Monday, April 3, 2017

Those Who Wander

...often find interesting people and places.

We took a wander on Saturday after delivering that pedal car and a set of glassware to their new owners. It was a chilly, damp day, but perfect for a drive through the countryside. We chose to travel north on Route 14 to the little town of Elizabeth, WV. It has been some years since we've been there and I remembered a thrift shop, a little restaurant with great pies and a pretty small town on the banks of the Little Kanawha River.

 The drive along 14 is always beautiful, in any season. This is rural, farming country. Few industries or job opportunities here but for those who want to farm, the wide river bottoms offer ample space--but farmland here is seldom for sale. I think Wirt Countians are happy to stay where they are, surrounded by hills and water and far from cities and noise.

Elizabeth, we found, has changed a good bit since our last visit. The biggest change is that the downtown area had a major fire so the quaint old buildings I remembered were gone, razed to the ground. This was one place that was for sale, this bare site in the middle of town.

The thrift shop I'd wanted to visit had been in the old building so it was gone too. The two diners I remembered were closed, and instead of pie I had to satisfy myself with pizza. Not a great substitute.

The town still offers plenty to see. Like the old hotel on the banks of the river,

and the museum (also closed when we were there) next door.

The hotel seems to be in the process of renovation, and I hope that one day it will be open for visitors.

Beautiful old homes line the streets; the house that held the funeral home once owned by the family of a friend is also for sale, as the company that bought them out ended up closing down the business.

On our way back down Route 14 we stopped to take photos of an old building that I was once told was a dance hall, built by a local wealthy oil-and-gas man for his daughters.

The house, apparently, was across the road from the dance hall, but all that is left is the steps and a man made of old exhaust pipes and mufflers to guard the entrance.

The small community of Palestine seems to be slowly dying out. I remember an elderly man, the one who told me about the dance hall, who had a junk shop and auto repair business here, but now it is all closed.

Not far away was a small old home with its swinging bridge across the creek still in good repair.

As we left Palestine we passed what must have been the general store, but long since closed. It is sad to see these places dwindling away when once they were thriving and full of busy people. Times change. I suppose, and people follow the two-lanes out to bigger and better roads and places, but I have to wonder if they left the best behind.

More of our trip in my next post.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

Bbj said...

Have been reading some of your older blogs
My heart breaks when I read the ones about your wonderful son-he did so much in such a short time! Born same year as my son! What a young man he was!!

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