Scenes from the South: Maryland and West Virginia

Not ours. I can only hope to one day road trip in a beauty such as this. Spotted in Thomas, WV.

All right, all right. So Maryland and West Virginia aren’t really “The South” as we know it from TV, what with its charming drawls and sprawling antebellum architecture. But it’s south of New York and besides, “Scenes from a Few of the Mid-Atlantic States” just doesn’t have the same sexy ring to it.

Anyway, Dan and I took a road trip to these two states back in August and because this year is LITERALLY FLYING PAST ME (I know that this is not just me. Everyone agrees that 2013 shall go down in history as the year that could not wait to be over. And yet, I’m having a super great year and I don’t really want it to be over. Odd-numbered years are sort of my jam), I am just now getting around to blogging about it. 

So here she blows! Photos and recommendations from our long weekend, two months ago. Enjoy.

^^ Tootsies on the dash and the open road. My nail polish looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. (Color is Jelly Apple by Essie.) ^^

^^ Arriving in historic Thomas, West Virginia. Most towns call themselves “historic” because they have no better claim to fame, but Thomas is, quite literally, historic – walking down the main (only!) street feels like stepping back in time. It was a coal mining boom town in the early 1900s, and while it’s a sleepy little place these days, the shops along East Avenue have been lovingly and carefully preserved. ^^

^^ Miners & Merchants Bank, the only bank in town. ^^

^^ We stayed at the Purple Fiddle Hostel & Guest House (again, the only one of its kind in town, which you’ll notice is a trend around those parts). Don’t you just love the giant red faces on those beautiful sunflowers? ^^

^^ Snacks at Tip Top Coffee Bar, which were almost painfully delicious. When we arrived in Thomas, we stopped first at the Purple Fiddle Cafe, where Dan was playing, figuring we could drop off his equipment and grab a coffee there. We asked for coffees at the counter and the girl goes, “You don’t want our coffee. Go to Tip Top, out the door and to your right, about 40 paces. They make the best coffee in town, like a real Brooklyn cafe.”
The reasons I loved that were twofold: one, because every store in town can be described by the number of paces to get there. And two, because it was literally the best coffee I’ve ever had outside of Paris. Far better than any Brooklyn cafe. ^^

^^ This gave me a throw-my-head-back, deep belly laugh. Who needs a glass when you can put the citrus right on the can? Heretofore referred to as, “West Virginia style.” ^^

^^ My cute guy doing his thing at the Purple Fiddle. In addition to seriously delicious sandwiches and a whole heap of craft beers, the cafe serves what they call “karma soup.” Anyone who’s hungry and doesn’t have money to eat can ask at the counter for a bowl of karma soup and it’s free, every time, no questions asked. Good karma, indeed. ^^

^^ Frederick, Maryland was all pretty town house after pretty town house. I loved this one especially for its crimson door and Mini Cooper (my fave!) parked out front. Every time I pass a place like this I think, I could live here. ^^

^^ One of the coolest things about Frederick was the abundance of murals gracing the sides of its buildings. This one actually startled me at first, when I turned a corner and came upon it. The painted man has “Mona Lisa eyes”: you know the ones, they watch you and move when you move. The white shapes behind him aren’t ghosts; they’re his wings. And if you haven’t read the Gabriel García Márquez story “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” you should just stop whatever you’re doing and go read it because it will break your heart in all the right ways. Go ahead, we’ll wait. ^^

We stayed overnight in Thomas because of Dan’s performance schedule there, but both Thomas and Frederick are perfect towns for lingering in for a few hours and then passing through. The shop owners keep regular hours and they all do only one thing, but they do that thing very well. Towns like these are small and simple and lovely, like a daydream you had on a cool, cloudy day, and it’s not easy to find this kind of America anymore.

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