As I’m sitting here drinking my coffee on this bright sunny Sunday morning in Woodstock, Virginia, I’m reflecting on the past couple of days. I’m gazing out the window of the dining area at the Holiday Inn Express watching cyclists get ready to leave for another day of riding.
Oh great, she’s writing another blog post about bicycling, you think. Not true, I say! We are in town for a yearly phenomenon called Bike Virginia. Each year over 1000 cyclists of all ages and skill levels descend on one area of Virginia to ride a different route each day. You can sign up for 1, 3, or 6 days of riding. Last year we were in Abingdon and Bristol, Virginia. This year it is Woodstock and Harrisonburg’s turn. Unlike last year, we are only here for the 3-day ride around Woodstock.
Normally, I shop while my husband rides. This year, however, I decided I could handle the 36 mile ride on Friday. The elevation map didn’t look too bad, and the route was on country roads, so I figured I could handle the traffic. I quickly learned that the elevation map was very deceiving. Especially for someone used to riding the relatively flat rail trails. These up and down roads are called “rollers” in cycling terms. I guess that means you are supposed to fly down one side and your momentum is supposed to “roll” you up the other side. I am here to tell you that is not the case! I flew down at around 20 mph and crawled up the other side at about 2 mph!
The other big difference is that the rail trails are mostly shady, wooded areas. Asphalt roads get hot very quickly!
I was so excited to see the rest stop at the 18 mile mark. This was at the American Celebration on Parade at Shenandoah Caverns. And they were serving root beer floats!
Unfortunately, I still had to endure another 18 miles of “rollers”. My husband was very sweet to wait for me at the top of each hill with water bottle in hand. But, I persevered and celebrated with a well-deserved beer at the end! And I can also cross “riding an organized road ride” off my bucket list!
Saturday I went back to what I usually do when I accompany my husband on these trips. Shopping!! While he was riding 100 miles around the Shenandoah Valley, I checked out the historical towns along Route 11. I plotted my course and headed south toward New Market, Virginia. As I headed down I-81, I saw a sign for the Shenandoah Flea Market, so I had to stop. Today I was in search of ladies vintage hankies to turn into a quilt someone had sent me a picture of. This particular flea market didn’t have what I was looking for, so I moved on to New Market.
New Market is home to one of the many Civil War Battlefields dotting the landscape of the state of Virginia. Many of the buildings in town date back to the late 1700s. Today, New Market is in the midst of revitalization, according to one of the shop owners. It is a quaint town with antique shops, Civil War gift shops, The Virginia Museum of the Civil War, and what one shop owner boasted as the best cup of fresh roasted coffee in Virginia at Jackson’s Corner Café https://www.facebook.com/JacksonsCornerCafe. While I was not in the mood for coffee on this warm day, it did smell delicious. I was able to find 2 hankies at an adorable antique shop called Still River Days Antiques http://www.stillriverdaysantiques.com/.
From New Market, I drove up Route 11 through Mt. Jackson to Edinburg. We had ridden past hear on our bicycles the day before and the Shenandoah Valley Cultural Heritage Museum http://www.edinburgmill.com/ caught my eye. I addition to shopping, I also like learning the history of the small towns we visit during our travels. The museum is housed in the old Edinburg Mill. The Edinburg Mill was one of the few mills to escape “The Burning” of the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. If you have the time, the museum shows a 45 minute movie entitled “The Burning” depicting General Sheridan’s rampage of the Shenandoah Valley during the war. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to watch the movie. The 2nd and 3rd floors house most of the museum. The first floor is a small part of the museum and also the gift shop. I paid the $3 fee to go to the upper floors on the advice of the wonderful ladies working there. The also told me to watch out for Frank on the 3rd floor. Turns out Frank died in a mill accident and is known to still frequent the 3rd floor. Now my interest was really piqued. While the upper floors carried an incredible amount of historical artifacts, unfortunately I didn’t get to meet Frank.
Having learned more about the history of the area, I continued north on Route 11 in search of my vintage hankies. I found “The Flea Market”, boasting 90 indoor booths. Yeah, I thought, surely there would be something here. Not only did I find seven hankies, reasonably priced, but I also realized some of my wedding gifts are now considered “vintage”! Not sure how I feel about that.
I met my husband back at our hotel so he could shower after his 100 mile bike ride. God bless him! We went into town for dinner and decided to venture up Route 11 to Strasburg. Walking around town we came upon The Strasburg Emporium & Flea Market http://www.thestrasburgemporium.com/. This place was huge! I hit the jackpot here as well and found 4 more hankies. I also saw a dress in the vintage clothing section that looked eerily like the scratchy long dress I wore to my aunt’s wedding when I was about 10 years old. I had a really bad sunburn and this was not the best dress to wear for that! Thank for that memory flashback!
We ventured next door to Tippy’s Bakery https://www.facebook.com/Tippysbakery. Tippy’s was bigger than it looks, with 4 large round tables for 4. Each table was set with cloth placemats and cloth napkins. It was very inviting. We shared a piece of snickers cheesecake and had wonderful fresh brewed coffee. According to the chalkboard menu, Tippy’s also serves soups, sandwiches and salads daily. If the cheesecake were any indication, this would be a good place to stop for lunch.
After walking around Strasburg a little bit more, we decided to call it an evening and head back to our hotel. After all, my husband still had 63 miles more to ride on Sunday!