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Khirad On August - 20 - 2010

From Gettysburg, I went on down thorough the pan-handle of West Virginia, which was actually one of the finest manicured highway stretches I’ve ever seen. Enchanting, actually. Across the Mason-Dixon Line, I headed in to Shenandoah. In the powers invested upon me by me, I re-dub the Appalachian Mountains the “Adorable Appalachian Foothills” (I feel the same about Southwestern “rivers”). Hey, it’s all relative, I suppose.

I can only imagine how beautiful the Autumn colors would be.

This is about the highest the Appalachians get, at around 4,000 feet above sea level. The highest point of the Appalachian range is 6,684 ft. At the lodge near the peak I heard my first southern accent. Hardly over the Mason-Dixon Line. She did explain the lack of pine trees. It had to do with seasonal factors. And, she in turn was fascinated by saguaro cacti. She was also hospitable enough to pack me a coffee to go. Good thing, as it got a little chilly.

Shortly hereafter a deer was munching away. My attention was divided between the scenery and the Prime Ministerial debates on the radio, though.

Apologies if there are copyright issues here, but this postcard was too good. After some giggling, I promptly purchased it.

In Charlottesville coming onto the University of Virginia campus, this was odd to me at first. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, dotted with reminders of the Lewis & Clark Trail (Meriwether wrote that my hometown was the site west of the Rockies most worthy of settlement), I always thought of these two as quintessentially Northwestern. But, they were, after all, Virginians. Both had roots in Abermarle County in central Virginia.

It is only a short drive up to Monticello, but my oh my, back in Jefferson’s time, this must have been quite a trip up the hill. I’ll get back to this picture at the end. Take your guesses now.

If only I could have taken photos inside. If I had had any doubts Jefferson would have nothing to do with the Tea Party before…

From the side. Unfortunately, it slipped my mind to photograph the East front.

Full lawn. Jefferson later regretted deforesting this expanse, in the summer heat.

If you noticed in the side view, there was a tree cut down. This is now the last witness tree. All the flowers on the grounds are those which Jefferson planted. As with everything else intellectual, Jefferson experimented with horticulture.

Down the hill across the lawn, Jefferson created a walking path. It started out with three concentric circles, this being one of them, descending in size. Not much to look at in the photo, but I longed to go further and walk the same peaceful walk as Jefferson is said to have done to clear his mind and reflect. Oh, the thoughts he must have thought…

You don’t want to know how long I had to wait to get this shot.

This is Mulberry lane on the East side. In Jefferson’s time this would have been bustling, like a mini main street.

Of course, most of its denizens would have lived in dwellings this size. They were slaves.

This was the where the blacksmith made all sorts of things, from nails to gardening implements, horseshoes, etc. Among slaves, this was a more prized and better paying duty (Jefferson did give supplemental income depending on job).

Grave of Rachel Levy. Monticello is in the shape it is today thanks to Uriah Levy, whom bought it in the 1830s. As a Jew, he admired Jefferson’s commitment to Religious Freedom. Something which 70% of us are really forgetting today as a nation.

Vegetable garden.

Jefferson grave. Notice what he was most proud of, after the Declaration of Independence. Upon learning how many so-called “patriotic” Americans believe Muslims shouldn’t be able to run for president, he turned over yet again, I’m sure.

Thom. Not to scale at all. He should be about 1-2 inches taller than me.

In the middle of the parking lot was this. The African American graveyard. There are no lasting markers.

Right next door was Ash Lawn-Highland. James Monroe’s residence.

The front of Monroe’s simple house.

Back porch with later addition (in yellow).

He actually had relatively nice slave quarters. It should also be remembered that Monroe was what might be later called a Separatist. This is why he helped found Liberia and why its capital is called Monrovia.

The two very different personalities of the two Founding Fathers, set apart by a little hill, were very apparent.

At the University of Virginia. I’m not quite sure what this is, but it was very photogenic.

The rotunda at the University of Virginia, designed by Thomas Jefferson. Scroll back up to my first Monticello picture. This is what is seen through the (carefully tended) foliage. And you know, some days cloudy days can be great, but what I would have given for a blue sky to break up the dome here.

Also, I had to get creative, as there was scaffolding for renovations on the lower half of the building.

Final question. What on earth is Zeta ‘IMP’ about?

I wish I had of gotten some pics of the Downtown Mall. They shut down main street and made it into a very European feeling shopping, eating and cultural heart of the city. There was a very vibrant feel to the city, even when driving around the more mundane parts, that I could see myself living in Charlottesville. I enjoyed it very much.

