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Published: November 20th 2008
The day is cloudy and windy. It took us until noon to repack the truck and clean up the camper. We've spent a week in Virginia! Now, pulling the trailer, the truck is like a dream and Rich is very happily driving up and down the mountains. Around 2:00, as we were getting hungry, we saw a brown highway sign that said Appalachian Arts and Crafts. We thought it would be fun to look at the art and to break for lunch. We pulled into Clifton Forge, a pretty little town in the mountains. Alas, the Arts and Crafts store was closed because it's Sunday. The rest of the town looked closed up, too, but a few doors down, we saw a sign that said lunch. It was open until 3:00. "Heirlooms", the restaurant, was half antiques in the front and half restaurant in the back. There were only about seven tables and only one other group eating. Rich ordered homemade chili and Nancy ordered Alpine grill. Both were delicious. As we were finishing lunch, a little drama unfolded. A little old lady with a walker came in. The waitress told her, "We're closed." The owner said, "Good afternoon, Mrs. Spurlock."
She said, "I know I'm late, but I just want a little bite. I won't be long." "That's fine, Mrs. Spurlock," said the owner. "What would you like?" The waitress walked up to the owner, "We're leaving." "That's fine," he said. "I'll take care of her." Mrs. Spurlock said, "I'd like a salad and some hot tea, green tea if you have it." In the meantime, we finished our lunch and Nancy spied an interesting highchair near Mrs. Spurlock's table. She went over to look at it and they got to talking. She said she was 94 years old and still driving her own car. She retired from 43 years of teaching in 1979 and was proud that she still had all her own teeth! She said she'd never had a moment of pain. (She's so lucky!) She told us she had taught grades from kindergarten through seventh grade in Virginia and West Virginia. She had also directed the Glee Club and accompanied them on the piano. She played piano and organ for the church, too. She blessed us and gave Rich a flyer from her church. She said, "You know, this is such a nice man (referring to the
owner). On Sundays he gives a discount if you show him your church bulletin." She examined the highchair with us, and thought it was the cleverest thing and encouraged us to buy it. We did! On the sly, Rich also paid for Mrs. Spurlock's lunch.
As we left Clifton Forge, it began to spit snow. On the next mountain, there was a little dusting on the ground. We arrived close to Ronceverte, West Virginia at about 4:00, where Nancy's Aunt Liz and her husband, Jim Jeter, live. The route we had picked had a tunnel under the railroad that was only 9 feet tall. OOOPS! We couldn't go through there, so we had to back up a ways and turn around. Then we had to drive several miles around to get to the right road a different way. We went through White Sulpher Spring where the famous Greenbriar Hotel is located. We drove right by it. Originally, we had thought of leaving our camper in the fairgrounds near Lewisburg or at Organ Cave campground. Both were closed, so we decided to try
the one lane, twisty road up the mountain to their farm. It was not a problem at all. When we got to Maple Hill, there was a place across from their driveway near Jim's old barn that was just the right size for our camper and truck. We arrived just at cocktail hour and Nancy's cousin David walked down the driveway to greet us! It was a treat to have him staying there at the same time! Aunt Liz was delighted to see Rich again after almost thirty years. (Nancy had been to visit last summer with her sisters.) We enjoyed hot apple cider and rum, with shrimp cocktails by a toasty warm fire. Then we had a lovely dinner by lamplight in their dining room surrounded by antiques and old paintings. Liz's husband Jim and Rich had fun swapping tales. As we went out to our camper later on, it was spitting snow.
We slept in the total quiet of the mountaintop.
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