Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lynchburg to Lexington, VA

Today is the final day of the 2016 Morgan Pub Crawl and we travel from Lynchburg to Lexington, VA.  Not too far, but with two major sights to see.  

Last night we feted our Florida friends who will depart the crawl Thursday to position themselves closer to the Auto Train which will transport them to Florida tomorrow.  New friends to the Pub Crawl experience were Mark and Andrea Braunstein, Rick and Sam Frazee, and John and Debbie Stanley, they received out thanks for joining us, and our best wishes for many happy miles ahead. 

As we loaded up the cars this morning I had a chance to catch our hosts, Bob and Missy McKenna, with their car ready to roll.  Thanks guys, a wonderful trip with many new adventures and memories.

Missy and Bob McKenna
Then we were off, aiming for the Poplar Forest, the Thomas Jefferson get-a-way some 90 miles from Monticello.

This plantation and plantation house in what is now Forest, Bedford County, Virginia, near Lynchburg was designed and treated as a private retreat, working on it from 1806 until his death 20 years later. Jefferson once wrote a correspondent saying "It is the most valuable of my possessions." Skilled slave-labor was used in its construction.
Known as the architect of such buildings as Monticello, the University of Virginia, and the Virginia State Capitol, Jefferson built the more remote and lesser-known Poplar Forest as a place to escape the hordes of visitors at Monticello and seek the "solitude of a hermit." It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.[4][5] It is operated as an historic house museum by the Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest.[6]

In 1773 Jefferson inherited the estate of 4,800 acres (1,900 ha) from his father-in-law, John Wayles. He supervised the laying of the foundations for a new octagonal house in 1806, when President. This octagon house, built in accordance with Palladian principles, includes a central cube room, 20 feet (6.1 m) on a side, porticos to the north and south, and a service wing (to the east).

Although he had intended it for his youngest daughter Mary Jefferson Eppes and her family, she died at age 26. He entrusted it to her only surviving son Francis W. Eppes, upon his marriage. Eppes and his bride lived there only a short time and sold the plantation (1828) before moving to Florida.

The road to the plantation was very "rustic"

A small scale Monticello, single story, being restored now to
reflect the unique building techniques of the 18th century.

Our tour guide energetically explained the intricacies of the building
and its history.  A very rewarding tour.

The wing, at ground level, held a kitchen and offices

A "necessary room" for the staff.

The staff allowed us to drive our cars onto the grounds for
this photo opportunity. 
The tour over, we headed down the road to find lunch and head for the Natural Bridge.

Just up the road we found Benjamins
A patio lunch, in the pub tradition

Reg Hahn stopped our four car caravan to make a needed
adjustment to his clutch linkages. 
It was a brisk drive on a two lane road over a mountain top to the Lexington area and the Natural bridge.  Some interesting twists and turns in our little sports cars.

The Natural Bridge National Historic Landmark is a well known site for touring in Virginia.  Operated by a private company it has recently been acquired by the State and is in a state of flux at the moment.   With limited staff and resources it looked like it needed some loving care.  The Natural Bridge itself though, was spectacular.

Protective headgear was available, to protect from falling stones.

Our first view...

Char took the warning to heart.

While Bruce tried to hold up the bridge for her.

In all, we had another delightful day of light travel and spectacular sights.  Sadly though, it was our last day with the group.  Hahn's and Kneisley's head back to Ohio, McKenna's and Fosters back to their Williamsburg area homes, Al (DC Bubba) Marsh is headed to his home in the Washington DC district.  The Florida gang is on their way to Florida in the morning, and the Moodie's are already well on their way to their new home in North Carolina. 

In all.... the 2016 Morgan Pub Crawl MarVA Mille was a wonderful experience and quite successful.

Til next time.... wheels down, shiny side up. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Charlottesville to Lynchburg VA via Monticello and Appomattox

This is Tuesday, the rain has passed and we are clear to go.  First stop was to gas up. 

It is always fun to see eight Morgan's hit a gas station
at one time. 

We like smooth roads and reasonable speed limits.

Our first stop was Monticello...  Wikipedia says:

Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, who began designing and building Monticello at age 26 after inheriting land from his father. Located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the Piedmont region, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres (20 km2), with Jefferson using slaves for extensive cultivation of tobacco and mixed crops, later shifting from tobacco cultivation to wheat in response to changing markets.


Coxcomb, a favorite of Thomas Jefferson

Our tour guide, Horace, had an answer for every question.

The West side of Monticello, which overlooks the gardens

The vegetable garden recreated as if for the 200 residents of Monticello
back in the day of Jefferson   Today they sell or use the crops for
the benefit of the museum.

