Sweet Virginia

Sweet Virginia

This pair of Rolling Stones rocked into Virginia with music on our minds but first of all it was a morning to say goodbye to Washington. We set off under a cloudless blue sky, full of appreciation for the wide, tree-lined avenues and majestic monuments and buildings. We gave a nod to the White House as we drove by and I commented again how, over the years, the public have been kept further away. I remember the time, not so long ago, when I pushed my camera through the railings to take a photograph. Now the police guard extends to stop pedestrians at Constitution Avenue. A sad sign of the times.

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Soon we were out on the freeway, and enjoying the lush rolling countryside full of trees, just showing signs of beginning to change colour. We climbed steadily to the Blue Ridge Skyway (now amongst the ‘Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia’…thank you Laurel and Hardy!!) and reached Waynesboro in the early afternoon, about 200 miles from door to door.

 

 

 

We asked at the hotel about live music and were directed to a local restaurant with a duo playing some amazing blue grass tunes. I will let Carolyn talk about the music whilst I have to make mention of our drinks order. We ordered a Miller Lite (mine) whilst Carolyn asked for a Margarita. “Small, medium or……”, asked the waiter. “Large”, was the firm response. Good grief…I’ve seen smaller buckets!!! The waiter must have thought I was letting the side down, so he brought me another beer. I hardly liked to say I was mindful to swap to a cocktail. The only minor downside, for me, was it just had to be a Mexican restaurant. Never have liked Mexican food!! But the music was wonderful.

 

 

Carolyn’s Curios & Musical Notes 🎼🎶🖌

Kath, by today’s blog title, has introduced me to a great acoustic track by the Rolling Stones. Thank you. We’re not sure, though, whether the Virginia in the title is the State or a real/fictitious woman. Opinions vary. But, whatever?!

My choice of title would have been one which went back decades before the Stones to Perry Como whose hit ‘(What did) Delaware’ got to No.3 in the U.K. charts in 1960. It’s a clever song lyric with a catchy tune which has fostered variants aplenty including marching songs. As we crossed into Delaware, the song was in my head and, briefly, we sang it together out loud, but I also remembered George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in the War of Independence. We two Brits crossed back over from Philadelphia but that’s all!

In 2009, on my only previous visit to Washington DC, I got briefly excited when I happened upon what I thought was Route 66. “I’ve driven on It!”, I thought, as this had been an ambition. I sang through the lyrics in my head and realised that Chicago to LA would not pass through Washington! Imagine my disappointment when I realised that Interstate 66 is not Route 66. It was only last year that we managed to do it properly – and it was worth it. The two roads are very different, needless to say.

 

 

 

The highlight of the day was the quite magnificent, serendipitous musical experience at the Plaza Azteca.

It was an extraordinary evening’s music. Check out, if you ever can, Steve Hoke and Dennis Thorne – individually or together. Steve’s self-made ‘instrument’ is, from the bottom, banjo, guitar, mandolin and violin/fiddle. Combined with various pedals, it is astonishing, especially the wow-wow on the fiddle! When chatting to the Lexington based lady on the next table (who entered conversation with me to ask about my Margarita!), she told me that he had taught her young daughter the guitar. It seems, like so many really talented musicians, that Steve can play almost anything with strings. His virtuosity shone like a beacon and when we talked together his gentleness was also very evident. The music ranged from self-penned banjo solos, through original country songs, via Eagles’ copies to Bluegrass classics. On the car radio today, our chosen station played one of last night’s numbers which made us sing along gleefully… we will do so again, I’m sure!

 

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