Easton (N.H.).

Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia online

. (page 1 of 11)
Online LibraryEaston (N.H.)Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia → online text (page 1 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



^^Hm^^^K\ fl 1 Lu





-1 n!' dL v>

4 * *




^©ii^^fes §f 1 i^tiepe



WesleFi^ Rspfelt Gap®lii^a


North Georgia



GenH Pass. Agent,




Traffic Manager,



C. G. CRAWFORD, Printer and Stationer, 49 and 51 Parl< Place.
1 884




JoJma Eoplrin's Univ. Xjj[}).

Virginia Midland Railway.


^HE hope of every American child is to behold with his own eyes the

wonders of the capital of his country, which he has so often seen pictured,

and the dream of every aspiring American youth is to figure as a leader,

\!^JF Y however humble, in that great building of white marble, whose mighty

dome towers in his imagination thrice as high as it does in reality.


the political heart of the nation, to which all the streams of travel tend, and to which
all hearts turn, lies immediately upon the northern border of \^irginia. To this city —
already great and beautiful, but destined to be greater and more beautiful than was
Rome in its prime (if the Republic holds together, as all good men pray it may) —
come all the currents of the national life, a tide of vast magnitude, which yearly
increases in volume as the country grows in population and the attractions of the
capital multiply in number and variety. Of the fifty millions who now inhabit the
United States, and of the hundred millions who will owe allegiance to the starr\' flag
ere the century is complete, how many annually visit the capital, how many are
fortunate enough to see it once in their life-time ? The computation could not easily
be made, but the number in both cases must be verj^ great. Nor would it be easy to
forecast the destiny of the imperial city, or to call up in a vision its magnificence a
hundred, two hundred years hence. What will it be, if in God's providence the
Republic should last a thousand years, and Washington remain the capital ? It is
safe to say that the sun never shone upon such a city, and that the inflamed fancy
alike of prophets and poets would be put to shame by its grandeur.

Enough to know that our seat of government, apart from its political attractions,
contains, even now, so much that is of interest in architecture and antiquities, such
art collections and such storehouses of knowledge in its museums and its Patent
Office as to compete almost on even terms with the great centres of commerce all


combined. The actual population of Washington is not above two hundred thou-
sand ; but, like the human heart which it typifies, all the blood of the country, sooner
or latter, runs through it, and everybody is at one time or another a resident. The
ebb and flow of transient visitors and temporary inhabitants is so enormou'", that
railways alone can give prompt ingress and egress to the tide, and these railways, by
the very facilities they furnish, but provoke a still greater volume of travel. Do you
want to find a particular man on the street ? Stand where you are and he will pass
by after awhile. So, if you want to see anybody, you have only to go to Washing-
ton and wait a day or two ; he will be sure to turn up. It is worth your while to
visit the city, if only to be surprised by the sudden appearance of the very last person
in the world that you ever expected to see.


T ] NTIL a very recent period the Washington branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Rail-
^ road constituted the great aorta of the arterial system of the United States,
into which the streams of travel from all parts of the country. North, South, East
and West, poured, and through which they were again distributed to the several
points from which they originally came ; and although the functions of a common
conduit for so many hundreds, if not thousands, of tributaries, is now shared by
another railway, the great volume of passenger travel is still confined to this short,
but most important, stem of the Baltimore & Ohio road. The natural prolongation
southward of this aortal link, answering somewhat to the right iliac artery of the
human system, is found in the Virginia Midland Railway, which traverses the oldest
and one of the greatest of States from north to south, beginning at Alexandria and
ending at Danville. Of the many competing routes for trade and travel from the
two great sections of the country, the Virginia Midland offers facilities and advan-
tages which it may justly claim as peculiarly its own, and in which no other road can
hope now or hereafter to obtain more than an imperfect share. In the first place, it
connects immediately with the twin systems of railways which pour their united
streams into the national capital. In the second place, it affords to these streams a
channel of distribution throughout the South and Southwest, which, alike for its
directness and its geographical advantages, cannot be surpassed, if, indeed, it can be
equalled. Thirdly, for the tourist, the invalid, the artist, the student of history, the
man of business and the intending settler, it offers a route on which the monotony of
coast travel is simply impossible — a route full of natural beauty, ever changing but
never wearying in its variety ; a route through corn and wheat fields, through pas-
tures and beside mountains, over famous fields of battle, in sight of historic home-
steads, through healthful upland villages, seats of learning and manufacturing cities ;
and, lastly, owing to its midland position, it gives to the traveler, of whatever charac-
ter, health-seeker or pleasure-hunter, a choice, to the right hand or the left, as his
fancy or his need may dictate, of the whole wide range of resorts, seaside, inland and
mountain, for which the Old Dominion has long been, and will long continue to be,


