Tag Archives: Small Towns

Postcard From Passau, Germany

Alleyway with colorful cobblestones marking the way to artists’ studios. Passau, Germany

One of the notable features of Passau is the many narrow alleyways, with cobblestones painted to direct visitors to artists’ studios. Many of the shops were closed at the time of our visit due to the artists being on holiday, but the alleys themselves were interesting to explore.

Taking Jim’s Picture

Triangular. Abandoned train trestle supports in Staunton, Virginia

A few weekends ago, Kathy & I visited Staunton, VA to meet up with our friends Jim & Lisa, who drove down from Pennsylvania. We like to find interesting towns to visit for a few days when we have a chance to meet up. Last summer we met in Lewisburg, WV, and we’re planning a trip to Kentucky for later this year.

Staunton (pronounced STON-ton) is a pleasant and vibrant town located along I-81 just north of Roanoke and is about halfway between Jim & Lisa’s home in Pennsylvania and our home in Charlotte. In addition to a nice downtown with good restaurants and interesting shops, Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Mary Baldwin University. Oh, and the Camera Heritage Museum.

We spent a few days walking around the town, saw a play at American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, had some good meals and visited some interesting shops. We were there on St. Patrick’s Day and enjoyed a dinner at a restaurant with a live Celtic band.

Triangular. Abandoned train trestle supports in Staunton, Virginia

One afternoon we were walking around town, and at some point came across these old railroad trestle supports. I don’t remember the words, but Jim asked me if I thought they would make a good photograph. I had seen them but hadn’t responded to them yet, so Jim’s question woke me up. Yes, they were quite interesting, and as it turned out I was able to make a few photographs that prove the point.

Just like with the photos of Bill’s tree in my last post, sometimes it is someone else’s eyes that discover the photo, and my job is to do something  with it. Looks like I may have to make another print! 😉

Triangular. Abandoned train trestle supports in Staunton, Virginia

Almost (But Not Quite) Heaven: West Virginia

Smooth Ambler Distillery near Lewisburg, West Virginia

The primary purpose of our recent road trip was to meet up with our friends Jim & Lisa in Lewisburg, West Virginia. We had each visited Lewisburg previously, although not together. And because it is roughly halfway between our home in NC and Jim & Lisa’s in PA, it was a good place to get together for a few days. We had a blast wandering the shops of the town, and we visited the Smooth Ambler distillery. Kathy & I are distillery veterans, so we needed to show Jim & Lisa the finer points. 😉

Smooth Ambler Distillery near Lewisburg, West Virginia
Smooth Ambler Distillery near Lewisburg, West Virginia

Surprisingly, although I carried my camera around just about everywhere, I took very few photos with it. I actually took more photos with my phone, because it was simpler to hand off to someone and to share. We were just having too much fun to pay attention to photos!

The General Lewis Inn in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Flowers along Washington Street in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Shops along Washington Street in Lewisburg, West Virginia
VW Bus on Washington Street in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Pay phone on Washington Street in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Tom and Jim in downtown Lewisburg, West Virginia
Kathy and Lisa in downtown Lewisburg, West Virginia
The New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge 3,030 feet (924 m) long over the New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia. With an arch 1,700 feet long, the New River Gorge Bridge was the world’s longest single-span arch bridge for 26 years and is now the fifth longest. The roadway of the New River Gorge Bridge is 876 feet above the New River, making the bridge one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world. It is the third highest in the United States. When completed in 1977, it was the world’s highest bridge carrying a regular roadway, a title it held until the 2001 opening of the Liuguanghe Bridge in China.
The New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge 3,030 feet (924 m) long over the New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia. With an arch 1,700 feet long, the New River Gorge Bridge was the world’s longest single-span arch bridge for 26 years and is now the fifth longest. The roadway of the New River Gorge Bridge is 876 feet above the New River, making the bridge one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world. It is the third highest in the United States. When completed in 1977, it was the world’s highest bridge carrying a regular roadway, a title it held until the 2001 opening of the Liuguanghe Bridge in China.

