Day 3: From Columbia, MD to Christianburg, VA
 318 miles; Steps*: 8,392 (B) 7,089 (R)
*
We’re committed to exercising while on the road and both wear pedometers to log our daily results. NOTE: Rorie wants everybody to know that, although Bart had more steps today, she worked out with weights this AM while he was sleeping. She believes this should count for 1,304 steps, giving her a total of 1 more step than Bart. (Apologies if you got multiple posts)

Heading South from Maryland, through West Virginia to Christianburg, VA

Before getting started today, we wanted to give a shout-out to the nice young woman who greeted and checked us in to our hotel near Ellicott City. She lives in the small town of Pasadena, MD. After learning about and signing on to the DSTA Tour, she gushed about an ice cream shop in her hometown – The Daily Scoop – and asked us to spotlight the place here. Even though we love it when folks speak with passion about their communities and awesome places there, we always check them out independently to see what others have to say. The Daily Scoop (http://bit.ly/11VboP7) is the real deal. It gets 4.5 out of 5 on the popular food review site Yelp. Here’s a representative review out of dozens: “Im in love with this place!! Love Love Love. Stopped here on the way home from a local park and had the taste for something sweet. This MAY BE the absolute best ice cream I’ve ever had outside of this childhood place I would go when we visited New York”. The next time we’re in the area The Daily Scoop will definitely get our business!

Ice Cream

New Market, MD: A Surprise Jewel in the Countryside

We knew we had a fairly long drive to get to our hotel in Southern VA and decided to make just one town our “spotlight” destination on the way: historic Harpers Ferry, WV. Well, that plan was short-lived. About 40 miles down the road toward HF, we saw a highway sign for “Historic New Market” and made a spontaneous decision to check the town (population 666) out. And, we’re so glad we did.

We came upon the New Market Town Hall after driving just a few miles down a country road.

New Market Town Hall

When we walked in, two very friendly women greeted us – Karen and Rita. Rorie explained to them that we were on the Discover Small Town America Tour and wanted to get some information about their community. Theses two townsfolk couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful. They looked around the office for a brochure and realized the “cupboards were bare”. Rita told us she had some extra pamphlets at her house and would make a quick trip home to get some more. Bart asked how far she had to go and she told him to jump in her truck for the quick trip there, which would allow her to show him her home – a converted historic Grange Hall.

Historic Grange

Wow. What a great house and what a great story Rita had to tell. She told Bart she moved to New Market from outside Baltimore over 20 years ago when, like us, she stumbled upon the town and fell in love with the place. Rita has an antiques and collectibles business (much of which is done online or at shows) and has never looked back. She’s also a member of the New Market Town Council. After driving Bart back to Town Hall, Rita invited Bart and Rorie to come see the inside of her house. It’s incredible – fabulous old wood floors and ceilings with a warm vintage look and feel! Plus, she recently installed dozens of solar panels on the roof of the old Grange Hall which she hopes pays big energy savings dividends next winter.

Grange Hall  interior

This is our new friend Rita…

Rita New Market

And this is from an email Rita sent us after our visit:

“Dear Bart & Rorie. What a pleasure to have met you. I feel that this was “God given”. There are a few of those moments in my life and this is one of them. What are the odds. That window of opportunity was as small as a pin hole. I’ve just looked over your website. Very exciting! Your website link will be sent to all my friends. I will make sure to check back and follow you wherever it takes you. I was delighted that you took the time to stop in at our humble home. The Old Grange is quite a great place to live. We enjoyed every day of the last 21 years here.”

We look forward to staying in touch with Rita down the road and in the months and years ahead.

Next stop: Harpers Ferry, W. VA. (population 286)

We took a step back in time as we experienced this beautiful “living” museum. The town, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers come together, has been the backdrop for remarkable events including the creation of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery and the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War.

Looking down on the Potomac

We loved the history, the restored 19th century buildings and Rorie’s favorite establishment, the Confectionary Shoppe. Here she discovered the history of her addiction – candy! We learned about the creation in the early 1800’s of the ancestors of some of her favorite sweets – marshmallows and chocolate. Now she understands the genesis of her beloved Peeps and any and all milk chocolate!

Candy

We set off from Harpers Ferry an set our sights on the day’s final stop: Christiansburg, VA (population 21,041). Christiansburg, county seat of Montgomery County, was the one-time home of American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician Davy Crockett. We arrived at our hotel at 6:30 and, after checking in, set off on a search for some good grub.

BBQ: Bring It On!



Our road trips are never complete until we find the best local BBQ joints and today was no exception. South Carolina transplants Marie and Jared, along with their friendly efficient staff, know how to do it right at their Due South Pit Cooked BBQ restaurant.

bbq sign

Smokey pulled pork, fall off the bone chicken and amazing home-made sides like crispy fried green tomatoes, crunchy hush puppies, thick baked beans, zippy taters and a sweet potato casserole that should be on the dessert menu. Yes, we tried them all and no we aren’t getting on the scale until we log another 10,000 steps on our pedometers.

This guy was looking down at us from above our booth but, no matter how long he stared, Rorie & Bart would not share their vittles.

Our dinner companion

Another day filled with unexpected surprises, amazing people devoted to their neighbors and towns, and a whole lot of history. Thanks for joining us on today’s journey.Tomorrow we’ll spend another day looking for more wonderful people doing great things in off-the-beaten path places. Stay tuned…

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