Reconnaissance Mission In Oakland, Maryland

Monday Lurray Caverns and Garrett County (134)

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.

Monday Lurray Caverns and Garrett County (138)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!

On The Road

Monday Front Royal, VA (10)_edited

On the road is probably my favorite place to be most days. The thing I like best about traveling roads I’ve never been on is encountering a place that simply forces me to pull over and have a look around.

Many times, it’s cute little towns where the residents will tell you there’s nothing to do and where they see nothing special while you’re enchanted by the narrow streets, hanging flowers and odd mix of architectural features.

The trip to Luray Caverns took longer than planned because I found Front Royal, Virginia. It was about 8:30 a.m. on Columbus Day when I rolled up to a traffic light and looked to my left. It was clear that I would always regret not going around the block.

Front Royal is now officially on my list of places to visit again some day. The street I explored that day was home to the courthouse, a train depot turned visitors’ center, and park as well as a variety of storefronts, an ornate old bank and cute little theater. All but deserted because of my poor timing, this town captured my imagination.

I read that they host events in the gazebo in that park and I have fantasies of working in this town and reading a book while enjoying lunch in the park.

Monday Front Royal, VA (37)

It reminded me of a model railroad town. You know the kind? A string of perfect little buildings on tree lined streets. The courthouse lawn had so many trees that you can hardly see the building from the street. Coming from a community where the courthouse lawn was long ago replaced by concrete and retired weapons of war, this is a delightful sight.

I also saw some gorgeous old churches in addition to the usual string of fast food joints and those stores that seem to turn up in every town  –  Dollar General, Family Dollar and Tractor Supply are here but there were several local places that looked interesting. The proximity to Skyline Caverns and Shenandoah National Park would make this a fun long weekend getaway.

We’re coming up on the end of this road trip, friends. I have a few more things to tell you but we’ll be wrapping it up this week. Here’s hoping you have enjoyed reading about the journey enough to check back tomorrow for another story!

Posey Pot

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They call it the “Posey Pot.”

It’s in the middle of Laurelville, a small town in the Hocking Hills which I travel through somewhat frequently. I can’t begin to tell you how long it’s been there but the posey pot has been a source of pride in this community for generations.

It’s a farming community with a small population and few businesses. But it’s a nice village where the people are proud to fly their flag and where neighbors look out for one another. You’ll find the salt of the earth here.

I’ll take that over a city any day.