McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania

By marcucci | September 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Seems like a sleepy, quiet little town in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, although the Fulton County newspaper for the day I was there was reporting on an armed robbery that had just occurred.

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# Frankfurt, Kentucky

By admin | November 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Frankfurt is an easy drive west and north of Lexington, Kentucky. The easiest way to get there from downtown Lexington is to go west on Main Street until it turns into Leestown and take it about 20 miles.

The drive itself is beautiful. You will pass the Federal Prison on the right hand side about 3 miles outside of the downtown. This federal prison is interesting in that it was the site of one of the first prisons that treated narcotic addiction as a disease and not a moral failing.

Once you get closer to Frankfurt, you will see signs directing you to the state capitol complex which includes the (new) state capitol building and the governor’s mansionand also to the historic downtown. Do try to see both.

I did the capitol first. As you come into town, you make a left and travel across the Kentucky river and onto Capitol drive. The building itself is quite impressive as you drive up the hill.

I was there on a Saturday and the grounds were deserted. The capitol was closed because of construction, but after a few minutes of pleasantries with the guard at the side entrance of the building, I was told I could scamper about inside side for ten minutes. Built in the 1920’s the inside of the building is beautiful with marble hallways and staircases and old wood doorframes.

If you head back across the Kentucky river you will hit the historic downtown a couple of blocks away. I headed for the main building of the Kentucky Historical Society on Main Street (the other two buildings controlled by the Society are the Arsenal and the ???).

The Society was sponsoring a short, one-man museum play about the Vietnam War when I was there rather late on a Saturday afternoon. Afterwards, I had a nice chat with the theatre director about all things Kentucky.

I headed across the street to a used bookstore and had a sparkling fruit drink at the ???? bookstore before heading up the hill past the Arsenal to the Kentucky cemetery to visit the grave of Daniel Boone and his wife. His remains were moved there from Missouri some years after his death and his cliffside plot overlooks a stunning view of the Kentucky River and the new state capitol.

On my way back to Lexington, I stopped to visit the campus of the historically black Kentucky State University. The buildings seemed fairly shabby and rundown.

Topics: Kentucky towns | 1 Comment »

#12 Santa Fe, New Mexico

By admin | November 29, 2009 at 7:00 pm

This is a way cool town. From somebody from the East Coast, it is easy to see why it gets so much press.

I drove north on I-25, which is the main north-south highway in Albuquerque and leads directly into Santa Fe. It is about a 70 mile drive and very few drivers were paying any attention to the speed limit.

The scenery is “high desert” and not particularly spectacular to look at in New Mexico terms, but was pretty interesting if this is your first visit to New Mexico and you are from the East Coast.

I didn’t have much time and no map or GPS, so I just got off at one of the highway exits that seemed to be in the middle of town and followed the signs to the campus of St. John’s University.

The guy I sat next to on the plane flight out had recommened the restaurant Maria’s and luckily I happened to see it on the way to visit the campus.

It is a friendly, family type of place with a small bar. The waitress would not this me order a taco, saying “You can get tacos anywhere.” She recommended a pulled pork dish with green chilis that was delicious but almost too spicy.

I was struck by how friendly the other patrons were in the restaurant, with several people making eye contact and saying hello as they walked by my table to get to theirs. That does not happen in Philadelphia.

After my dinner, I decided to drive back to Albuquerque has it was getting dark and I did not want to be on the roads at night. New Mexico has one of the highest drunk driving rates in the country and I was mindful of the number and speed of the cars on the drive up.

The second time I was here

Got off on Saint Francis exit

no place to park

The Shed Restaurant on the plaza
restrooms B-

Georgia O’Keeffe museum on Johnson st. $20 to get in
bathrooms – B+

Couldn’t find the capitol


lots of plague

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#10 Keyser, West Virginia

By admin | November 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Keyser is an easy twenty mile drive down the two land highway Rte xxx off of I-64. It is just across the Potomac River from Maryland and sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It is surprisingly small at about 5,000 people (but seems much smaller). It looks a little dilapidated. I had only a few minutes so I found the small campus of Potomac Valley State College and walked the college green.

Topics: West Virginia Towns | 79 Comments »

#9 Marietta, Pennsylvania

By admin | November 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm

I drove north on Rte 441 off US 30 about three miles. Marietta is a Susquehanna River town in eastern Lancaster County. It is hard to tell if it is in decline or is in the process of hitting bottom and bouncing back. The town runs about a mile along the main drag and is 3 blocks deep. There are some big Victorians in the downtown historic district that are being rehabbed.

I had a good lunch at McCleary’s pub on Front Street. I got a drink and a pot of crab dip and garlic bread for $12. The service was good.

