Day 5: August 25, 2010
Starting down the BR
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I walked around the corner from the motel to get a better picture of the dome that Thomas Jefferson watched being built from his "back porch". It's still behind a few trees in the first picture so I've included a second full frontal treeless shot. Then, to round things out, there's a third view that includes Jefferson himself. That the top of the columns are covered with black cloth may not jump out at you in any of these pictures but it's hard to overlook in a closer view. I have no idea why it is there.

I had a dilemma to deal with once I checked out of the motel. At some point I had learned of two wonderful sounding breakfast spots in Charlottesville but that problem seemed to resolve itself when I decided to spend two nights here to accommodate the visit to Monticello. Then Wes & Dee recommended a third spot and a dilemma was born. I had actually seen the place they recommended but was more amused than attracted. On Monday evening, I'd driven north of the motel while considering dinner and, not surprisingly, a place called "The Tavern" caught my eye. But it looked closed and the phrase below the name, "A Pancake House" seemed very out of place. It was indeed closed because it is indeed a pancake house, open only through early afternoon, and it is, according to Wes & Dee, quite good. After much waffling I decided to head for the Blue Grass Inn, as I had planned, then stop by The Tavern for a peek and some coffee or something.

The Bluegrass Grill & Bakery is the middle of three businesses in a glass fronted building. I'd driven by it without knowing when I was at the South Street Brewery. It is not an attention grabber. I sat at the small counter and managed to grab a picture of my omelet being placed on the serving counter. I wasn't even aware that it was my order when I snapped the photo since it happened sooner than I expected. And it tasted great. There are at least three years of "Best of C-ville" stickers displayed and I've no doubts that they were all deserved.

The drive to The Tavern was short and did nothing to rebuild my appetite. I sat at the counter and ordered iced tea. As I watched the cook work, it occurred to me that I might be able to sample one of the items touted on their sign. I asked and was assured that I could order just one pancake so I did. Then I watched it being cooked; first on one side then the other. Then I ate it. A single pancake might not be as photogenic as a mushroom omelet but it sure tasted good. So, in just two days, I can vouch for Charlottesville having at least three excellent breakfast joints. That's a personal record I don't intend to break anytime soon.

On the way to the Parkway, I spotted this marker in the community of Ivy. I've now been to the geographic beginning and end of Meriwether Lewis' life. The Natchez Trace Parkway passes by his grave.

It was almost exactly noon when I entered the Blue Ridge Parkway's northern end and set off to see what was beyond the next curve. Oh look, it's another scenic view. I apologize for seeming to belittle scenic views but there is one beyond almost every curve.

I drove this northernmost section of the Parkway back in 2005 and I stopped then at the Humpback Rock Visitor Center about five miles from the Parkway's start. There is a recreated "farmstead" at the center and today Ted Hughes was the docent/interpreter at the 1890s period log cabin. There are some outbuildings, like the little barn or stable, and there is a plot of growing crops and flowers. I put "farmstead" in quotes because of something Ted said. He said he never refers to the setup at Humpback Rocks as a farm. Ted grew up near here, his family has been in the area for many generations, and Ted has known plenty of people who lived along the ridge. "I never heard any of those people refer to themselves as farmers," he says. A farmer was somebody down in the valley with a bit of decent land. People on the ridge were "just trying to scratch a living from between the rocks." There are two families still living that way Ted said. They are in their eighties and content. "I guess you don't miss what you never had," he concluded. I bet they'd miss the butterflies.

I posted a picture of all the tunnels on Skyline Drive (1) and now I've posted a picture of all the tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia (1). I'm confident I won't post a picture of all the tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina (25).

At the James River Visitor Center, a path leads down the river bank to a pedestrian bridge suspended below the Parkway. There's a restored Kanawha Canal lock on the other side. This canal, begun in 1785, eventually reached 196 miles in length and connected Richmond with Buchanan.

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