Sunday, July 11, 2010

Star City

Roanoke is not my hometown, but is close to it. This is the town where my extended family calls home. My great-great grandfather called it home. My grandmother still calls it home. There have been many generations of my family in this little town. But until recently it was never my home. We regularly came here to visit family throughout my life. But I never got to know the town. I knew my way to grandparents' house, my uncle's, my aunt's, even my great-grandmother's house. But I was never the driver, and never in charge of my own itinerary here. And so I really and truly do not know my way around this town!
Today I set out in search of beauty, scenery, architecture, and inspiration. And to find my way around this town just a little bit better.
Roanoke is also known as Star City, or the Star of the South. Why? Because it has a big huge star up on a mountain, shining over the city. Until today I had never been up to it before!
 At night this star is lit up and can be seen for a great distance around the valley.

 Everything you need to know about the Star. Everything except the "why is there a Star on the mountain?" And my big question, who the heck is paying to power that thing??

The view of the Roanoke Valley.
 I love exploring quietly and at my own pace. You never know what you will find. I fell in love with this big white oak tree today. It is hundreds of years old and defying gravity with its oddly shaped base and roots. I love it!

 In my quests lately to find beauty and scenes of inspiration I've learned something about myself. I love water, particularly moving water. I can watch water move over the same spot for hours. There is something calming and hypnotic about it. This is my first major lesson learned from my new quest- I need water! I now know that a view of water, or even a simple fountain, brings me a moment of peace and joy.

 Another unexpected find today. It is hard to conceive of the year 2076, isn't it?

 The spot of most my reading and relaxation today. Also the inspiration for the column I wrote for Meridian Magazine that will run on Tuesday.
 After I was done on the mountain, I went down to the older historic part of Roanoke. I serendipitously discovered it today. I was thrilled to find a farmer's market, and lots of free spirited shops on the square. And more importantly, I discovered several great restaurants with patio seating. I enjoyed the company of my dog, a good book, and a fabulous meal, with a nice outdoor setting. Much to my surprise there was a lot of window art around the square. I loved the quote I found on this window!

I love historic town squares. This is another lesson learned for me. I enjoy being able to walk from shop to shop, look in windows, and explore hidden blocks. I think I would enjoy living in a neighborhood like this one.

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