I also, in a sense, like Lewis and Clark before me, felt part of me had come home that first night in Virginia. There was a sense of contentment to it all; a magic in the air when I stepped outside to be alone before bed.

Just don’t ever ask me to get lacrosse mania…

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

32 Responses so far.

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  1. meade says:

    I love the pictures, though. You captured Charlottesville so well. Even though Charlottesville is not Northern Virginia, but part of the Central VA region.

  2. choicelady says:

    Hi Khirad -- I’m just catching up and thank you so much for this! I was there about 4 years ago, starting in Gettysburg and working down to Appomattox. The area is simply beautiful. Well -- if you discount the mall sprawl in Manassas… Monticello was breathtaking, and your photos brought back such GREAT memories. We drove the Blue Ridge highway, got a Southern dinner at the ONLY open restaurant, then totally missed the turnoff we wanted so drove a long way in the dark -- very slowly trying to avoid the ubiquitous deer! Even in the dark it was something to experience. MUCH appreciate the stunning photography of your entire trip, and thank you!

  3. Moist Robot says:

    I LOVE the witness tree!! I believe they are also called Heritage Trees.

  4. Moist Robot says:

    Lovely pictures, Khirad. How could Prime Ministerial debates compete with a munching deer? Did it alter your perception of either of the two events? The latter is a serious question.

  5. whatsthatsound says:

    Hey Khirad, some of the regular commenters over at HP are talking about doing a “Huffies Awards” and they are nominating you for one of the categories!

    Knowing I have no chance of winning a Huffy, or even a Schwinn, I’m deciding to do the Whatsies. Categories include Best Two Liners and Most Consistently OT Commenter. I figure I’ll win at least one of those, being as I’m the only judge.

  6. meade says:

    Again, Im sorry that I went off like that. Its just that I can’t concur about the whole Mid-Atlantic thing. Im seriously not a troll. Listen, I really liked your pictures, though, and I’m so glad you enjoyed Virginia. I hope I didn’t ruin the Virginia experience for you. Peace!

    • AdLib says:

      Meade, welcome to The Planet!

      I completely appreciate your POV on this as a native Virginian (hope I’m not stepping on James Drury’s toes!). I also appreciate where Khirad is coming from in including it the way he has as part of his delightful tour.

      Though there is a difference of opinion here, I would say that both of you agree on how beautiful and impressively historic Virginia is. Hope to visit there in the near future as I’m anxious to take my young daughter to see DC and that part of the country.

      Once again, welcome to The Planet!

      • boomer1949 says:

        …I would say that both of you agree on how beautiful and impressively historic Virginia is…

        Which is the exact reason we encouraged Khirad to tell us about his trip in the first place. Remember?

        Yup, since getting back in May from my trip in April, I

    • Khirad says:

      Yeah, well, you still haven’t gotten the economy issue of the title, have you?

      Part five. Get it? A majority of the trip was the traditional definition.

      And, no matter your feelings the definitions are not black and white.

      Maryland was a Southern State too according to some, no?

      Next time, it is more than okay to light-heartedly joke about it, but it is okay to concede a point here and there, as well.

  7. meade says:

    I won’t post anything again, but please read my Virginia Blog to discover more about us. If you call us Mid-Atlantic, then that means we’re like NJ, which we ain’t!


  8. meade says:

    It almost looks silly and ridiculous to include a fine old Southern state like “Virginia” in a Mid-Atlantic road trip. Baltimore, yes. But Virginia? My ancestors would be rolling in their graves. I don’t have a Mid-Atlantic accent, I have a pure Southern one. Thats because 12 generations of my ancestors lived here. Why not include South Carolina in the “Mid-Atlantic” while we’re at it. Really.

    • Khirad says:

      Meade, the northern half of Virginia was part of my Mid-Atlantic trip, and writing Mid-Atlantic-Virginia trip would have made the title even more ridiculously long. This is part 5 of a trip which includes five of the more traditionally designated states in their strict sense.

      Standard Federal Region III doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, either.

      Besides, it is an acceptable designation falling under a broader definition of Mid-Atlantic.

      If you wanna have fun, we can talk about what qualifies as a Middle Eastern nation.

      The AAA sees fit to call Virginia part of this region, as well.

      There is also historical precedent to its usage.

      Et cetera.

      If you were kidding, sorry, I couldn’t tell from your tone.

      It didn’t sound like you were being very generous, nonetheless.

      And is NoVA really like South Carolina? Virginia Beach and Richmond might be a stretch (one which I’ll be making for reasons given above), but Fairfax is hardly the Deep South.

      I’m also not speaking of the accent. Accents don’t always respect geographical boundaries, anyway.

