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 latter part of November 2021
Prefatory matter: before one begins on the main business, here are a few views from a recent 'speedy walk' out and around the Thornrose Cemetery, this one an intriguing bit of serious yardwork out near the end of E. Frederick St., and next . . .
. . . this stately pile as we proceed somewhat breathlessly up Thornrose Ave. and then . . .
. . . descend towards Gypsy Hill Park, pausing to admire this burst of arboreal flame above the athletic fields. And then, so to home. 17 November 2021.
And now to the Saturday Farmers' Market, 20 November, and a poignant scene . . .
. . . featuring two members of the younger generation.
Kristin scrutinizing various cheeses, some with strange names, at the stand of the Ballerino Creamery of Staunton
The specialists in apple cider doughnuts emphasize that there will be apple cider in 'every doughnut'. It's not just hit or miss.
Another few shots of the Mary Baldwin campus
Probably we've been away from US college campuses for too long (too many decades, in fact), but it's pleasant to stroll around the MBU campus, with its attractive layout and often impressive buildings. This is sort of the back entrance up to the former military school part of the campus, from N. Coalter St., and that's one of the buildings inherited from the Staunton Military Academy in 1976, with 'SMA Mess Hall' carved prominently over the main door.
Just leaving the top of the hill, that's the student centre.
The top of the campus hill
Looking west from the campus -- Churchville Ave stretches out to that reddish building in the centre, the HQ of the Stonewall Brigade Band adjacent to the main entrance to Gypsy Hill Park.
South Market St downtown, like all its neighboring streets, transforms itself into a North version as it crosses Beverley St, but when this one collides with the MBU campus (at the Grafton Library), it goes temporarily off line and only reasserts itself 100m farther up the hill, here, more or less.
We're passing now down through the main part of the campus -- that's called the Lydia Hunt Gallery, the centerpiece of the higher of the two parallel lines of similarly imposing buildings.
And that's the university library, the central building of the lower row overlooking E. Frederick St.
That's part of group of buildings associated with the St Francis of Assisi church (steeple behind) just off campus, which offers good, solid Catholic advisory services to young ladies urgently in need of advice.
This is one of the most interesting private houses in Staunton, next to the Catholic church carpark, a T. J. Collins 'Chateauesque' home dating from 1900, 210 N. New St.
Another view of it, because why not?
The lower rank of MBU buildings, as we're climbing down off the campus onto New Street.
The Presbyterian Church just across E. Frederick
The length of S. New St down to the rail tracks, and our temporarily very red tree on the right
Back to Sherando Lake (we just can't stay away)
The colorful autumn leaves are all gone now (it's 11/25/21, as we say in America)(it's 25/11/21 in Europe, and possibly everywhere else), but the ugly hornets' nest is still hanging threateningly from the branch in the centre of the photo.
The visitors' centre
There really is not a single person anywhere about -- they simply don't know what they're missing. Peace and quiet, comfortably bracing temperatures, a clear and sunny day, and we've brought our books along to round out the afternoon after our walk.
But first, our walk
It's starting to feel like home here. At least, without the summer crowds.
Alley-oop. The upper trail today, again, the 'cliff trail' as it's affectionately described in the brochures.
Soft walking underfoot -- about eight inches of dead leaves
Nobody minds climbing a mountain that rising so gently and soft underfoot.
This is the place that always appears to be the high point of the walk, but isn't.
Just a little farther uphill, and we level out at . . .
. . . a convenient lookout point. So we'll look out this time.
That's worth the brief pause, and . . .
. . . that's convincingly why they call it the 'cliff trail'.
Skip it! We'll take the normal trail down.
Zig-zagging again, with the lake just barely peekworthy in the semi-distance
We pretty much know every preferred placement of the foot by this time.
A meditatively gentle stretch of trail
Mind the step!
Still proceeding lakeward
Contemplating a shortcut? Don't do it!
If we'd tried scrambling down the 'cliff', we'd probably have been right here long before now, but not necessarily in good shape to continue.
And trail zag back to the north
A little more cliffiness
More thoughts of a shortcut? Or just admiring the view?
We're bottomed out at the dam, but instead of crossing over to the far side for our return, as usual, we're galloping along on the easier eastern lake loop trail.
The big down coat, so unnecessary at this time, looks like a medieval Japanese samurai's outfit.
The lovely little island. There's a sign posted on the right side of it, surely not visible to anyone who ought to be in a position to read it. We'll try to figure that out next time we come (cf. next week).
The dam at the northern end, and the scar of what we reckon to be iron mine slag dumps down the side of the ridge behind.
One member of our party is scurrying back to the car to fetch the books we've brought along with us . . .
. . . and couldn't be bothered to haul along with us on our bracing walk.