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#8 Moundsville, West Virginia

By admin | October 18, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Moundsville, West Virginia is an interesting town about 12 miles south of Wheeling, West Virginia.

Wup to Waynesburg, drive over on 21 to 250 north, grave creek mound on jefferson street, next to old Penitentiary, home via 2 north to 470 east to 70 east to 79 south. Athena people built about 0 AD. M??l county??

Topics: West Virginia Towns | 63 Comments »

#7 New Martinsville, West Virginia

By admin | October 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I seem to be on a little bit of a West Virgina kick here.

I was in the mood for a drive and was in Morgantown, West Virginia, so I took Route 7 out of Morgantown to the west. The day was clear and sunny and it is a beautifil winding drive, punctuated by small working natural gas wells. You can figure about an hour’s drive if you go slow enough to enjoy the scenery.

New Martinsville is an Ohio river town. The streets had a sleepy, time-left-behind feeling to them. A friend had recommended doing the buffett at the Quinet restaurant directly across the street from the courthouse.

After I had parked, it was clear from the fairly brisk foot traffic entering and leaving the courhouse that there was something happening inside of the courthouse.

It turns out that the buzz was emanating from the deed room. A quick count showed about fifteen deed extractors poring over large folio type books and scribbling furiously on yellow legal pads.

I tried to engage a few of them in conversation to find out exactly what they were looking for and who hired them, but although they were polite, it was clear that they were not here to chitchat.

The best I could manage was a minute or so with a grandmotherly type who said that there were many new gas field finds and there was a mad scramble on by “big money” to get control of the fields.

After I finished my visit to the deed room, I walked across the street to the Quinet restaurant. It has an all-you-can eat buffet for $10 that was surprisingly good and had a large selection of entrees.

Restrooms in the Courthouse: B
Restrooms in Quinet restaurant: B

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#6 West Logan, West Virginia

By admin | October 10, 2009 at 10:45 am

West Logan, West Virginia is n Logan country, down route 119 from Charleston, West Virginia, which is a major four lane highway and not as remote as you might think. You get off on route 10 (or go towards the signs for Chief Logan state park).

The park is free and is the site of the former Merril mountain mine. There is a nice little museum with interesting documentaries that cover the history of the Hatfield (West Virginia mountain people in Mingo county) and McCoy’s (Kentucky mountain people in Pike county) fight which started over a timber dispute.

The museum also has exhibits that explain the coal war of 1920 and the battle at Blair Mountain in Logan county which had 5,000 people on a side – miners with red bandannas around their necks (“rednecks”) versus the lawyers and doctors.

In the park I ended up chatting with a young woman from a coal-mining family who was from Logan county. She said that the old-time miners in her family were somewhat contemptuous of the inexperience and lack of “know-how” in many current day miners. Interesting perspective.

I went to dinner at the Parkland diner right at the mouth of the state park. Lots of locals, no tourists.

Restrooms at the museum in the state park: B+

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#5 – Stoverstown, Pennsylvania

By admin | October 3, 2009 at 8:31 am

This is a hamlet really just west of York, Pennsylvania, off Route 30 W (Lauck’s Road). I was visiting family there and decided to go over the locally famous healthfood store Sonnewald’s.

The owner of Sonnewalds (German for sunny woods) is a salt-of-the-earth type lady named Willa who will talk to you for half an hour without much prompting about her history (the store is on land that was part of her family’s farm), the store, and her plans for developing empty buildings on the mainstreet of Stoverstown into a restaurant and health center.

Topics: Pennsylvania Towns | 175 Comments »

#4 – Fremont, Ohio

By admin | September 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm

My mother is from Northwestern Ohio and I spent some time there as a child, but really did not get out and around much to see the local sights. I was driving on the Ohio turnpike and saw the signs at Exit 91 for the birthplace of Rutherford B. Hayes. Needing a break and hoping the house and museum were fairly close to the highway, I decided to stop.

It was worth it. Spiegel Grove, the name of the homestead, is about 4 miles from the turnpike. The directions given to me by the turnpike guy were wilding inaccurate, but once in town there are some scattered signs pointing the way.

The comfortably upper middle class house that President Hayes lived in is in pristine shape and contains many of the original furnishings. His presidential library and museum are a short walk across the lawn.

Since I got there late in the day, I only had about 15 minutes in the museum. I learned that he was a respected Union general and that he kept in touch with many of the men that fought under him.

Other than the Hayes site, there doesn’t appear to be much to see in Fremont and I found it somewhat shabby and rundown while driving back to the Ohio turnpike.

But, if you are driving in the area and have a few hours to spare, it is worth a stop.

Restrooms at the Hayes site: A-

Topics: Ohio Towns | 68 Comments »

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