Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip

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Route 11
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2012/12/07 21:52:50 (permalink)

Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip

Instead of losing my marbles I decided to take a road trip up 81 to Harrisonburg and then up Route 11 to work on a little project.
 
Today was pure lollygagging. There's never any real pressing reason to go to The Green Valley Book Fair but dammit, it's so random and hokey and goofy you just have to go see it. If you decide to go, remember the exit, because signs are sparse. They have the most obnoxious commercials on the planet and no signs. You're sent from 81 into an agricultural Twilight Zone where you get the unsettled feeling it has to be the wrong way. Never fear, the book fair's in an older light industrial area. If you are patient there are bargains to be had. I love the people watching. This is a great mixed of tired tourists and the locals browsing through old kitten calendars and Greek tourist guides. I was not let down and now I've got some cool books to read on my little jaunt.
 
My next stop was Harrisonburg and I went right to A Bowl Of Good because I'm always hungry. They are big on sustainability, local ingredients and things you can eat out of bowls. 
 
I like Bowl Of Good a lot, probably because it's quasi-healthy and quiet. They have two locations but I like the original on Mt. Clinton Pike near Eastern Mennonite University.
 

 
I had the Bangkok Bowl...chicken, rice, Asian slaw, cilantro, peanuts and a peppery peanut dressing. They have an interesting hibiscus tea but it's a little too sweet for me. The Aztec chocolate cookie is interesting, a little flat brown cookie that tastes like dark chocolate and hot peppers.
 
On other occasions I've tried the Bada Bun Bowl and the chili. All are good. 
 
I crapped out after going for a run so dinner was a grinder from Martin's. Tomorrow I'm heading up Route 11 to Mount Jackson for nothing that has to do with food but it's something very cool and historic (and illegal). I'll have to eat along the way so I'll have a nice chapter two.
 
 
#1

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    Route 11
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/08 20:31:05 (permalink)
    It would be an absolute delight to stay at a hotel where the doors don't slam shut. The Jamison Inn (soon to be Quality Inn) in Harrisonburg is reasonably soundproof but oh, those slamming doors. 
     
    The day got off to a groggy start. Everything was groggy, including the weather.
     

     
    But you persist. I had several must-dos. I had to make a Turner Ham trip, buy a cheeseball for an upcoming Christmas party and get some photos for a project I've been working on.
     
    First stop was the Shenandoah Heritage Market south of Harrisonburg. There were no cheeseballs to be had, but I did taste-test some smoky onion spread and thought that would be pretty good. It tastes just as you'd expect, tangy and smoky and full of happy chemicals that go right to the cheese receptors in your brain.
     

     
    Thank God the first ingredient is cheese. 
     
    There were lots of things to sample and all sorts of candy ranging from mundane (red hots) to disgusting (cricket lollipops). I have no enemies to buy for so I moved on.
     
    Next I had my side project. Route 11 is also Old Valley Pike and back in the day, there were toll houses every ten miles or so where travelers would pony up some coin to head down or up the Valley. Very few of these toll houses remain. One is in ruin right beside the river south of Mount Jackson. The historical society in Shenandoah County is completely unorganized and I want to make sure this dear little house gets documented before it collapses completely. The porch fell off last winter.
     

     
    Just taking pictures is a tricky situation because there's a very deep well in the front yard with a flimsy, bust under your feet wooden cover. I know where it is but I am still careful careful careful. 
     
    The house is beyond repair. This is the front room.
     

     
    This is the back. And don't forget I'm trespassing right on the side of Route 11, wearing an aquamarine hoodie. Of course I'll never be seen. 
     

     
    Bet you're just itching to see that lovely linoleum up close. Remember, the wall color under this whitewash is industrial elementary school green, like a Fiestaware color.
     

     
    That's a delight for the retinas. I believe the house has been flooded out several times over the years since it's in the bottomland. If you've been on Route 11, this is very close to the covered bridge. As for how old the place is, hard to say. The nails look handmade. That could throw it from the 1830s all the way to about 1890. All this takes more research, which will have to be tackled at a later date. 
     
    Up next, will I ever find that damn cheeseball and will I be able to keep myself from buying other cheese products?
    #2
    wookman8
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/09 01:40:15 (permalink)
    Delighful report so far. I'm enjoying your adventure with you. Thanks for taking the time to post Route 11.
    #3
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/09 10:01:03 (permalink)
    Of all the places I have lived, the Shenandoah Valley ranks#1.  It is truly "God's Country".
     
    Are we going to get some pics of Jess' Quick Lunch?
     