Over this Midland route we purpose taking the reader, halting at each locality
of note only long enough to mark its chief attractions, and leaving the traveler free
to stay as many days or weeks as he may find leisure or inclination so to do, assured
that he will be pleased with all and charmed by most of the places to which we will
introduce him.

Washington and its fascinations definitely set aside for a future and more
extended visit, the Summer tourist, casting " one longing, lingering look " behind at
the proud dome of the Capitol, finds himself upon the Long Bridge, with the yellow
portico of Arlington House on his right, peeping from the wooded hilltops beyond
Georgetown. Here lived the Custises and the Lees. Here lie 11,276 Federal dead,
of whom 4,077 are unknown even by name. It is the largest Federal cemetery in
Virginia, with a single exception — that at Fredericksburg. So much of the estate as
is not occupied by graves is given over to freedmen, who are herded here in a large


QEVEN miles south of Washington is Alexandria, once a port of much importance
^ and destined to be so again, when the natural growth of its powerful neighbor
shall absorb it, as Georgetown has already been absorbed. The habit is to decry
Alexandria as a city that has seen its best days ; but its shipping, its mercantile and
manufacturing interests are larger than its detractors would have one believe, and its
society is so conspicuous for refinement as to extort praise from its worst enemies.
The wonder is that it is not more sought after as a home by those who tire of the
fashion and frivolity of the national capital. Upon the breezy and lofty heights a
mile or two out of town, and under the shadow of the Episcopal Theological Semi-
nar)" and its attendant High School, the heat-worn citizen of Washington would find
precisely the restoratives needed to build up nightly a frame exhausted by the tropic
temperature and burthens of the day. It is simply a delightful spot, which ought to
be, and in time will be, crowded with country villas and ornate cottages. The popu-
lation of Alexandria is put down at 1 5,000 ; and its growth, if not rapid, is secure.
Objects of interest, either in the present or past history of the country, are met with
almost everywhere. Steam breweries, machine shops and iron foundries, an admi-
rably equipped market house, sash factories and planing mills, a cotton factory, steam
flour mills, a new commercial exchange, a handsome granite custom house and post-
office, numerous stores and commission houses, furniture manufactories, extensive
fish-packing establishments, banks, churches, hotels and stately private dwellings tell
of the present. Braddock's headquarters in 1755, previous to the fatal march upon
Du Quesne ; Washington's pew in Christ Church, as it was when he occupied it ; the
old Masons' Hall, to which Washington belonged ; the house in which Ellsworth, the
commander of the New York Zouaves, was killed by Jackson, the hotel-keeper, for
tearing down the Confederate flag at the beginning of the late war ; the residence of
Canning, the British minister, and many other places of historical note are pointed
out. Especially pleasing are the homes of the better class of citizens ; manv of them


of antique architectural patterns ; others in lar^e grounds, shaded by ancestral trees
and ornamented with rare flowers — ev'idences of comfort, wealth and elegance.
Mount Vernon, eight or nine miles away, is a particular attraction, the drive thither
over an excellent road being greatly preferred by many to the stereotype route by the
steamer from Washington. At Alexandria are various railroads leading to other
points ; the Washington, Ohio and Western (incomplete) to the County of Loudon, one
of the largest and most fertile in the State ; the Alexandria and Fredericksburg
extending to Fredericksburg and thence to Richmond ; while the numerous steam-
boats plying on the river furnish a pleasant mode of communication with Baltimore,
Old Point, Fortress Monroe, Norfolk, etc. The depth of water at the wharves in
Alexandria is forty-five feet, and in the Potomac River, down to the Chesapeake Bay,
a depth of twenty-seven feet, easily admits the passage of ships of the largest ton-
nage. A canal extending from Alexandria to Cumberland, Md., supplies the city
with the well-known coals of that section. A large Federal cemetery containing 3,526
graves is just outside the city, is prettily laid out, kept with scrupulous care, and is a
favorite walk at all periods of the year. During the war the Seminary and High
School buildings were used as hospitals, having at one time as many as 3,000
patients. Of the seventy-six national cemeteries, where are buried 308,331 Federal
dead and 2 1 ,66 1 Confederate prisoners of war, seventeen are in the State of Virginia,
in which are buried 68,823 Federal soldiers and sailors, 30,888 of whom are known,
and 37,935 cannot be identified.


