USA D6: Bye DC, hello the South
(Or should that be, ‘Sayowth’?)
Since we went to Arlington Cemetery yesterday we had less of a hurried start which was fortunate as that allowed us time to fetch breakfast and me to finish yesterday’s post. By around 10am we had checked out and were trundling down the street to the Budget depot.
So now we have wheels – and I never thought I’d say this, but (sigh) it’s a people mover. Not a big one though, the back seats fold down to provide our boot space which does provide good room for both our big bags which was the main priority.
Mike took the first driving stint and the good news is that we and the car survived the first day unscathed. Initially we just had to hop over the Potomac into Arlington again for the final feature we wanted to see from this area. The sodding closures didn’t make it easy as the car park was closed! We faffed around finding one and had to park a few minutes walk away (past a puking homeless man).
Anyway, this is the Marine Corps War Memorial.
Many of you will recognise that it’s based on the famous photograph of the (second) flag raising at Iwo Jima in 1945. You can see little Mike beside it so it’s a biggie and just really impressive to walk around.
My only gripe was that the flag was caught and couldn’t blow majestically!
Next was a drive south-west which should have only taken about an hour but thanks to road works took twice that. It was worth it though – Fredericksburg was a stop that Mike unearthed when looking into the area around where we’d be staying tonight and it was fantastic.
For starters, it has an amazing historic district with very picturesque 18th and 19th century homes and businesses. It has another layer of historical significance being home to one of the Civil War battlefields.
We got there in the nick of time to purchase a very improvised lunch and join a trolley tour which was really enjoyable, if not good for taking photos. The trolley driver and guide was great and it became apparent we had moved into ‘the South’ based on the accent, and sentences which would often begin with “well” and “now”.
Afterwards we had time to revisit a couple of battlefield-related areas of interest, the first being a cemetery for the Confederate Army soldiers.
And then this, the Sunken Road, a prominent geographical feature in the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg. The Telegraph Road, as it was known then, was at the foot of a large hill on which the Confederate Army had taken position. A stone wall along the slightly dipped road made it an ideal defensive position for infantry. The combined effect of their rifles and the artillery fire from the up on the hill, meant very bad news for the Union Army.
At the end of the Sunken Road is the Fredericksburg National Cemetery and here lie the Union Army soldiers. There were more than twice as many Union casualties than Confederate.
It was time to make a short trip west-ish to our stop for the night.
Near a small settlement called Port Royal, across the Rappahannock River, is the Belle Grove Plantation B&B, a very historic Southern mansion. It originates back to 1670 and along the way, it was the birthplace of the fourth President of the United States, James Madison.
I became aware of this place via another WordPress blog run by Michelle, one of the owners, who began to document their journey turning the property into a luxury B&B. Turns out it was basically on our way from Washington to where we were heading, North Carolina, and they were going to open before our trip.
Turns out I was the first person to use their website booking system so Michelle very kindly offered us an upgrade to their flagship suite. She is a Southern girl and her hospitality was wonderful. This stop is one of many things I’ll have to revisit in more depth later on as it is a fabulous place.
We went across the river to a restaurant where we had our first hint of Southern cuisine, and while it was delicious, we’ll have to keep up all our good walking practices to make it out of here with the same clothes size!
- Police officers seen on segways: 1
- % of population owning a stonking big pick-up truck: at least 10%
- Calories consumed at dinner: 500,000