Old Friends in Appalachia

After returning to the mainland from Atlantic City, we pushed west toward Philadelphia. Our next stop was Waynesboro, Virginia. Waynesboro is an industrial town nestled in one of the sloping valleys of the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, the Appalachian Trail meanders through Waynesboro on its way down to Alabama. There are no skyscrapers, no huge shopping centers; Waynesboro is a thick knot of roads and businesses lying flat across the valley floor. This layout gives any resident or visitor a spectacular view of the monumental topography around them from most places in town.

Why would we make this town our next destination? Our general direction is south along the coast, but going to Waynesboro takes us several miles inland, close to the West Virginia border. The answer is an easy one. Several years ago, a very good friend of ours, one of our best, moved down to Virginia from Connecticut for work. And being within even a few hundred miles necessitated a visit for the weekend.

One of our other very close friends, Mr. Graham Wilbour, was on the way, living just a few miles outside of Baltimore with his girlfriend, Kierstin. It was a perfect pit stop for dinner and a drink.

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There’s me and Bill.

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And there are our gracious hosts.

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And of course one of all four, I mean six, of us.

After a filling meal and a few jokes, Bill and I resumed our trek into the mountains. By now it was dark and we could not make out the mountains enveloping the highway, only the twinkle of a few house lights seemingly suspended in the sky.

A few more hours of driving and we were there. Our friend, Colin, was at a local bar killing time waiting for us. After surprising him and hanging out for a quick beer, we went back to his place and relaxed after a long drive.

The next morning we got our first look of the mountains around us.

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We spent the morning at Colin’s catching up. He introduced us also to a local friend of his, Andrew. We talked and told stories for a few hours, but by early afternoon the four of us were famished. Using one of the mobile apps Bill and I had downloaded for the trip, we found a brewery only a few miles away at which to have lunch.

The Blue Mountain Brewery is a few miles outside the busier parts of Waynesboro. It’s location on a gentle and scarcely developed slope gave us a great view of the country upon arrival.

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We were nervous that the brewery’s food and drink selection wouldn’t live up to the grandeur that surrounded it. Thankfully, the folks at Blue Mountain know their stuff and know it well. Their selection of beer tantalized every possible palate and occupied the whole spectrum from hoppy to malty, from crisp and light to dark and cloudy. The wise people at Blue Mountain knew that deciding amongst their pantheon of specialties would be a difficult task, so they made an offer for the indecisive like me.

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The food there was also very good, satisfying our hunger and mixing rather pleasantly with the beers.

On the winding road back to Colin’s, we passed an antique and gift shop. The trinkets they had hanging on the outside and collected around the windows caught our attention and before we knew it we were inside sniffing around. The atmosphere of this shop was distinct. Collected here were wines, books, decorations, jams, jellies, statues, flowers, and everything else that satisfied a definition of “quaint”.

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Being a booklover I couldn’t resist picking up this little treasure. Copyrighted and printed in 1907, I don’t even know what it is about.

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Later that night, Colin and Andrew showed us a local bar where the workers living in and around Waynesboro would come and let their hair down. A live band blasted music ranging from country to rock, and a hive of local ladies orbited the stage dancing and laughing and having a better time than most of us could ever hope to have.

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We stayed until late, the bar becoming increasingly more crowded and rowdy. Eventually, our appetites caught up to us and we made a stop at Buffalo Wild Wings (we couldn’t help it), before heading back to headquarters.

The next morning we collected our things, took a few pictures and said goodbye to an old friend and a new friend, both of whom showed us a great time in this little mountain town in western Virginia.

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