Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Week in the Valley - New Market, VA

Our honeymoon was spent in New Market. When we told people that we were going there, the usual response was "Where is that?" And then we told people that it was in the Shenandoah Valley. Which apparently was not particularly helpful. :-)

Our home for the week was the Crossroads Inn in New Market, a Bed & Breakfast, where we stayed in the Blue Room.

Crossroads Inn in New Market, VA

Properly named, it is at the crossroads US 11 and US 211. Or to give it a more geographical location, the old Valley Pike off the New Market Gap. The New Market Gap is the historical reason for the town's existance, as it provides an entryway into the valley through the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east. We picked it because we wanted a home base in the Valley, and we wanted to stay in a small town. And it turned out the New Market Gap/US 211 led to the most convenient entryway into the Shenandoah National Park for us (see earlier posting).

New Market Gap from New Market Battlefield

We did spend considerable time going up and down the Valley going to Vineyards. But we also spent much time in the New Market area as well. This included whitewater canoeing on the Shenandoah River near Luray, and the town Fourth of July Parade and fireworks.

American Legion at New Market Fourth of July Parade

New Market Fire and Rescue at Fourth of July Parade

Flag lady at New Market Fourth of July Parade

The Civil War New Market Battlefield was right next to town, complete with museum staffed with very enthusiastic Virginia Military Institute cadets.

Cannon and ammunition cart at New Market

Picket fence at New Market battlefield

Disclaimer: I did not pick the town of New Market. I merely provided a list of several suitable towns in the Shenandoah Valley to my now wife, and she picked the town. And she did a very good job.

We also sampled several of the town restaurants, including Southern Kitchen (where we played Kenny Chesney "How Forever Feels" on the Jukebox. The steak was a bit too well done), The Congress Publik House (the tamarind pork was real good) and Jalesco (a surprisingly good mexican restaurant).

But the fun part about going to a honeymoon in a small town was the hospitality and attention we got. The B&B provided many good conversations over both breakfast and afternoon wine and cheese (especially when people figured out we were a honeymooning couple). Several coaches from the local college summer baseball league team were staying there as well as parents of the boys, which provided good conversation on the development of young men. People got used to seeing a young asian couple strolling down the street. The lady at the local chamber of commerce gushed over us when we stopped by. During the parade and the picnic we were regularly congratulated and wished best of luck for our marriage. Strangers said 'hello' and 'good morning' on the sidewalks. Very hospitable place. And a lot of this is probably the fact, they don't have very many pure tourists staying at the town, so they don't get so jaded. And we got a lot of attention wherever we went, more so then any high-end resort or hotel or cruise could have given. And it was a more enjoyable, less pressured time than any other we could have imagined.

During our time in the Valley, we frequently were asked by townspeople or winery owners where were we staying. And when we told them the Crossroads Inn, they immediately knew where we were staying, and who the owners were. Because, it turns out, the owner, and the person who was cooking and serving our breakfast, changing our sheets, lover of wines, had another identity. How many other newlyweds were served breakfast by the town mayor?

Mayor Larry Smith at New Market Fourth of July Parade

On July 5, all of us at breakfast expressed our delight at learning this during the parade the day before. One of life's little pleasures. And another memory for our honeymoon.
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