September 13, 2008

Why I love Lynchburg - it's not Roanoke

Too Many Books Bookstore
and Kim with "too many books"

Today our family took a much needed family outing to Roanoke. Roanoke reminds me of the city I work in, Washington, D.C., in that it is a nice place to visit—but I wouldn't want to live there. The surroundings are gorgeous, with beautiful mountains all around, but it is too cityish for me. The way the people drive, the attitudes of those who live there, the lack of parking spaces—it all adds up to the things I don't like about cities.

But on the other hand....

We went to Roanoke to take our son to the Roanoke Transportation Museum. This museum is built near the Norfolk & Southern Railroads and there are a ton of trains in the museum. There are steam engines, diesel trains, and electric trains aplenty. There are trains in all sizes from the relatively small to the super huge. They even have the engine that was dubbed "Big Boy" because of its immense size.

Making David's cherry soda

After we left the museum we headed for an area of Roanoke that has been restored to its 1930s heyday glory. It's a simple single city block restoration, but it has a wonderful collection of shops there and even a wonderful old restored theater. One of the shops was the delightful "Too Many Books" used book store. They had a ton of books (hence the name of the store, I guess) and the mix of books was eclectic and delightful. We found way too many books there that we ended up purchasing and taking home. Kim got quite a few books to use for our son's homeschool civics class plus a few that she wanted to read for herself. I came away with a two-volume set Political Writings During the Founding Era 1760–1805 and a unique book dealing with the War Between the States. Creative Minds in Desperate Times by Webb Garrison is a collection of "the Civil War's most sensational schemes and plots." It looks fascinating and I can't wait to dive into it.

We then walked down the street (after depositing our new books in the trunk of our car) to Pop's Ice Cream & Soda Shop. This is a for-real early 1900s soda shop, with soda jerks and all. It was outstanding! In fact, if all we had done today was visit Too Many Books and Pop's we would have felt the day's outing was very successful and enjoyable. Kim ordered a watermelon soda pop; David ordered a cherry soda pop; and I ordered a licorice soda pop. They were all outstanding, as were the sundaes and the shakes that we also ordered.

Roanoke Weiner Stand cook

We then headed over to one of our favorite restaurants in Roanoke. Just around the corner from the Roanoke open air market is a hundred-year old hotdog store called Roanoke Weiner Stand. It sounds like a small hotdog stand such as would be on the side of the road in Washington, D.C., but it is actually a brick & mortar shop with the most amazing hotdogs ever—and for great prices as well.

So we had a great day and enjoyed some good food and some much needed time together as a family. But we were very glad to return to Lynchburg because Lynchburg is a nice place to visit and a fantastic place to live.

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