Weekend in Virginia

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MetroplexJim
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2011/06/12 11:15:13 (permalink)
I lived in Staunton for six wonderful years and visited regularily for years thereafter yet somehow never once visited Wright's Dairy-Rite.  Damn!  I hope that there is a "next time".
 
Country ham (jambon du pais) is definitely an acquired taste.  When we lived in Staunton tiny "ham biscuits" as fingr food were a staple at cocktail parties.  It's at its very best as it is served in Paris:  small, cold shreds in salads.  Try that once and you'll forget about bacon bits forever.
 
Next time through Virginia try sampling all the Brunswick stews.  Fantastic stuff!
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2011/11/07 00:55:51 (permalink)
buffetbuster

The last time I was in Roanoke, one of my stops was the , located right in the middle of downtown.  I came here after reading how good their chili dogs were and they lived up to expectations.  Just before leaving, I spotted a copy of George Motz's Hamburger America on the counter and I asked if they were in book.  After an affirmative reply, I sat back down and ordered a cheeseburger.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at my own copy of the book that I saw that a specific burger, the Cheesy Western was what the book recommended.  Let's call that poor planning on my part.  So, here I was back in Roanoke, headed for Texas Tavern to get a Cheesy Western.

One of the great things about Texas Tavern is that it is open 24 hours.  Mariton and I talked about maybe getting up at 3:00AM to come down here to see what it is like at that time of the morning.  But, of course, we didn't even get out of bed until 7:00AM and arrived here at almost 8:00AM.  Still, even at that hour, the place looks great! 

Built in 1930 and dwarfed by the nearby buildings, a place doesn't look any more Roadfoodish than this.  In the miniscule interior, there are ten counter seats. 

A sign in the back proudly exclaims, "We Seat 1000 People.....  10 at a Time".

Another sign says, "We don't cash checks or play with bumblebees!"

The menu board for sandwiches and such hangs high on the wall, while another board carries the breakfast items, mostly egg dishes and pork meats.  All the other customers were eating breakfast, but Mariton and I ordered two chili (they spell it the New Mexico way, chile) dogs and a Cheesy Western.  Since we were sitting close to the door, we had a nice view of the counterman fixing our food, as the grill

is right inside the front window.

The preferred toppings for the hot dogs here is with onions, mustard and two homemade products, the chili and the relish.  Here is what the dogs look like:

Both the chili and relish are mild, but add good flavor to these fine hot dogs.  Mariton only had one bite of the dogs, since the debacle the day before was still fresh in her mind.  She was much happier to share in the Cheesy Western.


This is a smallish burger with egg, relish, onion, pickle and cheese on a slim beef patty.  That is a lot going on for one small burger, but it works.

Mariton surprised me by asking for a bowl of chili

and said we should try it since they are famous for it.  A good call on her part.  The chili is very thin and I have heard it referred to as "pinto bean soup", but topped off with onions, it made a fine chaser for our meal here.  By the way, the chili has been on the menu since the beginning and original owner Nick Bullington is said to have gotten the recipe from a hotel in San Antonio.

Besides the Texas Tavern name, this place is also known as Roanoke's Millionaires Club.  The saying goes, no matter who you are, you will be treated like a millionaire at Texas Tavern!

Texas Tavern
114 Church Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA
540-342-4825

Now having had our morning snack, we were now ready to go out for breakfast!

More to come..... 

In Tavern lingo you had a "bowl with flowers" and a cheesy western "on the rail" meaning at the counter.
#92
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/10 13:13:35 (permalink)
I really liked your review and photographs of Ruby & Ketchy.  I ate there last week.
 
Roadfooders who are passionate about supporting family-owned or individually-owned independent restaurants MUST stop and eat here if you are in the Morgantown, WV area. It's practically a moral and ethical imperative, as well as just a simple opportunity for a great home-cooked meal.

My family ate there for Sunday lunch. We had creamed chicken with homemade biscuits (excellent), pulled pork sandwich (excellent), steak salad (excellent) and a fish sandwich (disappointing: small square of fish rather than those big fish sandwiches famous in Pittsburgh area and West Virginia).

The Sterns' review, and some other reviews and photographs in the forums, tell more of the story.  I agree with your own quote "It isn't the type of place where you walk out thinking that was the best meal ever. But, they don't take any shortcuts and they give every single dish an honest effort."
 