      But listen, it’s silly, if you were doing something in the Northwest, Northern Cali and Western Montana are more than acceptable within that context to designate ‘Northwestern’.

      • meade says:

        I’m sorry if I offended you. I never ever said Virginia was the Deep South. But it is not Mid-Atlantic. Calling it that is a very bad misnomer, because it conjures up something contrary to what it is. Virginia is the Upper South, along with Kentucky and NC. The Mid-Atlantic states are NY, NJ, PA, and DE with parts of MD and West VA.

        I realize some places try to classify VA as “Mid-Atlantic” but in a broader sense, it is wrong. Virginia is a Southeastern/South Atlantic state. For heaven’s sakes- we grow cotton and peanuts here. Does that sound like a “Mid-Atlantic” state to you? Its climate, history, culture, people, food, fit in with the South Atlantic Coastal Region of the USA. Maryland and DE can be Mid-Atlantic and Northern West VA. However, Virginia is a Southern state. You should do a chapter on the South Atlantic states- start with Washington DC and down to FL. Thats how it should be. Also look up VA and its in the “South” Census. Well, at least you didn’t call us a Northeastern state. Sorry for the rant!

        • Khirad says:

          Nope, you seem to be the sensitive one here.

          I took a goddamn fucking trip. And it was fun. But you’re shitting all over the memories with your pettiness.

          A majority of it was in the traditional mid-atlantic states.

          I did not want a ridiculously long title.

          What fucking part of that was so hard for you to comprehend, troll?

          This was a lighthearted series and you’ve gone and made it into drama.

          Nor did you address any of my points.

      • kesmarn says:

        You can hear all sorts of accents here in northern Ohio, Khirad--including Southern ones. Some workers who moved North to work in the factories in the 40s and 50s have clung to their Southern accents for decades and their children have them! (Kids who may never have been in the South…!)

        I had a patient, a few months ago, who I would have sworn was from Tennessee. It turns out his wife was. He had been born and raised in this area, but had adopted her accent. It was so thick you could hardly understand him!

        Accents and ancestry are seldom reliable and consistent ways to identify regions or their “proper” inhabitants. I’ve been in northern Virginia, and it’s a pretty diverse region with a lot of Northern as well as Southern influence.

        Thanks again, Khirad, for a great series.

        • Khirad says:

          And my Grandma, whom was from Savannah or my dad who can naturally affect one, as well, given our relatives in GA and South Carolina.

          I don’t need a lecture about the South from this troll.

  9. meade says:

    Very nice- but is Virginia really “Mid-Atlantic”, thats kind of a misnomer. When I think of Mid-Atlantic I think of New Yorkers and Cary Grant type speech. Virginia is a South Atlantic STATE- thats what we were taught in school. Virginia has more in common with GA than NY and NJ. How in the world could anyone call Virginia the North? I dont get it. Y’all.

  10. Kalima says:

    The first five pictures could be of Derbyshire in England where I spent my years after moving there as a nipper. It too has glorious open landscapes with hills and valleys that are breathtakingly beautiful, and a place chosen by many as a location for many films in the past.

    I have an overpowering connection to the past, and have visited well known and not so well know cemeteries in every city I have visited all over the world. The peace I find there is unequaled, the neglect is often heartbreaking, but the fascination remains.

    Thanks again for sharing places important to your country’s history, and explaining your experience there so adequately that even a dumb foreigner who has never set foot there, can understand and appreciate. For me the visual is always more lasting than any history book could ever hope to be. You have been on a remarkable journey.

  11. kesmarn says:

    I love the term “witness tree,” Khirad.

    This is the best travel journal I have ever seen, bar none. The combination of perfect photography (I would never have the patience to wait for people-free shots) and informed narrative is matchless. Lots of humor and history and philosophical reflection… Couldn’t ask for more.

    But I’m going to. Please say there’s more.

    • PatsyT says:

      Good morning Kes,
      Khirad has given us a true gift!
      Hope all is well in Ohio

      • kesmarn says:

        Patsy! So good to see you.
        I’m out of town at the moment, on a borrowed computer, but just had to check in for a few minutes. I’m sorry I missed a great Vox Pop last night. But was happy to find Khirad’s latest segment of his odyssey.

        Things are moving along here in the Buckeye State. My son starts grad school next week and just found out this past week that he’s teaching a section of College Algebra that has 42 students in it! Not much notice for getting a syllabus and course plan shaped up!

        And, if I’m not mistaken, your daughter is off to college soon? Ah, parenthood…not for the faint of heart. (And many apologies for straying so far off topic!)

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