Some members of our group finishing the garden tour of

Then lunch at MICHIE TAVERN, located ½ mile below  Monticello, accommodating travelers with food, drink and lodging more than 200 years ago. Today, visitors experience the Tavern’s past through an historical journey which recreates 18th-century tavern life.  Servers in period attire offer bountiful Colonial Midday Fare.  The rustic restaurant setting renders a lunch dining experience rich in southern culture and hospitality for families to enjoy.  Get a taste of the 18th-century as we feature a buffet of southern fried chicken, marinated baked chicken, hickory-smoked pork barbecue, stewed tomatoes, black-eyed peas, buttermilk biscuits and so much more.

Mnchie Tavern, the social center of the community..the restaurant is called
the Ordinary, and is on the right wing of the building.

The chow line.... vegitables, baked or broiled chicken, biscuits or corn bread etc.

Lunch by candle light, very nice.

After lunch and answering many questions from bystanders about our cars, we were off for Appomattox. 

The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, one of the last battles of the American Civil War. It was the final engagement of Confederate Army general Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Arrival at the National Park, senior pass in hand.  They parked all of the Morgan's
in a special place.

As we walked in the movie crew was just ending their shoot for the day
doing an episode of a Fox TV special

The Movie Crew mess.

Actor playing General Lee moving to another location,

An actor playing a southern sympathizer doctor gave us a lecture
of why slavery was a good idea. 
Lynchburg is our destination.  It was first settled in 1757, named for its founder John Lynch who at age 17 started a ferry service across the James river.  A city of seven hills, Thomas Jefferson called it the most interesting spot in the state.   In the 1850's it was considered one of the richest towns per capita in the U. S.  Lynchburg is the only major city in Virginia that was not captured by the Union before the end of the Civil War. 

We filled up the arrival lane at the hotel when we all pulled in together.

Even though we didn't drive that far today, it was an exhausting day with lots of sun and experiences.  Our Morgan Pub Crawl is living up to its expectations as a great outing with many avenues of interest.

Tomorrow, our last day of touring, we venture further west toward the Blue Ridge mountains.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Williamsburg to Charlottesville, VA

The new week begins with a rainy Monday.

We traveled out of Williamsburg, past the historic James River Plantation and visited Berkeley Plantation, home of William Harrison (

The carriage road entering the plantation was built for carriages
and not for modern cars.  It was rough and bumpy and our little Morgans transmit every bump to our backsides.

Per usual, we lined up in the parking lot... another photo op.

The main house on the plantation, home for several
generations of Harrisons.

The guest house serves as the gift shop and ticket counter for
tour tickets.  A primary source of income for the non-government
supported plantation.

Our tour guide in period costume.

She captivated our group, even in the rain.

Another photo op.

And some silliness too.  Sam and Rick Frazee in period costume.

On our way to lunch the skies opened up for a good
We had lunch at the historic Iron Horse Restaurant in Ashland, VA. complete with several trains rumbling by while we ate.   

Then on to the Barboursville Vineyards and one of Virginia's largest wineries.

One of the many wineries in Virginia... and this is a good one
A tasting ticket got you the opportunity to taste up to 21 wines made here.

John and Debbie Stanley, Reg and Char Hahn and Sally K

The winery grounds were very neat

Roses planted at the end of the vines are used to forecast disease
that may harm the grapes. 

Fortunately after the wine stop it wasn't far to our hotel in Charlottesville--The English Inn.
Arriving at the English Inn in Charlottesville we were pleased
they had marked off a special parking area.

Again, lined up for a photo op.

Lydie Foster captured the view of our cars from her room at the hotel.

No time tonight to explore Charlottesville, the Florida contingent of the Crawl is hosting a pizza party for everyone. 

Greeter Bob McKenna welcomes guests

Hosts John Stanley, Rick Frazee, Debbie Stanley (L-R)

Missy McKenna, Sally Kneisley, Reg Hahn (L-R)

Lydie and Bruce Foster

Alan Marsh

Tomorrow morning we will explore Monticello and Appomattox between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, VA.

A bit about Charlottesville.  It is best known as the home to two U.S. Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe; while both served as Governor of Virginia, they lived in Charlottesville and traveled to and from the capitol (Richmond, Virginia) along the 71-mile (114 km) historic Three Notch'd Road. Close by is the historical home of a third U.S. President, James Madison, in Orange. It is also known as the home of the University of Virginia, which is one of the most historically prominent colleges in the United States and, along with Monticello,  Jefferson's mountain-top home, which attracts approximately half a million tourists every year.