T 17 ERE it fully manured and inhabited by industrious people, heaven and earth
* never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation than Virginia."
So wrote Captain John Smith in 1607. General Washington, in a letter to Sir John
Sinclair, called Virginia, " the garden of America ; " Daniel Webster, Horace Greeley
and Commodore Maury all bear testimony to the excellence of its climate and the
fertility of its soil. It is, indeed, "a fruitful and delightsome land," albeit men and
manure are in a measure still wanting. Given the men, the manure will soon follow,
and to supply the deficiency of the former, the Virginia Midland is actively exerting
itself to facilitate immigration. Traversing the Piedmon!: Section, so highly praised
by Washington and Webster, the Midland road naturally connects itself with the
Danville system, which courses along the foot-hills of North and South Carolina, far
into Georgia, and now presents an unbroken Piedmont Line from the Potomac River
to the industrial metropolis of the South, Atlanta.

Following the southwesterly trend of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Virginia
Midland road, after it leaves Alexandria, shows an almost continuous ascent until it
reaches the memorable battle-field of Manassas. The farming lands of Fairfax
County, well adapted to cereals and fruits, will attract the eye of the traveler, and the
CO mty seat, a few miles to the right of Fairfax station, is honored as the repository
of Washington's will. Pohick Church, which Washington helped to build and in


w'lich he worshipped, and Gunston Hall, the residence of George Mason, author of
the Bill of Rights, which antedated the Declaration of Independence and embodied
many of its best features, are in Fairfax County.

Clifton, a small village, twenty-two miles from Alexandria and twelve miles from
Bull Run battle-field, was named by a Northern settler after Clifton Springs, N. Y., a
very popular resort in that section of the country. A saw mill and spoke factory
testify to the industry of the inhabitants of Clifton, and a comfortable hotel and
boarding-houses attract yearly many Summer boarders from Northern cities. Clifton
was a depot of supplies during the war, of which the surrounding earthworks give
some trace. As an evidence of the excellent soil for vineyard purposes, grapes raised
in this vicinty commanded at a home market fifteen cents a pound. The fine dairy
farm of Judge Fullerton, of N. Y., is worthy of special notice.


"DULL RUN divides Fairfax and Prince William Counties. On this stream was
fought the indecisive action of July i8th, 1861, which preceded the first battle
of Manassas in the same vicinity on Sunday, July 21st, 1861. The result is familiar
to all. Subsequently, in August, 1862, was fought the second battle of Manassas,
which lasted three or four days, and with the results of which the reader is also
familiar. The battle-fields, five or six miles from the Village of Manassas, are easily
reached by conveyances or on horseback.

The village itself, a purely farming one, without manufactures, bears witness to
the heart that is in the surrounding country. It has grown up since the war, is
wholly the outbirth of peace and agriculture, has 700 inhabitants, five churches, a
hotel of wide repute, ten or more mercantile stores, a flourishing newspaper, and
dwelling-houses finished in a style and kept with a neatness that one does not often
see outside the North. The flagging of red sand-stone, drawn from neighboring
quarries, will be sure to impress the stranger. This stone, excellent in quality and
very abundant, is found near the railroad, on the lands of Mrs. F. L. Smith, of
Alexandria, and others, and offers inducements for investors, being equal to the
Connecticut sand-stone for building purposes.

