Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Cumberworth's Come to Visit

Our longtime friends Adam and Shana Cumberworth came to visit us in Lexington this past week. It was so fun to share our small town life with them after visiting them in Chicago in October.

On Wednesday afternoon, we went to walk around the historic parts of W&L and VMI campuses. Unfortunately, the Cumberworth's brought Chicago weather (a very windy cold front) and Lee Chapel was closed because it was New Year's Eve. We still had a good time though. One cool thing was that a huge tree right next to Lee Chapel had fallen in the morning's heavy winds and we got to see the damage. Luckily, it didn't hurt the historic chapel, but it did tear up the iron railing of an outdoor walkway and staircase.

We took them on a short tour of W&L including R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church, the Lee House (for the university president), the Lee-Jackson House, the Colonnade (including the echo), and Lee Chapel (at least the outside). After that, we stopped by VMI but by then it had become extremely windy and cold, so we only quickly ran around the back of the barracks to see the Civil War cannonballs still lodged from the Union attack. Then we showed them Southern Virginia University and took them on our favorite scenic drive circle through Rockbridge County with stops over the James River and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On Thursday, we went to Natural Bridge for our first time. It was absolutely beautiful and we can thank the previous day's cold front. The wind was completely gone, but the low temperatures had frozen parts of the creek, creating an idyllic setting. What's more, because it was still quite cold, we had the place nearly all to ourselves.

Natural Bridge is a geological formation in which Cedar Creek has carved out a gorge in the mountainous limestone terrain, forming an arch 215 ft high with a span of 90 ft. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. A young George Washington surveyed the area and he carved his initials about 20 feet up the wall of the bridge. Thomas Jefferson once owned the Natural Bridge and built a two-room log cabin for use as a retreat.

The Natural Bridge is at the beginning of the Cedar Creek Nature Trail, a mile walk with with various interesting stops along the way that ends at Lace Falls where Cedar Creek sprays 50 feet down over the rocks. It was Lucy's first real encounter with really cold temperatures and she was quite a trouper for the first hour, but just when we hit the end of the trail, she had reached her limit. Ashley and I think her hands were hurting from being too cold (as her gloves were not very thick). She cried most of the way back, but we still had lots of fun.

After Natural Bridge, we stopped by Foamhenge (or try this better website), a full-size replica of Stonehenge made entirely out of styrofoam. Now it sounds really tacky, and it is, but it is also really cool. We got there a little before dusk and the lighting was great for pictures.

It was fun to have them here to visit for a few days. It is great to see that even though our lives have taken us down different paths and separated us by distances, we still get to see each other often.

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