    Do they still have a fine dining restaurant in Martin's Garage?
    #4
    carlton pierre
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/09 10:04:11 (permalink)
    I love Shenandoah Valley as well, and RT 11.  I believe it goes from Baltimore to New Orleans.
    #5
    cathyftr
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/09 10:45:09 (permalink)
    Besides toll houses the last time I was in Shenandoah County, VA ( Mount Jackson, Woodstock, Strasburg ) in 2007 there were quite a few abandoned places ranging from a former ski resort and an AM radio station in Mount Jackson to a drive-in theater in Woodstock. Saw a few old diners and old motels abandoned as well. I believe the former Safeway supermarket building in downtown Strasburg is still there even though one has to go way to back to the 70's to remember the Safeway being there.
    post edited by cathyftr - 2012/12/09 10:46:22
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    ann peeples
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/09 11:18:22 (permalink)
    Route 11, thanks for your post. I didnt realize toll houses existed( or perhaps forgot) Neat bit of history about our country way back when.Now they are toll booths, and everywhere in the Chicago area!!!
    #7
    Route 11
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/10 22:38:13 (permalink)
    Back to the story.
     
    From Mount Jackson I headed back south on 11 to Mauzy to gas up (3.09!) and didn't make my usual stop at the Shoppes at Mauzy. It's fun and you can Where's Waldo the giant cat,  Miss Mauzy.
     
    Turner Hams is wayyy out, so you pass through Broadway as you go. There's nothing much in Broadway but there's one place that's worth a stop: 
     
     

     
    The Broadway Supermarket, or as I know it, The Chuck Norris Superette. The whole store is like this. Weird.
     
    On to Turner's where my cellphone decided to freeze and stop taking photos altogether. As you can read in the Roadfood review, this is really exceptional stuff. Turners is not as salty as some of the country ham I've had but it has just enough tang to wake up your mouth. I was already thinking about Hopping John for New Year, so I bought a little pack of trimmings for the black eye peas and a few regular slices for a friend to share with his family. Good stuff like this should not be a secret, and it is the most lovely color pink.
     

     
    Oh...and they make their own pimento cheese. Another party favor! You can really taste the pimento. I only has a little taste so I can't wait to taste it on a Chicken In a Bisket cracker. Very peppery and a little sweet.
     

     
    Oh, Turners. What will you do next?
     
    Coming back to Harrisonburg I still didn't have that damn cheeseball. Never fear. In lieu of a Whole Foods or Fresh Market, Harrisonburg has The Friendly City Co-op. Locally owned with an emphasis on local stuff. Friendly City is a tiny, tidy place but it's cheery and the enthusiasm of the people that work there is infectious. Aside from having some of the best coffee in town, they have a nice little cheese section, where I scored the Big Green Monster:
     

     
    This is from Shady Haven, a Mennonite owned cheese company. Looks good! 
     
    Now here's something sad. After a week of very little sleep I was comatose, to the point where driving more than a mile or two would have been bad. So I ended up making a big salad at Martins and reading a stack of magazines. What a life! Usually I love Little Grill Collective and the fact I was covered in mud and looked like warmed-over death wouldn't have stopped me from going. The problem was I was so tired I was at the point of not being hungry! 
     
    Well, there's always next time!
    post edited by Route 11 - 2012/12/10 22:40:09
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    Route 11
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/10 22:42:50 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim

    Of all the places I have lived, the Shenandoah Valley ranks#1.  It is truly "God's Country".

    Are we going to get some pics of Jess' Quick Lunch?

    Do they still have a fine dining restaurant in Martin's Garage?

     
    Jess' Quick Lunch is still alive and kicking. I've never tried it but I would like to! 
     
    Yes, even though I'm a "flatlander" I do love the Valley. I went to high school in Woodstock for a few years and made a lot of friends.
    #9
    Route 11
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/10 22:45:55 (permalink)
    cathyftr

    Besides toll houses the last time I was in Shenandoah County, VA ( Mount Jackson, Woodstock, Strasburg ) in 2007 there were quite a few abandoned places ranging from a former ski resort and an AM radio station in Mount Jackson to a drive-in theater in Woodstock. Saw a few old diners and old motels abandoned as well. I believe the former Safeway supermarket building in downtown Strasburg is still there even though one has to go way to back to the 70's to remember the Safeway being there.  

     
    There is a really sad abandoned Safeway in Luray: 
     

     
    #10
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/11 07:54:24 (permalink)
    11, any idea when the toll house was decommissioned?  Was it possible to convert them to private residences or were they all abandoned and/or razed?
     
    Save me a piece of that Turner ham, please!
    #11
    Route 11
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    Re:Harrisonburg VA/Route 11/ Old Toll House Mini Road Trip 2012/12/11 12:31:35 (permalink)
    ScreamingChicken

    11, any idea when the toll house was decommissioned?  Was it possible to convert them to private residences or were they all abandoned and/or razed?

    Save me a piece of that Turner ham, please!


    It was a private home for a while. Most were decomissioned in the 1910s. As evidenced by that wonderful linoleum someone was living there well into the 60s-70s. I can only guess the place flooded out and then structural issues forced the abandonment.
     
     
    #12
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