Greetings from the Road: VA to PA to NJ

Cow and House Virginia-LO-RES

As the saying goes, Virginia is for Lovers (it’s beautiful and so GREEN). But, Virginia is also for cows — and for smokers. One of tobacco’s last strongholds, it’s a state that still designates sections for “Smoking” in their restaurants.

Such a pity we had to drive through it so quickly. The rolling hills, manicured farmland and patchwork landscape exuded a tranquilizing effect. You couldn’t help but pull over to the side of the road, get out of the car, gaze and fantasize.

For instance, the town of Buchanan, in close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, easily caught our fancy:

Buchanan Virginia 1-lo res

A charming, sleepy little town bifurcated by the James River:

Bridge Virginia-lo res

Buchanan Virginia 2-lo res

Sitting in the front seat of our car, laptop open, I was able to go online by hitching onto the city’s internet server. This old town is wired!

J.C. strolled to the middle of an old suspension footbridge to get a better look at the river. Along with Austin, northern New Mexico and Memphis, we have added Virginia to our list of places worthy of further explorations.

Suspension Bridge Virginia-lo res

Here’s an eerie sight we frequently came across in VA — three crosses on a hill (mimicking Mount Calvary):

3 Crosses Virginia-lo res

As for Pennsylvania, we saw the popular three-crosses motif there, too.


It seemed as if the entire state of Pennsylvania (at least, from Harrisburg to Allentown) was farmland. Just fields upon fields of wheat and corn swaying in the breeze beneath blue skies and billowy clouds.

At one point, our drive took us within minutes of Gettysburg, where, if we weren’t pressed for time, I would have loved to revisit.

On a family trip to Gettysburg as a kid, I remember watching my mother, a history buff, standing, awestruck, before the vast grassy field, presumably, envisioning the bloody Civil War battle that had been fought there — while having to endure my sister’s and my complaints of how bored we were…

Sorry, Mom.

Landscape Penn 1-lo res

I may have been bored at fourteen years old, but certainly not now.

Landscape Penn 2-lo resBefore we knew it, we were pulling into Allentown (it’s impossible not to think of Billy Joel’s song when driving through here). Allentown is right over the New Jersey border. Minutes later, we found ourselves driving on Rte. 78.

When I called my brother’s house, intending to surprise them, my sister-in-law answered the phone. I told her which road we were on and she told me that we were about a half an hour from their house.

“Why don’t you stop by?” she said.

We took her up on it. What a happy feeling I had, seeing my brother’s family, and knowing that I wouldn’t have to wait six months to a year before I’d get to see them again.

As it happened, the N.Y. Yankees were playing the Minnesota Twins that night in Yankee Stadium. My brother predicted there would be terrible traffic into New York that evening. No arm twisting was necessary to get us to spend the night.

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One Response to “Greetings from the Road: VA to PA to NJ”

  1. adam Says:

    the “old suspension bridge” is the “Swingin’ Bridge” that’s my home town and i miss it very much i’m currently stationed overseas

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