee's time at the college.  This wasn't exactly a traditional "tour" but it was similar to one.  The volunteer made a point to talk to each visitor who came through, welcoming them to join our group, or to explore the chapel on their own.

After hearing some of the history in the chapel, we were directed to another volunteer on the stage area who told us about the Recumbent Lee statue, sculpted from a single piece of marble by Edward Valentine.

From the stage/pulpit area, we were able to see a sign noting where Lee would sit during services in this chapel.

Also on the stage are two paintings, one of Lee, and the other of George Washington.  The one of George is from his family's collection.  There is something very exciting about staring at a portrait of President #1 knowing that Washington himself admired the same painting in his lifetime.

After taking in all of the history from the stage area, we went down some stairs to find ourselves right in front of the Robert E. Lee family crypt.

Many of Robert E. Lee's family rest here.

Robert E. Lee's well preserved office from his time as president of the college is in this area too.

AND, just a few feet away from here is a gift shop.  Yes, I know, that might sound a bit out of place, but it was nice.  A very nice lady running the shop even offered some suggestions about books on Lee.  I bought one, and I picked up a couple of small pewter figures of Lee that I will be painting at some point.

Through the gift shop was a very nice museum dedicated to Lee and the college.

Again, we weren't sure if we would be here a few minutes or longer.....  We ended up being here significantly longer as there is a lot to take in.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Washington and Lee University Campus, Lexington, Va.

"The Washington College group of buildings form the oldest part of the academic buildings.  It was begun in 1824.  Its charming colonial style has entranced generations of students and visitors alike."

This is another great old postcard I picked up at the Bookery in Lexington Virginia.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Robert E. Lee Hotel- Lexington Virginia

So, we were in Lexington Virginia...  Stopping by the Robert E. Lee Hotel seemed appropriate.

We strolled through and checked things out.  The place looked like a wonderful old hotel...  Which it is.

We had a great lunch in their restaurant, Rocca Bar Ristorante, which does not sound like the name of a restaurant inside of a hotel named after the Civil War General.  The name sounds a little out of place.

BUT, we went in and gave this place a try and we loved it!  I had an Italian sandwich that was VERY different.  It had a little more of a kick than I am used to, but it wasn't overwhelming.  I think they put pepper seeds on it, and it really gave it something extra.  We had a great waitress too, who was all over the place.

We figured we would enjoy the food here, but we really liked it.  Everyone was happy with what they had ordered.  We were expecting good, but we got exceptional.

AND, as I said before, we had a lot of great meals in Lexington......