The last big stop on this road trip adventure was in Oakland, Maryland. On Monday afternoon, I grabbed lunch to eat while traveling along mostly two lane highways from Luray Caverns and through western Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.
Being Columbus Day, a lot of Oakland businesses were closed but I was really there on a reconnaissance mission. You see, we think that some of my family came from this area. I had started working on my genealogy years ago but had to give up the effort when college, career and life got in the way.
Thanks to Ancestry.com this kind of research is much simpler than it was twenty years ago so I’m planning to buy myself a membership for Christmas and unravel some mysteries.
Meanwhile, I just wanted to see the town. And since I’ve seen it, I’m plotting a trip back in the spring when the weather is better. It’s about five hours from here – perfect for a long weekend.
The town is built into a mountain and has a commercial strip lined with all the non-descript fast food and retail you see in small towns. But the downtown is adorable. There’s a gorgeous old courthouse and it seems like even the plainest buildings have some kind of fun twist, even if it’s just artful displays of flowers outside.
I felt an attachment to one particular church for some reason. It was frustrating to photograph because of power lines and disappointing to see a modern door on the front. However, time marches on and modern doors are often a necessity.
I looked it up online and found images of beautiful wooden doors on the front of St. Matthews Episcopal Church. I’ve never done this before, but will pack dress clothes and plan to attend a service here on my return. I circled back to this church a few times before leaving town.
There are several retail shops downtown including a few antique stores. I ventured into one for a couple of fun bargains including a travel themed cardboard hat box destined to be part of my vintage suitcase collection. Their prices were more than reasonable and the owners were thrilled to have an out-of-town visitor.
The town also has three history museums, all of which were closed by the time I arrived. This area is a popular four season destination with a large lake for water sports as well as popular areas for skiing. This was the leg of the journey where I most needed my trusty atlas and where I spent a fair amount of time behind campers and trucks on two lane roads in the mountains.
But that was just part of the fun!
I reluctantly left town and headed toward Clarksburg, West Virginia where I spent the night before heading westward early Tuesday morning. The trip out of Oakland was beautiful as the sun began to set over the lake. The trees, with their changing colors, shown in the brilliant autumn light.
Honestly, I hated to leave.
We still have a few small things to discuss about this trip in the coming days. Come back for more!