Monday, September 15, 2008

Exploring Roanoke

Last year we took David to the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke. We finally made it back there this past weekend. David loves to call it the Train Museum because of all the trains that he got to climb over. The museum holds old cars, a huge model train and real-life trains. There is a section that is dedicated to space exploration, but that has not been open due to issues with construction problems with the roof.

One of the many trains
at the Roanoke Transportation Museum
When we visited Saturday David was very disappointed because only two trains were open to explore. The space section is still not open. So we didn't spend the hours in the museum we had expected to.

So on the fly I was looking for something else to do in town. I didn't want to waste the trip to Roanoke since it was the first trip there this year. I found a brochure at the museum that gave me a few ideas. Most of the featured activities were geared for younger kids (zoo) or adults (vineyards)or just too far away. These wouldn't do for David so we would have to decide on which of the remaining activities we would do.

I found Grandin Road, a 1930s restored neighborhood. When we arrived (after getting lost due to wrong directions) we were a little disappointed. We were expecting something more along the lines of Occoquan, Virginia. (Occoquan is a quaint little town with several blocks of cottage looking shops located near where we used to live in Northern Virginia.)

In front of Too Many Books
with our books
Upon arriving at Grandin Road we had a hard time finding a parking space. We had been told by the lady at the museum to make sure we checked out the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op since it was such a neat place. We pulled into their parking lot to begin our adventure there and saw their signs that stated we could only park there as long as we were in the store. When we went to another store the car would have to be removed or it would be towed. We then saw a man outside watching the cars to make sure this was done. We quickly decided not to shop there or park there. The Baptist church that stands behind it also had signs that stated if you parked in their lot you would be towed. We turned the corner and found a spot right in front of the used bookstore. The area was not so crowded that I could see a reason for the harshness of the signs.

We hit the used bookstore first—"Too Many Books." This was the best of the best kind of used bookstores. Lots of wonderful books everywhere in the shop. Little tables with books displayed and lots of tall shelves well-labeled in categories. The books were all in great shape. There were old books and newer used books but all were in great shape and had good prices.

The lady who ran the shop was a major asset who knew what she had in stock and where to find it quickly. She even gladly took the time to give David directions to a shop we wanted to go to next. She even wrote down the directions when David had asked her to. We bought quite a few books.

We walked past the Grandin Theatre, which is a restored movie theater. We had hoped to catch a movie here but there were not movies we were interested in watching. The theater was beautiful and we would have liked to explore the experience. Maybe next time.

Pop's Ice Cream & Soda Shop
Next we hit "Pops Ice Cream and Soda Bar." We were transported to the 1950s in this charming little place. We each ordered a different soda from the bar—licorice for Rich, cherry for David, and watermelon for me. We then ordered ice cream. Rich ordered a sundae, David had a cherry milk shake, and I ordered a shake with birthday cake and black raspberry ice cream (I got fancy.) The employees were wonderful and very cooperative as we snapped away at them with our cameras—and at each other. They use Homestead Creamery milk and ice cream, which is a local dairy. So we had dessert before lunch. Gotta love it.

Roanoke Weiner Stand
We then drove back across town (getting lost again) for lunch. The Roanoke Weiner Stand has been in Roanoke since 1916. It has played host to many dignitaries such as Barbara Bush, Elizabeth Dole, George Allen and more. The menu is limited—hot dogs, french fries and drinks. A great place for an inexpensive lunch with great atmosphere. There are pictures on the walls that show its history dating all the way back to 1916. The stools and counters leave you facing all the pictures.

With full tummies and happy hearts we headed home. I am so glad that we could turn the few disappointments around and make it a great day together.


Mrs.RGS said...

So you are still having warm, sunny weather. What kind of books did you buy?
Want you to know that after a warm day I can walk into my bathroom and be greeted by the sweet scent of the candles you sent to me. It makes me smile. Thanks.

Museice said...

I'm glad your visit to Roanoke was fun. I enjoy reading visitor's experiences.

Kim said...

we bought lots of history/civics books to help teach David. I also bought a brunch book.
It is wonderfully warm, but not overly hot here now. We have finally had a few days of needed rain in the last couple of weeks. I'm glad you are enjoying the candle. I love mine and go often to the outlet just to check out what they have that's new.