Saturday, March 31, 2012

Snapshots of Virginia

In the midst of our family visit to D.C., took a two-day trip to the western part of Virginia. A few impressions and assorted facts:

• Redbud trees blooming everywhere. Nature’s party dress. (see photos)

• Lots of U.S. Presidents born in Virginia—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Taylor, Tyler, Harrison, Wilson. In fact, more than in any other state.

• In the year 1800, Virginia had over 300,000 slaves, three times as many as any other state.

• The town of Lynchburg. Time to change its name?

• Elevation matters. Up on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 3,500 ft., the trees were still undressed for Winter.

• Advice to young men. “Marry an older woman.” That way when she turns 62, she’ll get you on the Blue Ridge Parkway for free after buying a lifetime Senior Discount $10 National Park Card. (Costs $15 a pop otherwise to just get on the road. What a deal!)

• Charlottesville. Hip, youthful, artsy, with an outdoor car-free European-style pedestrian mall, cool schools and surrounding hills.

• Monticello tour fascinating, varied and tasteful. Good treatment of the discrepancy between Jefferson’s eloquence and influence in the cause of freedom while owning slaves (and fathering children with one of them). But I couldn’t help but notice— not a word about Native Americans.

• The Declaration of Independence was in a code that no one has quite cracked yet. Jefferson wrote that we are all entitled to “Life, Liberty and the Purfuit of Happinefs.”

Wishing you all luck in your own Purfuit of Happinefs. It’s efsential to uf all.

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