Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blue Ridge Tunnel

I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about this place. The internet doesn't provide any clear direction on how to get there, so that's what I can offer. Completed in 1856, it was an engineering marvel in its day and still is considering it was dug without dynamite. (wiki)

To get to the Waynesboro entrance, park alongside 250 at the train bridge overpass between Rockfish Gap and Waynesboro. (We parked just beyond the guardrail on the Waynesboro side. It seems a little sketchy but there was another car there when we left.) There is a dirt road next to the overpass that leads up toward the tunnel. It's on the Waynesboro side of the bridge on the southern side of the road. It quickly leads up to the tracks. Cross there and then pick up the trail on the other side. Follow it until you get to the tunnel. About a 100 feet from the entrance you'll feel cold air.
We didn't bring flashlights. That's an adventure for another day.

This masonic symbol festoons a drainage culvert along the dirt road just off 250.

The other end of the tunnel is simpler to access. From Waynesboro, head back over the mountain on 250. Take a right on 6 toward Afton. Take a right on Afton Depot Lane before the tracks. Pass the old train station on the left, now an attorney's office. Take the road to the end where there's a spot to park. Follow the dirt road/path to the other end of the tunnel.

This side of the tunnel is hewed granite, whereas the other has the stonework. With all the recent rain, standing water filled the entrance.

Seeing this historic site is definitely worth the quarter mile hike to each entrance. More history and what is planned for the tunnel in the future.

Here's a post with pictures by a better prepared, flashlight toting visitor.

Rick's BBQ

Waynesboro is what Charlottesville might have ended up like if it didn't have a University. There's old factories and a downtown commercial district with more than a couple vacancies. As we drove through town today the uniformed cadets of Fishburne were drilling on their field. Church was letting out.

A google search of Waynesboro barbecue turned up Kukri's which was closed for Sunday and Peck's which closed years ago. Fortunately, in searching the town for something homegrown and open, we happened upon Rick's on Broad Street downtown. This oasis of food made Waynesboro look a little more like Casablanca.

The owner was incredibly friendly and helpful in helping us map out our adventure to the blue ridge tunnel. The BBQ was North Carolina style with a sweet sauce. A smoker was going in the parking lot. For the rest of the summer they'll be set up on Saturdays in Nellysford and Sundays in Waynesboro. Try it at least once.

Catering available.
Waynesboro, VA

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saucer Magnolia

Magnolia x soulangianaThis spring greeter is near the intersection of 12th Street and Wertland.

Calvino Cafe

Calvino Cafe joins the likes of the downtown Mudhouse and Shenandoah Joe's as good places to get a cup of coffee and read. Para is a close runner-up to these three places, but it's a little claustrophobic. I haven't yet tried Java Java under its new management, but like C-ville coffee, the space can't really be described as cozy.

Calvino Cafe is a perfect size for a coffeeshop. It has outdoor seating. It is conveniently located within the Main Street Market complex. There's parking if you need it. I wish they offered more in the way of pastries, Viz. croissants and scones. They do offer panini and other breakfast and lunch items. The food looked and smelled great. I only tried a cappuccino - superb. The staff was very friendly.

Run by the people behind Orzo, it's been open for a few months now. I am certainly going to add it to my weekend coffeeshop rotation.

408 W Main St
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 293-5696

Mon - Sat: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Check out other C-ville coffeeshops.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Charlottesville Cherry Tree

Prunus x yedoensis 'ivensii'

A couple weeping white flowering trees have caught my eye the last few weeks. Along with the daffodils and a few other trees and shrubs I hope to show later, spring is certainly here. The two flowering trees hang over JPA in the triangle of land bordered by University, JPA, and the train tracks. I'm not sure of the name of that tract, perhaps George Rogers Clark statue park.

I think it is an Ivensii cultivar of the Yoshino cherry tree, one version of what makes DC a tourist attraction in early April. There are a few other Yoshinos around town, but I walk by these two every day.

Here's a close-up of the flowers.