Last Columbus Day weekend took me to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. On the way home, I arrived at an intersection with a sign pointing toward Thomas, West Virginia. My friend Mike had advised me many times that I needed to visit Thomas and since I had no schedule, I took the exit and went in search of this place.
I didn’t even look at the map. I just followed the signs and had a great time doing it. You can read some about that visit here.
One of the beautiful things about traveling alone is that there was no one freaking out in the passenger seat because you don’t know how long it will take to get there, what there is to do once you arrive or the minor detail that you don’t even know how you’ll get to your actual destination from this mountain village.
I really liked it there but many businesses were closed either because of the holiday, the fact that some small tourist businesses are simply closed on Mondays, or because of Covid. So I swore I would go back some day.
I considered spending last weekend down there until I realized there was nowhere to stay. Every cabin and Airbnb was booked and probably had been for months. With literally no room at the inn, I made it a whirlwind day trip.
First of all, town was busy and every establishment seemed to be hopping. Truth be told, it was too busy for my tastes but I still enjoyed the atmosphere and the hippy vibes that emanate from this place. People are friendly, there’s a terrific historic walking tour and you feel welcome everywhere you go. I was also glad to see them bouncing back after the pandemic had been so damaging to their economy.
Luckily, I had a couple of other things on my radar that took me out of town. This is another benefit of traveling alone. No one was disappointed because we had to switch to Plan B because the original destination was crawling with people.
One place I visited was Blackwater State Park. The other activity involved a closer look at some of those giant wind turbines that are popping up in wind farms across the country.
I saw these last year but didn’t stop for a closer look or for pictures and have kicked myself ever since. My pictures aren’t great but you get the gist. You’re really high up on a mountain and close to some of these monstrosities.
To be perfectly honest, these things give me the creeps. The sheer size and design remind me of some kind of futuristic end of the world movie plot. They are oddly quiet with just a gentle whirring noise and a gearbox the size of a compact car. The blades are about a hundred feet long and I can’t help but wonder what might happen to them in a tornado.
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale comes to mind.
Anyway, when you leave Thomas and start heading north, you find yourself climbing a mountain and almost at eye level with one of these bad boys. There are places where you can pull over for pictures.
Tomorrow we visit Blackwater State Park where the foliage is changing and the views are stunning.