Manassas being upon a table land, a fine view of the surrounding country may
be had from the streets of the village ; but from the earthworks, pared down by the
hand of time, which mark the outlines of the entrenched camp built by the Con-
federates, a very wide landscape is seen. The houses occupied by Beauregard and
Johnston as headquarters are still standing. The scene, from its mere extent, is most
impressive. To the west and north are the dark ranges of the Bull' Run Mountains ;
on the east and south stretches a vast plain, gently undulating to the remote horizon.
Except when the trains are in motion, a solemn hush, a brooding spirit of repose,
rests on the scene. The very stillness seems to have within it the repining sound of
a low wind in a lone cemetery. One does not find it hard to realize that the storm of
war once reveled here and passed on, leaving, it is to be hoped, eternal peace. A


double consecration, in which majestic nature and history no less majestic, each have
borne an equal part, appears to hallow the place, and the tourist, returning in the
twilight from the ruined bastions to his hotel, deeply impressed with all he has seen,
carries with him a holy sadness which he will long remember.


A T Manassas Junction, a branch railroad, sixty-two miles in length, extends west-
wardly through the Counties of Prince William, Fauquier and Warren to Stras-
burg in Shenandoah County. It is the most interesting division of the Midland road,
at once pastoral and picturesque — so much so, that the scenery at Thoroughfare Gap,
Riverton, and other points along the line have been deemed worthy of illustration.
Thoroughfare Gap is eleven miles from Manassas, and its gloomy passes, overhung
by wooded cliffs, present a strong contrast to the smiling landscapes which are seen
on either side of it. If the approach is pleasing, the country west of the gap is more
pleasing still. Fauquier County is famous for its rich farms and fine cattle ; it is,
indeed, the home par excellence of Virginia graziers east of the Blue Ridge. The
traveler who has time to stop may here study two different styles of farming — the
intensive and the extensive — to better advantage, perhaps, than anywhere else in the
State. Nor will he be at a loss for a stopping place. There is- a succession of clean
and prosperous villages on both sides of the Bull Run Mountains — Gainesville, Hay-
market, Thoroughfare, Broad Run, Plains, Salem (now called Marshall), Rectortown,
Delaplaine, Markham, Linden, Happy Creek, etc. — which will tempt him to lie over
for a day or two, merely to enjoy existence in this favored locality. Nay more, the
farm-houses along the whole line, but especially between the Bull Run and Blue
Ridge Mountains, are in summer time so many boarding-houses, filled with the pick
of people from the seaboard cities of Virginia, Washington and Baltimore. You
cannot go amiss, in town or country, for delightful shade, plenteous grass, flowers in
profusion, the best water in the world, charming society, fresh butter, milk, eggs,
fruit, vegetables ; fine horses, abundant vehicles, rides and drives without end, are to
be had almost anywhere and in every direction. A little way from the Plains station
is one of the sweetest of Virginia villages, Middleburg, in the southern part of the
magnificent County of Loudon, the home in old days of many distinguished families,
whose historic houses are well worth visiting at this day. Among them is Oak Hill,
the noble residence of President Monroe, now owned by a wealthy gentleman of New
York, whose dairy farm is the pride of the whole section.

Scarcely less picturesque than the scenery at Thoroughfare Gap is that which,
beginning at Linden, the last station m Fauquier County, extends for miles in the
direction of Front Royal. Here the passage of the Blue Ridge is effected by bold
curves and grades that sweep around and along the flanks and shoulders of the
mountains, shaggy with rocks and pines, or draped with vines and running plants



and watered ■with clear streams that leap from the hills and hurriedly make their way
down to the plains below. There are points which are wild, desolate and lonely, as
in the midst of the Hartz Mountains, but, owing to the interference of loftier sum-
mits near the line of road, none from which any very commanding view may be
obtained. The country east of the Blue Ridge, besides producing almost everything
grown in this part of the State, abounds in minerals — marble, jasper and porphyry
being most prominent.


