It is Sunday night at Peaks of Otter Lodge, a very quiet and beautiful place just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is no internet or blackberry service here; sort of like being on a very long plane flight without being able to communicate, only with more leg room!
We found ourselves here after spending yesterday and last night at the wedding of our VP for Security and Facilitation, Chris Bidwell, and his very lovely bride Kristen. The wedding took place in Salem and the reception was in Roanoke at the Hotel Roanoke. After living in the area for more than three decades and working for a Virginia governor, I had seen many of the cities in the Commonwealth but not Roanoke. It is a very nice town, with a well-preserved downtown. The Hotel Roanoke is beautiful, we stayed there. Roanoke also boasts an excellent airport with a first rate director, Jacque Schuck but I didn’t have time to knock on her door.
On Sunday, we enjoyed the downtown, attended Mass at their beautiful church and had a great brunch at the Horizon Bar + Grill. Then we drove to Bedford and visited the National D-Day Memorial. Having been to Normandy a couple of years ago, the memorial was quite meaningfulg. And the setting, surrounded by the Blue Ridge, is hard to beat. You’ve got to see it.
We ended our day at this beautiful lodge where I write this. I’ll have to save it and send tomorrow when we drive into an area with service. On the way home we plan to stop at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s getaway, near Lynchburg before heading home. I’ve never been there, but my former boss – former Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles – has always spoken highly of it and has taken an interest in its restoration.
I’m biased, but I think the Commonwealth of Virginia has as much diverse natural and architectural beauty as any state I can think of. Come visit some time, fly into Jacque’s airport, get a car and enjoy this wonderful area.