Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2019-2020

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

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.

The Virus comes among us

A grim omen of what might be in store for us -- something unpromising is haunting the street below us.

Mid-March 2020 in Staunton, and we daren't leave the house.

Trader Joe's in Charlottesville, doing everything just right as the coronavirus sweeps the land, in the expectation that there will be temporary inconveniences. As in late March, they should have been.

The commercial centre of 'The Shops at Stonefield' has become a ghost town.

Every shop has its notice of temporary closure and, in some cases, instructions for a curbside pick-up.

'Temporarily closed' -- back in March, who knew?

As Trump's 'Wuhan virus' became the 'Trump virus', and cities and states struggled to figure out what to do in the absence of any national response, even Google Maps began adding 'Takeout - Delivery', as appropriate, to the names of the shops.

Settling in for the long haul

N. Augusta Street explodes

To heighten any sense of crisis, the street in front of our building popped a water main and exploded, 3 April 2020.

Another temporary inconvenience

An emblem of the virus expediencies -- the cinema is reduced to selling popcorn.

Covering everything up at the end of a long second day

Five days later, we're ready to wrap this up. The virus-masking message hasn't reached here yet, but the hard hats may come in handy.

Out goes the old street, in comes the new one.

Mulching the old road surface

It looks like the old street might in fact become the new street, after the munched-up surface has been all nicely heated up and spit out again.

N. Augusta Street is healthy again, and life is much quieter in the neighborhood.

A spring walk round the Augusta Springs Wetlands

As we've noted before (Oct. 2019, Dec. 2019), the present wetland trail is sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture in the George Washington National Forest.

A fine day in mid-April and we're social-distancing out to the prettiest short-walking place around.

Mind where you step

Westward into the wilderness

High waters in the swamp

Spring melt down off the Allegheny range, probably

This creek runs through the wetland, across the road, and into the Little Calfpasture River, which continues southward to join the Calfpasture River near Goshen, where it turns eastward and becomes known as the Maury River (we'll visit that in a fortnight or so).

Nearly full circle round the central pond

A little more local flooding

The remaining Augusta Spring. As we noted after a recent visit, the infrastructure is left over from the resort created in 1817 by a Staunton attorney named Erasmus Stribling (1784-1858) who owned this property, 'rich in alum, chalybeate and sulphur springs', and decided to benefit from 'the public’s widespread belief in the healthful benefits of “taking the waters.”'

The old channel is still here, or part of it, but the rest of the resort has been carted off long ago. Stribling's resort, with an inn, cottages, bath houses, and of course a casino, flourished, both for its healthy waters and for its elaborate culinary and even theatrical attractions. 'People from all over the country and Europe descended upon the springs, often staying for months at a time, especially in the days when travel was difficult,' and it was then known as Stribling Springs.

'Edward Beyer’s 1858 painting of Stribling Springs. Visitors in 1858 could expect to pay $2 a day for a stay of less than a week. (Photo: courtesy of Charles Culbertson)'

Stagecoach service was provided from Staunton three times a week in its heyday, but during the Civil War, some of Stonewall Jackson's army bivvied here in 1862 (he borrowed one of the cottages as his HQ) and turned it into field hospital for his wounded and sick men. The inn declined after the war, alas, but was revived by others and was still operating in 1915, 'well improved, picturesquely situated, and ... a noted sanitarium or mountain watering-place'.

But by 1940, however, it was over and had to be demolished because one of the springs had undermined the inn. There's little or nothing left of it here now, except for the principal spring itself.

But today's visit is over and . . .

. . . we're taking the scenic route home.

When Choupette sees the baggage cart out, she makes an early reservation.

Next stop: Scenic drives south of Staunton, Virginia

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 15 October 2020.

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