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10/12/2013: Day 10: Sky Meadows State Park and Front Royal on a rainy Saturday
We spent most of the day driving rainy pastoral byways, with nice stops in Sky Meadows State Park for an unexpected Fall Farm Festival, and arriving for the annual Festival of Leaves in Front Royal.
On waking Saturday morning after the Bethesda/Glen Echo dance at David and Jonathan's, I sat and sipped my coffee and watched the ducks out the kitchen window.
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Preparing to psych up for a run, Jonathan and the dog discuss who wuvs who more.
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So as Jonathan runs through the forest and down to the river I take the opportunity to make French Toast with very fresh eggs and a local loaf in a real country kitchen. Okay, they designed this house, and the modern kitchen is great. I could feel that the counters were set up for tall guys.
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Wending down the drizzly road. As usual, I opt for the more scenic direct roads. The leaves seem to be going straight from green to brown so far on this trip.
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As the morning wears on, it seems like just another day of driving in fog and drizzle, but...
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... only in such conditions does one get to see how clouds deal with the hills.
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Because all the national parks are closed for the foreseeable future, I found a tiny state park arguably on our way. As we arrived, we learned that they were having a Fall Farm Festival this weekend.
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At Sky Meadows State Park Fall Farm Festival, we see a woman walking her log the old fashioned way.
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There was supposed to be porch music. But the porch was quite damp from blowing drizzle, so they set up in the corner of the flea market barn.
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The blacksmithing demonstration was at the far corner of the premises, and not well marked. But I had to go find it. The member of the local blacksmith's guild on duty this day knew how to form his metal, but was neither a storyteller nor a showman. I was disappointed. But the ACME label scrawled on the anvil amused me, in a Wile E. Coyote sort of way.
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Meanwhile, Karen spent time discussing herbal preparations with the hoop skirted reenactors in the low ceilinged log house.
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As we drove onward, I spotted this and told Karen to stop...
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I appreciate roadside attractions of any scope. The more absurd the better. This is how not to transport a tree in a Chevy truck.
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The "Hoe Ravelers"?Karen handed a bystander my backup camera as I was watching the blacksmith at the Fall Farm Festival in rainy Sky Meadows State Park. This well-meaner posed them so she could see the sign. The proper name of the group is Dr. Banjo and the Tuckahoe Travelers.
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But Blue Ridge leaves have meager color, so far this year. And the four blocks of the festival was basically rained out as well as missing the usual crowds for the National Park.
We arrived a couple of hours before it was supposed to end, and caught the last of the chilled and dejected vendors packing up.
We figured that this is a good place to leave some tourist dollars.
We arrived in Front Royal, VA to find the main street blocked by another festival. It was only a quarter to four on Saturday, but they were well in progress of shutting it down because of the rain. I felt sorry for the presenters, in a former Sunshine Artist Guild (http://www.sunshineartist.com/) member sort of way. This annual street fair covered four blocks of downtown, and probably cost each vendor a goodly penny to get a booth.But the promoters cannot be held responsible for the weather.
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Those who hadn't already packed up were in the process. But a metal-grunge band was loudly playing in the town center gazebo with several fans keeping vigil.
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Also sadly, this Festival of Leaves had few colorful leaves to recommend it.
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Ah, yes. Another reminder that we are in The South. The Warren County museum celebrating the four year existence of the Confederacy. And rifles. At almost 4:00 we didn't go in.
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I appreciate architectural embellishments in town squares.
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I was trying to get a selfie showing the Days Inn logo that is obscured by my head. After three tries, I dried off the camera and quit trying.Note the greenish hue of the mercury light between us, compared with the warmer tone of the CF bulb in the lobby. The camera took its light balance cue from the sky.
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The southern end of Front Royal is not the most evocative place to walk. However, the few blocks to find a restaurant seemed a good way to stretch our legs.
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So we dined at the South Street Grille, which for all its retro decor had a diverse menu. We had liver and onions. Yum!
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Returning to our motel (the yellow sign ahead) after a shopping trip into a strip mall for various items. I got some glue to fix Karen's sandals at KMart, Karen got some new shoes on clearance at Shoe Show, and we grabbed a couple of grocery items at Kroger.
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Next: Day 11: Starting the Blue Ridge Parkway

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