You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Fall visits -- 1c: Alison and Mark at Blackrock Summit, and a Staunton walkabout
A filthy day, 16 October 2019, in and out of the fog on the Skyline Drive north of Afton and the Rockfish Gap -- a 'scenic drive' on Alison's and Mark's last day with us.
A quick break in the clouds
The Rockfish Gap and Afton, in fact, on routes 250 and I-64, are notorious for the sudden pea-soup fogs and auto wrecks all over the place. [Yesterday, as I write, on 17 November, a semi truck rammed a tourist bus in dense fog on the pass, with 19 injured.] (photo by Alison)
We've come along as far as Loft Mountain with its National Park Service campground lodge and gift shop, to browse amongst the souvenirs and see if the weather lightens up.
The Park Service can do a very good job when they're given the means to.
No mid-day burst of sunlight so far, so we'll just have to make the best of it.
Here we go -- it's the Blackrock Summit for today.
It's a short and easy walk, in fact, just a bit damp and chilly.
One plods on. With thoughts of the sun coming out.
The whole walk is just a one-mile loop, with fewer than 200 feet elevation gain. Perfect for a grey and unambitious sort of day.
The Blackrock Summit -- a gigantic slag heap, by the looks of it.
A scree slope right the way down the hill, what they call 'talus' here.
Broken scree rocks usually pop off from frost action and end up at the bottom of cliffs and steep slopes . . .
. . . and that's certainly a proper mess of them, but . . .
. . . we don't think we've ever seen them at the top of the mountain.
Evidently, we find, there is such a phenomenon (as we've just seen), and as Wikipedia informs us, 'Eventually, a rock slope may be completely covered by its own scree, so that production of new material ceases. The slope is then said to be "mantled" with debris.' That probably doesn't happen overnight.
We're sneaking some scenic views amongst the galloping clouds.
Alison admiring the broken rocks
The Blackrock Summit summit
Nearly time to dash back down
More mist on the Skyline Drive
And the fog clears. Briefly.
A pause in a scenic layby
The clouds are back
Melvin and Choupette conversing quietly, as we depart at nearly dawn to ferry Alison and Mark to the train station in Charlottesville, 17 October 2019.
Another Staunton walkabout
It's the 'leaf-peeper' season, we're told, 24 October 2019. Of Staunton's self-defined five 'Historic District', this is called the Gospel Hill district on the east side of the downtown. We're informed that in the 1790s there was a blacksmith shop here, owned by Sampson Eagon, where enthusiastic religious meetings were held, hence the name for the neighborhood.
A chap named Thomas Jasper ('T.J.') Collins was a bold and industrious architect who came to Staunton in his 40s, in 1891, and in the next two decades designed or renovated over 200 buildings in town . . .
. . . including this one, on Kalorama ('nice view') Street, in 1891.
Staunton's historic houses love towers (especially round ones, usually), as well as . . .
. . . wrap-around porches, and expansive balconies overhead.
That's the other side of Mr Collins' 1891 house, described in the guide brochure as in the 'Richardson Romanesque' style.
Still on Kalorama Street
Kalorama Street ends about here, at South Coalter St., but we since we have no idea where we are anyway, . . .
. . . we continue down the other side of the road, to a huge electrical station and . . .
. . . the venerable and large Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB).
The VSDB was established by the state in 1838 and opened in 1839, and some of its impressive present buildings on campus are made to resemble its Greek Revival main building, completed in 1846.
A lonely tree
Up the little hill to the main campus
That's presumably the 1846 main building.
Farther along through the campus
Back out onto E. Beverley St., that's 'Oakdene' built in 1893 for Virginia's Lieutenant Governor, named Echols.
More of the VSDB campus farther up the hill
Hallowe'en is coming, next week, if we recall.
This is called the Cabell Log House, the 'only remaining exposed log structure' in the city. It's a two-roomer built in 1869 by a free African-American and is said to be more or less still in the family.
The blue poster out front celebrates the Carolina Panthers, a professional American-football team in North Carolina.
Still on E. Beverley Street
Circling back towards the downtown, this line of Victorian rowhouses on Prospect Ave was built in about 1900.
On New Street near the Mary Baldwin University
The First Presbyterian Church on E. Frederick, just up the street from us
Next stop: A sojourn in Wytheville, VA