Friday, December 23, 2016

Antique Oddities and Beautific Brews in Front Royal

Early Saturday morning I was awoken by the tell tale sound of freezing rain, like someone crinkling cellophane, as the frozen droplets hit the roof and landed on brittle leaves under my window. It was rather nice laying there with my huge Batman mug full of steaming tea, Kota and Rosie Lee cuddled up next to me as we lay and savored the coziness of the bedroom. But our idyllic enjoyment wasn't to last for very long, well, not mine anyway. A few juncos and cardinals started hopping into my view, looking very forlorn and unsuccessfully pecking the ground for morsels to eat.
 Unable to stand the guilt I jumped out of bed, pulled on fluffy fleece pants, long boots, wrapped my huge lilac dressing gown round me tight, then tentatively tiptoed outside clutching large bags of seed. It's at times like this that I'm extremely grateful that I don't have close neighbors, I must have looked a sight, but after a couple of minutes I could return indoors and once again thrust my feet deep under the warm bedclothes and enjoy the view out of the window, this time with a satisfied feeling as I watched a small flock of my feathered friends enjoying their warm seed for breakfast, not frozen stale pieces stuck to the ground. One of the older crows had a ring of white feathers around his neck as well as a few white tail feathers. He held his neck to one side and scooped the seed into his beak rather than pecking like his peers. I wondered if he'd suffered an injury that made feeding difficult and resolved to throw out seed frequently through the winter. I wondered if crows helped each other since they stayed together in a flock, and found this interesting link.
I didn't do much on Saturday so was ready for an outing when Margie, Emily and Steve turned up at my house the next day. We had originally planned a hike but with rain and cold featuring largely on the weather forecast we decided to just check out the antique stores in Front Royal, where I would also introduce them to the Beer Museum.
It was dull and overcast when we arrived, rain spatters blowing in our faces, but it wasn't too chilly, in fact, it was quite balmy. Nevertheless, the wind was picking up as we sauntered down the Main Street, dipping into stores to explore cozy cluttered interiors and escape the elements.
One shop seemed to be packing its merchandise up as though it was closing down.It was like a flea market filled with junk and items from the 60's and 70's, some of which appealed, like the hat boxes above, but others made me shudder, such as a black nylon wig, still in its box, marked, 'Stretches. One size fits all." Ugh. I kept my hands in my pockets for the most part. These quirky Christmas trees, reminding me of Dr Seuss,  were outside of an art gallery.
Main Street was almost deserted as we walked down, it was quite strange, and I was glad I had company today. We only saw a couple of people, so I guessed the inhabitants of Front Royal were all  well organized, with Christmas shopping completed, and were spending the afternoon relaxing in cozy homes, in front of blazing fireplaces and with Christmas lights twinkling merrily.
 Further down the road was a store with a few items that induced double takes as I passed them by. Barbie and Ken Star Trek theme? Why did I never see this when I was a kid? A ninja turtle sat on a carousel horse in the window while a chess set with hunting theme pieces, which looked pretty intimidated about the game in progress, sat inside the door. Whoever owned this store had a sense of humor.
Lunch was consumed at Soul Mountain Cafe and Grill, where we all devoured extremely tasty sandwiches. It was only about an hour later when we left but we were shocked to step outside and feel a 20° drop in the temperature. It was cold. We walked around the corner to the Beer Museum, my steps quickening in happy anticipation, then as I leaped up the door, I stopped short. There was a notice on the glass saying. 'Closed for private party" Unbelievable! They had told me to bring my friends on Sunday and now the door was locked. I was nearly inconsolable as I realized that I wouldn't be supping any of that delicious Dark Hollow this afternoon, but then Steve announced that we could head to PaveMint instead, just a few minutes away, and I cheered up promptly. With over 30 beers on tap, the choices were superb and we received exemplary service from our beer expert server. Apparently the bar had been filled to busting earlier on in the afternoon, so obviously that's where the Front Royal residents had been while we were walking Main Street, and then of course, they'd gone home to doze. And that's also what Margie did when we returned to Meadow House. She stretched out on the sofa while I built a fire, and we finished off the afternoon chatting as the daylight slowly faded and the light of the flames flickered and danced off the walls. 

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