Saturday, May 16, 2015

More Winchester

More Winchester
This is one of the handsome, historic houses in downtown, right on the Mall walking area.  It's no longer a private residence, but just knowing it was around during the Civil War shows it has seen a lot of action and makes it special.  It's built from blocks of limestone, as are numerous houses around town.

Since I was in Winchester to get background for an article for a magazine I occasionally write for, I had a full schedule provided by the very nice Downtown Manager, Jennifer.  In the photo above, I'm peeking from a slanted window that's part of a quirky building at the children's Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.  It's a great place for kids to spend a couple hours having fun and learning in the process.  It has three floors packed with hands-on activities.  Even the parents will enjoy the visit.
We popped into George Washington's Office Museum and learned a lot about his early years spent in Winchester as Commander of the Militia and his part in helping build nearby Fort Loudoun.  This was his office from Sept 1755 to Dec 1756. Even though the museum is small, it's packed with interesting historical facts and artifacts as well.  There's even a few strands of George's very own hair that was cut in March 1797.  I learned a lot and enjoyed my visit.

Next, we had big burgers and crispy fries at the 50/50 Tap House Restaurant, courtesy of the oh-so friendly owner Jason.  He just opened his spacious restaurant a few months ago and its doing very well.  He's obviously worked very hard and its so nice to see his efforts being rewarded.  They have a whopping 50 different kinds of hamburgers to choose from - and the meat is ground fresh daily using short ribs, brisket, and chuck.  Makes your mouth water, doesn't it!

Our next stop was Bright Box Theater, where we joined about 60 or so in the audience to listen to the bluegrass music of a group called Springfield Exit.  They could really tickle those strings - and the lead fellow had a good voice too.  It was a casual evening in what might be called an intimate space.  They had us tapping our feet and clapping our hands during their performance.  It was good entertainment.

My last stop of the day was to take a Ghost Walk with Jean and J.P. of Ghost Tours of Old Town Winchester.  They were kind enough to give me a private tour, complete with history of the town and stories of various "spirits."  Although we started in the light (at 8:15pm), it got dark quickly and by the time we got to the Civil War cemetery, it was totally dark.  I don't get spooked easily, since as a Christian, I know God is stronger than anything and He will protect me - so no spirits bothered me, but it was interesting learning about the local "haunts."  We walked around town and Jean regaled me with many stories.  She and J.P. were very kind and I enjoyed getting to know them.

Last, but not least, is the wonderful hotel we were treated to.  The George Washington Hotel is right downtown, which makes it super-convenient.  The top photo shows the original outer façade of the hotel that has now been brought indoors and the second photo is the elegant Grecian pool at the hotel.  The hotel was opened in 1924 and was very popular for about 50 years and then had to close.  It became a Home for mentally challenged adults for 18 years and then sat empty and desolate for 11 more years.  Then, a local couple bought it for $650,000 and began renovation.  It's not likely they imagined that it would cost $30 million to bring it up to its present elegant stature.  It opened in 2008 and its doing very well.  There are numerous original elements in the building and lots of interesting memorabilia scattered about.  The rooms are comfortable and elegant.  We were so pleased with our stay there.  Its warm and friendly and I'd stay there again in a heartbeat.

"Thank you, Lord, for these wonderful opportunities and for all the nice people we met along the way."  God is so good!!

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