Sunday, July 04, 2010

Quick Getaway

The Lobbyist and I just got back from Clifton Forge, Virginia where we went to see a concert by one Scott Miller. I used to go there a lot when I was college student as I had friends there and we did the hippies-in-the-mountains thing. Very, very beautiful area but Clifton Forge is a depressed, rusting little railroad hub in the groin of a steep valley. Still lots of (freight, coal etc) railroading through there, but not much employment on today's automated systems. Still, they are desperately trying to gentrify and come back as tourist, outdoorsy destination, selling the local rivers and vast National Forests thereabout. There seems to be a cadre of come-heres who have bought up dirt-cheap housing and retail property for their own private Idahoes. There's one fairly spiff little bistro/bar run by refugees from Tidewater, an outdoor outfitter, lots of junk/antique places (very depressing most of the wares) and a thriving home-hospice supplies emporium. Best not dwell on their clientele.

Anyway, they're trying to fix up the old Masonic theater there (in 1905 the local Masons decided the hillbillies needed an opera house!) and Scott Miller was playing a benefit in view of his family roots in the area. The building is quite lovely in a Rose for Emily sorta way, and the concert was fabulous and funny, with wine and birthday cake (the place opened on July 4th) and all the area bourgeois in attendance.

Anyway, the Lobbyist and I also went hiking Friday and Saturday in the gorgeous Douthat State Park and even she, whose city-girl motto is "Ewwww -- nature," seemed to have a good time on said hikes. She didn't care much for the big blue Spotted Salamander I caught ("It's related to a snake.") and released, but she did like lunch in the lakeside park restaurant -- a time capsule of simple WPA-era rustic styling, staffed by gorgeous hillbilly girls in the last moments before their double-crossed genes, egregious diet and the Oxycontin kick in.
It was very nice to get out of DC for awhile.


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