Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit to Rockbridge County Virginia

Rockbridge County Virginia has a lot to offer, no matter what your style, taste or affinity to the South might be.  There is much to do here and in case you are planning a visit, here are some of the highlights.  Come anytime of year too.  It's not too hot generally (except this week) and the cold snaps never linger. It spans all four seasons well.  Just off I-81 in the west central part of Virginia, Lexington, VA anchors this lovely county.

1) Downtown
A visit to the historic downtown area is a must.  It's not very big so it won't take you long to walk around, do some window shopping, see the sights.

2) It's a College Town
The town is dominated by Virginia Military Institute to the north and Washington & Lee University to the south. The two schools offer stark contrasts to one another - W & L, a WASPY liberal arts school known for its huge endowment. And VMI, a private military school, where George Marshall went to school. The campuses are beautiful.  At 5 pm during the school year, the canon is fired at VMI from the parade grounds.

 (Washington & Lee University)


 (Robert E Lee Chapel - W & L)

3) Restaurants
Lexington is not known for its great restaurants but the selection has improved in recent years.  Here are some favorites:
Taps - in The Georges Hotel, a small, snazzy pub-like restaurant offering small plates.  Not a place to dine if you're a big eater.
Haywood's - Tap's sister, across the street with a piano bar.  The portions are a bit bigger here.  Cozy, can be loud if the music is playing.
The Southern Inn - an old stand-by with reliable good food, not gourmet, but good. The acoustics here are terrible so do not go with a big party.  The bar is always crowded.
Napa Thai - Not a lot of atmosphere but the food is good and reasonable. Very good Thai for a small town in Virginia.
The Palms - Good local hangout. Sandwiches, beer, burgers.

3) The Natural Bridge
Once owned by Thomas Jefferson, soon to be turned into a State Park. Definitely worth the visit.  It's a small walk from the Visitor's Center.

4) The Safari Park
An unknown gem here, many people don't even know it's here.  If you love animals you should go here, Virginia's only drive-thru safari. If you have an old truck you can drive through all the better.  This is a blast!  Drive your car/truck through the park like you are on a safari.  It's so much fun.  Don't feed the animals though and don't take your sports car.

5) Hull's Drive-In
This is a great spot but it now caters to the kids, so it's not the fun place it used to be.   When they start showing real movies again, I'll go back.  But if you love the cartoons and G-rated kid flicks or action movies, bring your car on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday night from later March to October and go to the drive-in. Please bring back movies that adults like!

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