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/11 03:18:06 (permalink)
  Well, 
    I am SO glad that this thread got bumped.
  This to me, is Roadfood. 
  While we are a VERY dissimilar and somewhat divided group of folks, (GET OFF MY LAWN!) (Chill,Dude!)
  (rascally whippersnappers!)  
  Mr. Buster's Reports bring us together somehow.  Cool.
    And this one? This one has (almost) EVERYTHING!
  My faves,
  Menus, Gravy, pie, ham, grungy grills, Angela & Mary, scary caves, roof trees, BBQ, Ham, pie, chicken fried something, Mariton at a counter, Mariton overlooking the gardens and valley, ham, and one of i95's fantastic newsflashes.  bliss.
   Thank You!
     
 
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/11 07:05:17 (permalink)
You forgot to mention pie!
 
What a coincidence that this thread got brought back up.  Mariton and I were in the same area again this past weekend, including a revisit to Woodruff's Cafe & Pie Shop.  I will get some photos added in the next few days.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/06/11 07:48:25
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/11 08:57:28 (permalink)
Those Texas Tavern hotdogs look like Ball Park or a typical supermarket fake casing 8 to a pound dogs. Were they?...As John Fox might say, toppings do not a great hotdog make.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/12 08:41:19 (permalink)
Lee-
And they most definitely were not great hot dogs.  The wieners themselves were nothing special. 
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/12 10:13:51 (permalink)
Thanks B.B....thought so. I get annoyed when a place gives you a "supermarket" hot dog.....a hot dog out should be a quality dog....and something much larger than what fits loosely in a Wonder-bread roll!!!!!  Hell the one to the left in the picture looks un cooked!!!!
post edited by leethebard - 2012/06/12 10:15:24
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 08:41:59 (permalink)
Louis

Something that I discovered about the Southern Kitchen two years ago: they have a better pork chop than the one at Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.  I ate at both back-to-back over twenty-four hours, and my traveling companion and I both thought the Southern Kitchen's version was the best by far.  (And that was even after having two bowls of peanut soup!)  I'll have to try the country ham next time. 

 
One of the things I have learned over the years here in the forums is that if Louis makes a recommendation, pay attention because it is most likely going to be really good.
 
This past Saturday was our first visit back to the Southern Kitchen since this thread and I was determined to try the pork chops.  We got here a little after 8:00AM and there were no pork chops listed in the breakfast section of the menu.  I explained my problem to the waitress and she said they would be happy to make me the dinner portion of pork chops.

 
These chops sure didn't look too impressive when they were sat down in front of us.  They looked on the skimpy side.  But, in this case, looks can be deceiving, because they were wonderful.  Very tender, they could easily be cut with a fork.  And they were surprisingly juicy, especially for how thin they were.  My girlfriend ordered oatmeal, but ended up eating even more of the chops than I did.  The carrots and corn on the side were buttery and delicious.  Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!
 
Thanks to Louis for this fine suggestion!
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 08:49:37 (permalink)
buffetbuster 
Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!

 
It figures-YOU go to Southern Kitchen and get peanut butter pie
I went to Southern Kitchen and all they had left was *%#*^ Lemon Merengue
buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 09:00:41 (permalink)
WJ-
Looks like you need to get there earlier in the day.  I did have my choice of all of their pies, which was nice.
 
BTW, I didn't mention it, but of course a bowl of peanut soup was also part of breakfast!
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 10:51:48 (permalink)
buffetbuster

These chops sure didn't look too impressive when they were sat down in front of us.  They looked on the skimpy side.  But, in this case, looks can be deceiving, because they were wonderful.  Very tender, they could easily be cut with a fork.  And they were surprisingly juicy, especially for how thin they were.

Based on your description I wonder if Southern Kitchen brines.  It's a great way to help keep thin chops moist even when they're thoroughly/over cooked.
 
Brad
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 11:00:51 (permalink)
On the way down, while driving through the eastern panhandle of West Virginia on Rte. 522, we stopped in what looked like a nice looking Roadfood worthy type of place.  Instead, we had a real bad experience. 
 
Getting back in the car and still hungry, we quickly came across a grocery store

with some impressive looking smokers going full blast. 

We had been driving at a nice clip and flew by the place.  We debated for a minute, but eventually, curiousity and hunger got the best of us.  We turned around and went back.   As soon as we pulled into the driveway, two young girls ran from the yard to inside the building.
 
As soon as we stepped inside, the same girls asked for our order.  Not knowing what was available, I asked what they had.  By then, the father had walked out of the back and told us all they had left was pulled pork sandwiches.  So, we got two small sandwiches to go, so we could eat them in the hotel room. 
 
