Jimmy Stewart was Lynnie’s favorite actor. The movie Shenandoah, starring Jimmy Stewart, came out in 1965, which was also the year we got together. So as today Tofu and I crossed the Blue Ridge mountains, and came into the Shenandoah valley, I thought “Lynnie would love to see this. The golden trees, the gorgeous farm land, she would love to see.
Today started out rainy and cold as we left our lovely room at Motel 6.
We went cross country heading toward Appomattox and the end of the war. Some of the roads we were on today had just enough room two cars to pass; no shoulder…Yikes! But Saturday traffic was far less challenging. At one intersection I saw this house for sale.
It’s across the street from a broken down abandoned post office. Anyway You would think there might be at least a few signs pointing The was to the National Monument. After 3 hours of driving, I was seriously lost when I came upon a college.
He campus was all but empty. But I spotted two young preppy looking guys and begged for help. They gave me some directions. Also they told me there are about a thousand students and they are all males. It reminded me that a few miles back I had seen a huge school called Fort Union Military Academy. Anyway I asked the boys where the girls were. They assured me there were girls at another school close by. On I went to Appomattox.
He rain gave away, the skies were cloudy but the highway was beautiful. I was on a major highway and I didn’t see a sign announcing the Battlefield, until it was a mile away.
Finally we got there. First we saw where Grant’s headquarters were located. At the top of this knoll.
After a final desperate battle, Lee sent word of surrender to Grant’s headquarters. Grant wrote a terse note to be sent to the Secretary of War.
Between Grant’s headquarters and Lee’s, was the small town of Appomattox Court House sitting on high ground. We now go North to Lee’s headquarters.
It was more lightly wooded than it is now. From the woods Lee could see the Appomattox Courthouse. He traveled to the town to negotiate the terms of surrender with Grant. But before we get to the town, let me share this road sign on the way.
The McLean House is where Lee and Grant met.
After negotiations were completed Lee got on his horse, Traveler, and rode toward his Army.
Tofu and I headed out toward the Blue Ridge mountains. Such beautiful country.
After a lot of winding around, we descended into the Valley. We stopped at the visitor center outside Buena Vista (Boon-ah Vista). After getting some help with directions, I asked “Is there something I must see in Boona Vista before leaving?” She said I must see Southern Virginia University.
It began as a fancy hotel when coal was king. But the local vein wore out too soon and the economic boom went bust. Now it is a university.
After that we went a few more miles to Lexington, Virginia, which is where we are spending the night, before heading north up the Shenandoah Valley. Almost 700,000 lives lost in the Civil War, not counting the wounded and maimed. Such a tragedy, such a sad and terrible thing. We continue to feel the repercussions today both positive and negative. But I’m changing course. I’ll skip Gettysburg and Harper’s Ferry and Bull Run this time. Uncle! Tofu and I are headed to Niagara Falls.
“Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you…”
3 thoughts on “Oh Shenandoah”
Such beautiful country and gorgeous buildings! Wish I had seen more of it when I grew up near there. Family not in to sightseeing or exploring. Have been to Niagara and it is impressive!!
I get that you are tired of the Civil War. Harper’s Ferry is a lot more than Civil War. Civil Rights movement and more. Very interesting and very beautiful place.
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We watched “Shenandoah” tonight. In 1965 when it came out, I had only been in a movie theater once: a Saturday matinee of “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” at the Whiteside. I had been invited by a friend and begged my mother to let me go. She did. I went. I left after only 10 minutes–all my Baptist guilt about being in a theater made me throw up. I never saw Shenandoah in 1965 or ever until tonight. I can see why Lynnie loved it and why the Shenandoah Valley would be so special to both of you. Prayers as you make your way north to Niagara Falls.
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