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Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Day in Ashland

Hi Blog.  Today is Saturday, December 1st.  This will be our first full day to get out and be tourists.  On Friday, we took care of the grocery shopping and a trip to Target.  We are now the proud parents of a 3 foot tall lighted Christmas tree. We also picked up a bunch of mail, including our brand new electric blanket. I never owned an electric blanket before. We woke up this morning in such a nice warm cocoon, I cannot believe we never thought of getting one before now. Trust me - you need one of these.  Go out and get yourself one now!  Okay, back to blog.

As I mentioned, we recently got a new little Christmas Tree, so we pulled out the Christmas box from the storage area.  When we opened the box, we realized that we still had Matt, Weina, William's and their dog Bubu's Christmas Stockings. How was Santa going to fill their stockings if we had them? So, this meant a trip to the Ashland Post Office.  Only problem, it was 11:20 a.m. and the post office closed at 12:00 noon.  We had planned to ride our bikes into Ashland today. It was five miles to the post office.  Fastest five miles we ever biked. We arrived with 8 minutes to spare!

Last night, we logged into Beer Advocate to check out brew pubs and restaurants in the Ashland area.  Iron Horse Restaurant got some good reviews.  So, after the frantic rush to the post office, we walked our bikes into town to find the Iron Horse.  It was located on Railroad Avenue.  Aptly named because rail lines run down the middle of the street.  Here is a CSX freight train coming into town.

We found the Iron Horse and both enjoyed the Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale.  This is Blue Moon's version of an abbey style dubbel.  They did a really good job.  I would recommend this beer.  However, if you want a really good winter ale, try the Smutty Nose Snow Day - outstanding. As we waited for our meals, another freight train came by.

After lunch, we walked around downtown Ashland.  Here is Dave getting some advice from a local resident. He told us to check out the Ashland Museum, but first stop and get a latte from the Ashland Coffee Shop.

We found the little history museum and learned that they rented a caboose because Ashland's history is so wrapped up with the trains that move along the rails through the center of town. Two older women volunteers staffed the caboose and museum, and we enjoyed our discussions with them about Ashland and its history.  Here is Kathy enjoying a latte from the Ashland Coffee Shop on the back of the caboose.

Ashland is a major destination for bicyclists.  The U.S. Bike Route 76 runs through Ashland, so loads of bikers from Richmond come north to Ashland, have a latte and then head back.  In order to get back to our campground, we had to cross over I-95 on an overpass.  It is amazing to think you could just jump on this highway and drive all the way from Maine to Florida without ever stopping. The roar of the traffic made the overpass vibrate. As the trucks passed under, you could feel the whoosh of air. It is hard to believe looking at this photo that these vehicles are going over 70 miles per hour.

Tomorrow we are heading to Williamsburg for the Grand Illumination!

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