Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 2, 1974 · Page 93
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 93

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 2, 1974
Page 93
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Page 93 article text (OCR)

Virginia Panorama Colonial Williamslmrjr. earefiillv restored to its early image, is a living paae of American historv. "Heaven and earth," wrote John Smith, "never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation. Here are hills, plains, valleys, rivers and brooks, all running most pleasantly into a faire bay encompassed about with fruitful and delightsome land." He was talking about Virginia. Change "habitation" to "vacation" and you have one of the m a n y reasons hundreds of thousands of families will decide this summer to visit the Old Dominion. Smith was the squat and stormy captain who put the first permanent English- speaking colony in the New World together at Jamestown in Tidewater Virginia, and kept it from flying apart against the overwhelming odds of starvation, Indian attack, disease, and sagging spirit. The pertinence of Smith and what he did strikes the Virginia visitor with exceptional clarity. Jamestown's ruined church tower, the foundations-of the first settlers' homes and statehouse, archaeological exhibits, reconstructions of the first palisade and the nation's first industry, a glass works: here, among these things, under the pragmatic, adaptable, courageous Smith, was our true beginning. »· From the modern traveler's viewpoint, Jamestown is the logical starting point for retracing the nation's early, exciting steps, and a sample of h o w , V i r g i n i a spreads the whole panoply before him. The tracks of America are here in all their diversity, from first landing to how a s t r o n a u t s are trained, a scant 20-minute d r i v e away, at Newport News. Yet, do not think that Virginia is a vast museum fo be approached in hushed tones. Virginians like to have fun, even where history is concerned, and if they seem concerned with yesterday it could be because much of Virginia's past was delightful. Consider Williamsburg. Where is there a pleasanter city today? Where does architecture fall easier on the eye? Where is the food . better, the beer colder, the wine tangier, than in the taverns of this 18th century city that looks just as it did when Patrick Henry rose in its capitol to defy George III? The colonial saga begun by Jamestown and matured by Williamsburg ends at Yorktown, a few miles down a dogwood-lined parkway, completing Virginia's unparalleled Historic Triangle. But there are many other Virginia sites where the pre- Revolutionary influence is strong: Fredericksburg and Alexandria and Winchester, and such James River plantations as Berkeley, site of the nation's first Thanksgiving; Shirley, surviving from the 1720's with its original furnishings and still in the same family hands, and Westover, elegant home of that Renaissance man of Virginia's golden age, William Byrd II. » Each era of Virginia's development: the pioneering 1600's, the lustily urbane 1700's, the tragic Civil War of the 1860's, has left its mark, and the sudden juxtaposition can be startling. A less-than half hour's drive across the 17-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel whisks him from the sleepy, marshy world of the Eastern Shore to the grooving resort capital of Virginia Beach, whose glittering strand is lined beyond- the horizon by posh beachfront hotels. Eastern Virginia ends with neat precision along the line of its greatest population. Draw the boundary south from Washington, D. C., through the hustle of Northern Virginia with its looping freeways and spectacular architecture coexisting with George Washington's Mt. Vernon and placid horse-and-hounds country; down 1-95 to Fredericksburg, with its maior historic sites from both Colonial and Civil War days; on to Richmond, where Patrick Henry made his "Liberty or Death" speech and the Confederates made their capital; and then southeast to Norfolk, now soaring to prominence as a cruise port, the state's largest city. West of the line, Virginia opens up. The landscape rolls for 100 miles in thinly- settled, undulating farmland and forest, until it reaches the Blue Ridge. Piedmont Virginia ends at the Blue Ridge, mountains bathed in perpetual haze that traverse the entire state from north to southwest. And if popularity as shown by attendance figures is your yardstick, then the Blue Ridge is Virginia's number- one attraction. Because here is S h e n a n d o a h N a t i o n a l Park, with that amazing h i g h w a y in the sky, the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive. The drive connects near Waynesboro with the equally scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, which extends for another 220 miles to the North Carolina line. Both drive and parkway overlook the fabled Shenandoah Valley, and once there you know you have passed into a different kind of Virginia. Awesome caverns, like Luray; neat and pleasant towns like Staunton, where you can see Woodrow Wilson's birthplace; and resorts like the incomparable Homestead (the South's ski pioneer) make the valley a nationally important travel destination. Beyond Roanoke is a surprise-filled region of enormous mountains that tumble . to Cumberland Gap, the ancient passage of pioneers into Kentucky. Here where the frontier spirit is still close, Southwest Virginia -the Virginia Highlands -- offers the traveler a cultural bonus of the front rank, the renowned Barter Theater. Over at Big Stone Gap there is drama, too: an outdoor dramatization of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine." From east to west the visi- tor now has seen 440 miles of Virginia, a span of geography as varied as any in the United States. Last year 27 !6 million vacationers came to Virginia, according to the Virginia State Travel Service, which distributes free information on any Virginia subject from its home at 911 East Broad Street, Richmond 23219. Colonial WiUiamsburg. ago. Hours away. Here in Colonial Williamsburg, all the good times of the past are only a few hours away. And as a guest at Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, or The Motor House, you'll be adjacent to the Historic Area itself, so you can park your car and stroll through young America-or travel our refreshingly car-free streets by horse and carriage or bicycle. And when you're ready to go home renewed and refreshed, you can relax and enjoy the trip. Because here in the eighteenth century, long ago is never far away--whether you're coming, or going. WII.LIAMSHVRG, VIRGINIA To reserve accommodations adjacent to the Historic Area, call Williamsburg (804) 229-1700. Or write P.O. Drawer CN, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. // 's easy to fly to Colonial Williamsburg. Visitors mayfly Allegheny, National, Piedmont or United to Patrick Henry International Airport in nearby Newport News and complete their trip by limousine. Regular Greyhound bus service is also available directly to Williamsburg. ^CHARLESTON.;, W-.VA. 25ro

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