Sunday, June 22, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, part deux

Just in case you think I spent all that time foolishly reading books, I didn't. I spent it in Canaan Valley, WV. It just happened to rain a couple of the days I was there....

Despite the rain -- and a rather nasty hail storm -- we had a lovely visit to the town of Thomas where we went to the Mountain Made Artisans' Gallery and had a very good lunch at The Purple Fiddle. It may be worth it to note here that the actual town seems to be clinging for life with all it's might to the mountain side and while you may well pass through town without giving it a second glance, the people we met were all very welcoming, the food was good and I didn't really see any of the usual tacky souvenirs found in so many parts of the world.

The first it didn't rain, we visited Blackwater Falls:

The next day, my brother and I took our father up to Fairmont, where he had lived for most of his childhood. Our first stop was the former Fairmont Municipal Pool (aka the 12th St. Pool) which now belongs to the county and has been lovingly restored. My grandfather was the engineer on this project so it was nice to see that aside from some materials which needed replacing (i.e. rusty iron plumbing) it was still in very good shape.

If my dad can find it, I'll post a picture of what it looked like when it first opened in 1937.

Other places have not fared so well. The elementary school my dad went to, Butcher School, was closed many years ago and because of the usual zoning restrictions was never used for much more than storage. The brick walls are still fairly sturdy but the insides have rotted through and through and the parking lot is littered with broken beer bottles.

The high school, on the other hand, is looking very well:

The last day of our trip, we headed out of West Virginia early and had a great drive down Rt. 33 to Harrisonburg, VA where we stopped at The Virginia Quilt Museum. Now, I know Virginia should be called the "History State" and we are wont to go on about the good ol' days and you can't walk 10 paces without stumbling into a battlefield, but gosh darn it, I really enjoyed the quilt museum. Obviously I would have been in 7th heaven had they been featuring crazy quilts instead of Quaker quilts but I still enjoyed seeing what they did have. They do have Eliza Crim's crazy quilt on permanent display -- in fact, most of the quilts in the Civil War room are fascinating to look at. The most striking difference between quilts then and quilts now aside from the mechanization of their making, is the size of the blanket stitch used on appliqué. That's just something you have to see in person.

Back to work tomorrow... Not looking forward to it.

1 comment:

Plays with Needles said...

I can't believe it! I went to the same artisan gallery and ate at the Purple Fiddle too about two years ago when we went to visit Blackwater Falls. Too funny! I still have wooden handmade salad tongs that I bought at that gallery and I love. Don't tell me you bought them too?