A Treasure Trove Of Memories

The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont

As promised in a previous post, here is a selection of my photos from the Vermont Toy Museum in Quechee Gorge Village near Hartford, Vermont.  The museum’s website is down, possibly due to the recent AWS issues, but I got the following from Atlas Obscura:

Nestled above a charming general store near the Quechee Gorge, the Vermont Toy Museum’s vast collection of dolls, action figures, lunchboxes, yo-yos, and matchbox cars is a hidden treasure right off the White River Junction. Around 100,000 toys are housed inside the museum. 

The museum’s items largely came from members of the local community. They were collected and compiled decade-by-decade, which displays the evolution of toys and games from the 1950s to the present day. Though it’s unknown who operates and maintains the museum, it’s closely watched by the employees at the downstairs Cabot Cheese Store and the antique mall next door.

The museum also houses an intricate model train exhibit that takes visitors through the four seasons of the Green Mountain state for only a quarter. This museum’s tireless attention to detail, nostalgia, and cozy atmosphere make it a must-see for travelers on Route 4.

The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont

It was a fun visit.  A place we might have spent a lot more time, but just like the camera museum in Staunton, Virginia, there is only so much time…. 😉  As it was, we spent a lot of time saying things like, “I had that!” or “I remember those” or “the kids had these.”  Fun stuff!

Almost forgot!  I have completed processing my photos from our New England trip and have posted them on my Adobe Portfolio site.

The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont
The Vermont Toy Museum, located in Quechee Village, Vermont

Mystic, Connecticut: More Than A Famous Pizza Shop

Sunset along the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut

I’m not sure what attracted me to Mystic, Connecticut.  It wasn’t ‘Mystic Pizza,’ the pizza shop made famous by the movie by the same name.  I haven’t seen the movie, although I was familiar with the name.  No, it had something to do with something I had once read or heard about ‘Mystic Seaport.’  And we found it to be an excellent home base for our short but busy exploration of Connecticut.

The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut. The Steamboat Inn on the left side of the photo is where we stayed.
The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
View of The Steamboat Inn along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Seaport is the name of the Mystic Maritime Center, which bills itself as “the nation’s leading maritime museum.”  I’ll write about our visit to the museum in a separate post, so for now I’ll just talk about the town of Mystic itself.

The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning in Mystic, Connecticut

The town of Mystic itself proved to be a quaint, albeit busy, seaside town.  The Mystic River flows through the town, and there is a drawbridge on Main Street that opens once per hour to let sailboats and other larger vessels pass through.

Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

We stayed at the Steamboat Inn, a small B&B right next to the river and the drawbridge, and it was the perfect location to explore the town while still making it easy to get out of town to see other places.  I loved being able to walk out the door and photograph in the early morning, while Kathy caught a few extra Zs in our room.  I’d get back in time for coffee and breakfast before starting off on whatever we had planned for the day.

Sunset along the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

We’re not big shoppers, so a few hours wandering around the town on afternoon was all the time we needed.  We did buy ice cream, and yes, I did take a few obligatory photos of Mystic Pizza.  There were several good restaurants within walking distance, including one we visited twice.  S&P Restaurant & Oyster Bar impressed us so much on the first visit that we went back a second time.  Fresh fish, excellent service and a decent wine selection is what we look for, especially at the coast, whether it is the northeast or the southeast.  It fit the bill nicely for us.

Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut
Replica village at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut

In addition to the Maritime Museum, we ventured over to Groton, on the Thames River, to visit the USS Nautilus.  The Nautilus was the first nuclear powered submarine and, among other feats, was the first to complete an underwater crossing of the North Pole.  I remembered reading about the sub as a kid, and at one time seem to recall having a toy or plastic model.  That was a long time ago!  Photos from that visit and from the Maritime Museum are included in the gallery 2021-09 New England Part II on my Adobe Portfolio page.

Mystic Pizza, restaurant made famous by a movie in Mystic, Connecticut