At the end of March 2017, my wife and I began our journey from Augusta, Georgia to Anchorage, Alaska. We decided to use the opportunity to both visit family and tour the countryside. Having finished the initial leg of the journey I have paused to record some of my observations.
The first stop of our trip was in Lynchburg, Virginia so that we might visit with old friends and see the campus of our Alma Mater Liberty University. It had been five years since visiting Lynchburg and three years since I had seen some of my friends that I had grown up and attended college with. I was delighted to see the significant alteration of the campus which had rapidly grown since I left. A new library, science hall, music hall, student center, and dorms were just some of the modern facilities that have been constructed since my graduation. The buildings were beautiful and buzzed with the academic and social activity of youth and inquiry.
With old friends, my wife and I, shared old memories, new experiences, and dreams over warm meals and cool drinks. Before setting off on the road once more, my wife and I had breakfast with my sister and then parted ways.
Next we spent several days in Rising Sun, Maryland a rural town in the northern corner of the state close to the Pennsylvania border. We spent several days with family and perused bookstores. Whereas the temperature in Georgia had been comfortable in the mid-70s, there was faint hints of snow left from a storm the previous week in Maryland. The snow was only in small patches left over in the shelter of trees and ditches hidden from warmth of the midday sun. While in Rising Sun, we made a morning trip into Lancaster, Pennsylvania the countryside famous for its pastoral landscape and Amish culture. Sadly residential communities had infiltrated the simple land and a good portion of the town clearly thrived on tourism. However, much of the countryside still possessed the charm of rolling hills, with fields and fences containing crops and livestock. I have heard that many of the Amish have moved from Lancaster to up to central New York to escape the encroachment of modern life. Driving through this land one must be patient with the horse drawn buggies that clop slowly down the road. These visits are enjoyable and educational but give one the sense of an invading alien polluting a pristine culture.
Then next part of our journey took us to Bennington, Vermont were we drove on the backroads of Pennsylvania and New York to avoid the exorbitant tolls and ferocious traffic of the areas surrounding New York City. To the right and left of the road, for most of the journey there were numerous small farms and woodlands in Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont. Bennington is a pleasant but dying town, rich in history that threatens to be forgotten. There was one peculiar building positioned on one of the winding roads leading into the town where a dilapidated building stood. It was several stories high and large in proportion. On inquiry we were informed that the building hailed from the colonial era that through time served as a stage coach stop, an inn, and a brothel. Evidently a descendant of the historic owner still lives in a part of the building and the truth of this we saw each night as we drove by and saw one light of the immense building lit. One of the days in Bennington we drove up Hogback Mountain which offered a spectacular view of the woods, snow, valleys, and mountains.
Later that day we visited the Hildene home, a mansion tucked away in the mountains of Vermont. This estate was owned for many years by one of the decedents of Abraham Lincoln. The house was well preserved and several informed staff were present to answer questions.
Having completed the eastern-most portion of our journey in Bennington we began our journey west to the rural area of central New York.
Once again we made use of the settings in Google Maps to avoid toll roads which resulted in a slower but more scenic route through eastern New York. The largest community that we drove through was Utica which was more of a town than a city. In driving these roads one becomes aware of how large and rural most of New York really is. We arrived in the afternoon to the last homely house in our journey to visit family and rest before heading westward and farther north.