I told you a bit about Virginia last time but didn’t have the time or space to describe the full scope of what just might be our most historically significant state. It was not only an incubator of American independence and the cradle of American presidents — eight of them — but also the scene of ferocious, climactic battles of our great civil war.
Virginia ranks 35th among the 50 states in size, which surprises what my mother used to call the “living daylights” out of me. I guess I’ve squeezed among and around so many thousands of trucks while impatiently plying Interstate highways 66 and 81 to and through the Blue Ridge Mountains that Virginia seemed to go on forever.
Virginians themselves, with so many presidential homes and antebellum mansions, caverns and oystering coves, battlefields and “living museums,” wineries and microbreweries (my favorite), and the longest stretch of the Georgia-to-Maine Appalachian Trail footpath to enjoy any time they wish, never seem to be in much of a hurry.
They are a rather refined lot. While their accent has hints of what Carol’s father, a Georgian, called “southreen,” it’s subtle, gentle, without a trace of a twang until you hit the hollows close to West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Some Virginia men — mostly lawyers, of which there is an abundance — still wear white or seersucker suits and bow ties; and you’re quite likely to bump into slightly more rumpled professors, declaiming about Thomas Jefferson at one of the state’s 40 or so fine colleges and universities. Read the rest of this entry »