Tourist in my State – Orange, Virginia

Along the Train Tracks
Orange, Virginia

It’s so easy to be a tourist in my own state – there are interesting things everywhere! The town in Orange, Virginia has some lovely brickwork next to the tracks. There was also a large monument to the memory of the soldiers who died in the Civil War.

Orange grew because of the train terminal. The train brought passengers and supplies from Alexandria, at the other end of the state and carried away produce and products from the farms and factories.

In 1888, a trestle near the town collapsed when a passenger train struck it. The trestle was named after a woman who lived there – Fat Nancy (hmm. . . wonder why that name would stick with me). According to the signage, 34 people died and 11 more were injured.

In 1965, the station was significantly damaged when girders came loose as a freight train came through town. There were no casualties and it was quickly rebuilt.

The train eventually ceased to stop in Orange and Amtrak refused to add the town to the stops. More recently, the buildings were sold to the city and became offices and the tourism bureau.

The town of Orange is located in Orange County, north of Charlottesville, Virginia. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from Richmond. There are several antique stores there, along with other shopping.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

This week’s photo challenge is the word “big” – as in larger than life or unexpected large.

Big is exactly how I would describe the main room of Union Station in Washington D.C..  See how little the people look by comparison?  This is straight out of the camera, taken in 2011 using my old point and shoot, a Canon Pro 1, purchased about 2003.  For an old camera, it still did a nice job and was smaller to carry than my Canon Rebel.

I was in D.C. that day for a business conference, but of course being me, I brought my camera with.  I took pictures from the train windows and everywhere that I stopped.  Here are some pictures of a red house that I posted using some Photoshop techniques.  Those were taken while the train was stopped at a station that day (Fredericksburg, I think).

The trip was interesting – I’d only been to D.C. once as an adult and had never taken Amtrak before that day.  The VP of my department was patient explaining what I needed to do and how I needed to do it (ensuring of course that I’d be at the meeting on time!).  I am responsible for the state income tax returns for a Fortune 500 company; my counterparts do federal and international taxation.  That day had presentations for all three of our groups and I had the opportunity to meet and network with consultants from the other groups.

Here’s the same photo after I straightened it out a bit and played with it in Photoshop and some Topaz Labs filters.  I liked the punched up colors and detail on it, but probably won’t spend much more time correcting some of the color cast in it:

While I’d not taken the Amtrak before, I’m certainly no stranger to trains or train stations, having traveled in and out of Chicago’s Union Station numerous times.  At one time the large ceiling there was dropped down to conserve energy.  I believe that has been reversed and the glamour of that room was restored.  Still, the D.C. station was awesome.

Of course, big can also be used for a larger than life personality.  Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865.  He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia and has a life size statue as a marker.  I found it during one of my explorations of the cemetery.

There are many big personalities and he is probably not one of the biggest.  Still, looking at his grave and thinking over the Civil War Museums that I’ve visited with my favorite boy toy, I suspect the era was full of big personalities.  The war would not have been fought so vigorously by anyone who could not or did not think big.

Of course, we have our big personalities in this day and age.  For each of us, it will be someone different.  The most fun though is when we ourselves are a big personality or we have someone in the family who is.  It’s so much more fun when it’s personal, from the husband shooting rubberbands on Christmas Day to explaining to my family doctor that I was trying to swing with my daughter when I found out my knee was not working right. . . my adult daughter that is.

Can you tell the dog was used to this?

So big is something that can make us feel small, remind us of how vast the universe is, or be a way of living our life.

For me, I’d rather be remembered as a big personality than to not be remembered.