Monday, August 4, 2008

Back And Forthing

Since Asheville is about 600 miles away from Malvern, we needed a place to stop over both coming and going. Looking at a map of our route, we decided Lexington, Va, appeared to be a comfortable day's drive as well as an interesting place to visit. We opted to stay there on the way down and the way back (although in different inns). On the way down, we stayed at House Mountain Inn on Lonesome Dove Trail (Bill just loved that). In fact, they had prints of the Lonesome Dove characters prominently displayed on the wall. Bill could name every one.
Lexington is a small town and home to Washington & Lee University as well as the Virginia Military Institute. There's a quaint downtown area and a couple of historic places to visit (right up our alley). We toured Stonewall Jackson's home and looked in a couple of shops before we went over to the college complex. The two schools sit right next to each other and each have a number of interesting sites. The one thing that struck me especially about VMI was that it was so khaki. Every building on the campus as well as the athletic stadium was painted khaki. I've never seen anything like that before; it was strange. Even Valley Forge Military Academy is brick. But VMI is decidedly khaki.

VMI Chapel. See, khaki.

Downtown Lexington

This town is famous for two men: Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, both Civil War heroes. In case you don't know it, Virginians take their Civil War heroes very seriously. There's a guided tour of Stonewall's home, but I liked his garden the best. Check out this scarecrow. Stick a few feathers into a potato, tie it to a string and suspend it from a small branch. Very ingenious. What could be easier?

Back at VMI we toured the George C. Marshall Museum and Library. Marshall was a true statesman. He was a graduate of VMI (natch) and went on to become an important military leader, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and father of the Marshall Plan for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Marshall Plan was designed to help rebuild Europe after World War II and stabilize its economy and was vital to Europe's recovery after the war.

At Washington & Lee, you can visit the Lee Chapel and see this sculpture of Robert E. Lee. He is actually buried in the crypt below the chapel.

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