Monday, December 3, 2012

Small towns

On this trip, I have to stop in several small towns when it gets dark. Some of those places are so isolated and boring that I don’t even mention them. Like Mount Airy, North Carolina. That was the town where Andy Griffith was born, so there is a road with his name and even a museum of memorabilia. But nothing else ever happened there. For me, it was too much rurality. 

Before that, I ended in Charlottesville, Virginia, after tossing a coin at the end of Skyline Drive. That place has a perfect balance between rural landscapes and city facilities. The University of Virginia is there and I always love what colleges do to the city plan. Open spaces, plenty of walking friendly miles and just enough commerce.

I also visited Monticello, the iconic house of Thomas Jefferson that appears in the nickel coin. The place is certainly a peaceful spot on Earth, and Jefferson made the best of it by architecting and designing his own home. You can tell he may have done better with a second chance but is admirable taking into account this was just a hobby. He inherited this land and bought much more acres directly from the crown of England, including the place where the Natural Bridge is located.

It’s also remarkable how many slaves lived in Monticello. Only two were granted freedom, and that was because they were sons of Jefferson himself. That may sound standard for the times, but this comes from the man who printed the phrase “all man are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. 

History, where it actually exists, is certainly enlightening.

Even three miles from Monticello, the Court Square is so beautiful, simple and peaceful that just sitting down on a bench is a relaxing experience. I’ve never seen the light falling as it does in Virginia. There are places that have a peaceful atmosphere that invites thoughts, and this small town has it. The little boulevard on Main Street will give you that dining and walk experience, not as hectic as a city but not as dull as a town. Jefferson knew it better, and that is why he’s still resting on his back at this place.  

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