We opted to do a little sightseeing today rather than hitting a woods trail. Our destination was Harrisonburg, VA, located about 25 miles north of Staunton off I-81. One of our great pleasures when traveling around our great country is to get off the interstate highways and take to the back roads. This part of Virginia is farmland and absolutely beautiful.
Harrisonburg was settled in 1780. It is the county seat of Rockingham County and the home of James Madison University. The railroad runs through the community and it saw a couple battles during the Civil War. The American Volkssport Association offers a self-guided walking tour of the downtown area and James Madison University. We started our walk at the Visitor Center downtown.
|The Spring on the square|
The courthouse is located in the center of the town square and, like most courthouses, is not the original. Also located on the square at the corner of the courthouse, is the “community spring”. This was a real drawing point for residents as well as travelers in the 1800s. It appears water is still flowing from the spring.
|Homes along the walk|
One of the things we enjoy about walking tours of cities (old or new) is seeing the different styles of architecture, both in commercial buildings as well as homes. In Harrisonburg, like every other city, some structures are better maintained than others. I think it is fun to see what people have done with there homes—how they have landscaped the yards, furnished the porches, and their selection of paint and color schemes. Our walk today also took us through the old cemetery in town. This one was not particularly special like some we have seen.
|James Madison University|
The main feature of the town today is James Madison University. JMU began its life in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women, in 1924 became the State Teachers College, in 1938 Madison College, and finally in 1977 James Madison University. Men were allowed admittance in 1946. The campus is pretty spread out with the original buildings on one side of the interstate and the newer portion on the other. Access is via Duke Dog Alley—a tunnel which passes underneath I-81.
|There always someone so special they don't have to follow the rules.|
Also included in the walking tour was the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum. It was a great place for a rest by the pond. It was toward the end of the tour when we were tired and ready to get back to the car, lunch, and something ice cold to drink. However, it was a beautiful area and I wish I had had the energy and time to explore it more closely.
|Pond at Carrier Arboretum|
We will now turn our attention to getting ready to leave Virginia and head toward New York.