The photo above of my daughter was taken earlier this week as she was on her way to the school bus stop. As you cam see, we've had some snow recently. Yesterday, we received another dusting to the extent that Amber used some of her birthday money to buy a round plastic sled in anticipation of the snow staying on the ground. Unfortunately, the best laid plans don't always work out. Even though it snowed again this morning, and the temperature hovered around freezing all day, the snow already on the ground decided not to stick around. Mom wasn't about to let Amber slide down a muddy hill, so our little one will have to wait before trying out her new sled. The forecast is calling for snow tonight and later on in the week, so hopefully she won't have to wait long.
So instead of sledding, we took a Sunday drive along Highway 50 west into Virginia's horse country. We stopped to have lunch in a town called Middleburg, founded in 1787 and boasting a population of under 700 souls. Like many scenic American small towns, Middleburg has found a nice niche for itself. In Taiwan, this would mean converting its storefronts into snack stands and souvenir shops. In the U.S. (at least in the former colonies), it means lining the main street with antique stores, art galleries and British-style taverns. Both are equally fake, but walking along Washington Street (aka Highway 50) with snowflakes blowing all around is an experience that can never be replicated in Taiwan. The number of real-estate agencies in Middleburg suggests that many people are buying homes in the area in either a bid to escape D.C.s spreading suburbanization (though unintentionally encouraging that very process), or perhaps as retirement homes.
Amber poses with a friend looking on
Amber had her first taste of licorice, purchased from a gourmet grocery store. She pronounced it "delicious", but her mother disagreed, describing it as "plastic candy".
No American small town would be complete without a water tower
At one point, we took a walk through Sharon Cemetery. Amber enjoyed reading some of the gravestones, but my Taiwanese wife was clearly uncomfortable being there, to the point of feeling "creeped out", an expression that my daughter found highly amusing.
On a cold and sometimes snowy Super Bowl Sunday, traffic was understandably light
On our way back to Falls Church, we stopped at another small town along Highway 50, Aldie. Aldie is less-developed as a tourist attraction than Middleburg, but it does boast some history, being the site of a few skirmishes during the Civil War.
The most-noted historical attraction is the Aldie Mill Historic District, centered around a mill built in 1804. The visitors center was closed for the season, but Amber and I could still take a walk around the buildings and the surrounding area. Mom stayed in the car: 33°F (0.6°C) still takes some getting used to.