'T^O what the county seat of Warren County owes its peculiar name, no one seems
to know. It is a thriving town of 1,200 souls, delightfully placed in as level
and lovely a valley as the eye often rests upon, and in the midst of bold but not
lofty mountains, which teem with agricultural wealth to their very summits. Two
newspapers, hotels, stores, churches, etc., attest the prosperity and rapid growth of
the place since the war. The dark, rich soil around the town, the wheat fields laden
with grain and the meadows deep with grass, sufficiently account for the growth of
Front Royal, apart from the mechanical industries which lie mostly outside of the
town proper. But upon the dark red hillside yonder is, perhaps, the most famous
vineyard and cellar in the State. Who has not heard of Marcus Buck's wine and
brandy .> Their fame has extended over the United States. In developing this
important branch of industry, and in carrying it on to perfection, Mr. Buck incurred
liabilities that compelled him to part with his valuable establishment, which now in
other hands abundantly requites them for their outlay.

Three miles or less from Front Royal is Allen's Cave, which in former years
had an enviable reputation, vying, as many thought, in beauty and magnificence with
Weyer's Cave. It is about 1,200 feet long, and contains incrustations and concre-
tions in one of its grottoes, called "Sarah's Saloon," which present a gorgeous
appearance. Its reputation, and that of Weyer's Cave as well, have been in a meas-
ure eclipsed by the Luray Caverns, of which more hereafter.

There is a good hotel at Front Royal, and the fishing in the neighboring waters
attracts yearly many anglers from the North. In the midst of a tranquility which
recalls the village life in England, there are evidences of the activity of a growing
town, with a bright future before it. The neat dwellings, the busy stores and the
increasing number of houses occupied by artisans and mechanics give unmistakable
signs of health and prosperity.

In 1862 a severe engagement took place near this town between Generals N. P.
Banks and Stonewall Jackson. But the place is noted as the rallying point, if not
the heart, of " Mosby's Confederacy." Not a few were the encounters between the
guerilla chief and his foes, within and without the town.



/^N the right of the Virginia Midland Road, going South, is a tier of counties which
extends along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, from the vicinity of Front
Royal to within a few miles of Charlottesville, in the County of Albemarle. At no
point are they much less than fifteen miles from available railway stations. They are
the Counties of Rappahannock, Madison and Greene. Being thus isolated, they are
comparatively unknown, but in respect of soil, climate, scenery, mineral and agricul-
tural wealth, they compare favorably with the most celebrated portions of the Com-
monwealth. Indeed, they constitute a terra incognita well worth exploring by the
artist, the invalid, the sportsman, the lover of herds and flocks, the seeker after
mines, ores, water power and manufacturing sites. So lofty, broken, wild and beau-
tiful are the summits of the Blue Ridge, as seen from the cosy villages and quiet
highways of Rappahannock, that the county has justly won the name of the Switzer-
land of Virginia. In Madison and Greene the scenery, if not so wild, is still lovely ;
and in the former county there is a valley so sweet, so secluded and so fertile as fully
to justify comparison with the vale of happiness in which Rasselas dwelt. To those
who not only do not mind horseback exercise or traveling by private conveyance or
stage, but really enjoy it, and to those also who are never so much charmed as, when
away from the beaten track of travel, they encounter good fare and clean beds, we
heartily commend these interior and little known counties of Virginia. Madison and
Greene are best reached from Gordonsville, the former junction of the Midland with
the Chesapeake and Ohio Road ; Rappahannock is accessible by stage from the town
of Culpeper ; but the route from Front Royal by private conveyance is over a shorter
and better road, and through a more interesting country ; the grazing farms of many
large herdsmen and the scenery combining their attractions to fascinate and detain
the traveler. Board at hotels, some of which are surprisingly good, and at private
houses both in the country and in the quaint, pretty villages, xvidc^ be had on reasona-
ble terms, and the traveler will oftentimes find delightful society among the Summer
boarders from the cities of Maryland and Virginia.

At Sperryville, in Rappahannock County, there is an extensive tannery, with
capacity to tan 30,000 sides of leather per annum. All along the sides of the Blue
Ridge are immense forests of chestnut oak, enough to supply any given amount of
the very best bark for tanneries of any capacity, at a cost of not more than four or
five dollars per cord, at the place of business. This section is well adapted to the
growth of grapes, apples and other fruits, of which a considerable amount is now

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryEaston (N.H.)Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia → online text (page 1 of 11)