The owner was friendly in a quiet kind of way.  While he was getting the pork out of the pot,

I asked about sides.  They didn't have any of those either, but he could put some cole slaw on our sandwich if we liked.  Now, I love cole slaw on a sandwich, but only if it is homemade cole slaw.  Once it was confirmed that this was homemade slaw, I said yes.  Mariton still said no.  But, once she saw that it was a vinegary type of slaw insteadof a liquidy mayo slaw and saw how good it looked, she changed her mind and now wanted slaw.
 
We chatted for a few minutes with the owner and talked about the business.  The building used to be a general store and post office for the small town of Ridge, WV and was built in the 1850s.  The young redheaded girl, about 8 years old, rang us up at the register with some help from her older sister.  This couldn't possibly be any more of a family operation!
 
When we got to the hotel, we were shocked at how good these sandwiches were. 

They reminded me of a North Carolina style, with a minimum of a vinegary sauce on top.  The flavor was wonderful and we were kicking ourselves for not getting the large sandwiches.  We washed the food down with glass bottles taken from their cooler, a Sprite for her and an orange soda for me.
 
When we were driving home on Sunday, we had to stop in again.  Even though it was 6:00PM, they were still open.  Unfortunately, they were all out of ribs again (apparently they go very quick), so we settled for large pulled pork sandwiches.  And they were just as excellent!  Eating them while driving on the boring Pennsylvania Turnpike made the trip home so much better!
 
I can't wait to go back and try some of the other bbq items.
 
Timber Ridge Grocery
12261 Valley Road
Berkeley Springs,WV
304-886-5162
 
Even though the street address says Berkeley Springs, it is actually located just south of the town of Ridge, very close to the Virginia-West Virginia line.   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/06/14 11:04:15
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 15:08:29 (permalink)
Some other food highlights from the weekend in Virginia:
 
24 Crows

is one of the places that the Sterns have recently reviewed.  It is interesting that and ecclectic place is located in such a small town like Flint Hill.  This place is as much an art gallery/store

as it is a restaurant.  Mariton very much enjoyed looking around.  We arrived in the morning, to o early for lunch, which doesn't start until 11:30.  We were told that the only thing they have in the morning is scones.  I ordered a cinnamon, she went for the blueberry.  The man said he would warm them up for us and bring them to our table.  The scones were very good. 
 
We also noticed the ice cream list

and asked if it was too early for that.  Even though he didn't work there, one of the men at the short three person counter replied, "It's never too early for ice cream!"  Truer words have never been spoken.  I asked for a scoop of Belgian chocolate and local strawberry. 

Both of these were nothing short of spectacular.  Although I do like strawberries, it is way down the list of my favorite fruits.  But, since they say local and it is in season.  It tasted so fresh, with big chunks of strawberry in it.  Still, it was no match for the chocolate.  Creamy, smooth, yet not overly rich, this is the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had.  Her Jamaican-Me-Crazy

was almost very good.  Mariton ate hers by crumbling up the homemade waffle cone into the ice cream.  I had no interest in this and gave her my waffle cone.  We both agreed that this is easily the best thing we ate all weekend.
 
We also visited the Orlean Market.  We split an ordinary cup of chili, a very good club sandwich

and an impressive trio of desserts.

Clockwise from the top is hummingbird cake, cherry vanilla pie and peach/mango pie.  All were very good, but the star on the plate for me was the excellent buttery crust on the cherry vanilla pie.  Mariton was most impressed by the real mango and that they had fresh flowers on each table.

 
After a busy day of sightseeing, we didn't have our first meal until almost 4:00PM on Sunday.  It was at Rudy's,

a pizza place in the small town of Sperryville.  We split a small 14" Maui Wowi pizza,

which comes with pineapple, ham, red onion, jalapenos and teriyaki glaze.  As hungry as we were and as good as this pizza was, it still filled us quickly and we ended up having to take a few slices home with us, which was lunch on Monday.  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/06/14 15:10:48
The Travelin Man
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 16:06:16 (permalink)
wanderingjew

buffetbuster 
Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!


It figures-YOU go to Southern Kitchen and get peanut butter pie
I went to Southern Kitchen and all they had left was *%#*^ Lemon Merengue

You should have called and planned ahead. You're much less likely to get disappointed that way.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 16:14:07 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

wanderingjew

buffetbuster 
Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!


It figures-YOU go to Southern Kitchen and get peanut butter pie
I went to Southern Kitchen and all they had left was *%#*^ Lemon Merengue

You should have called and planned ahead. You're much less likely to get disappointed that way.

 
Look who is talking
 
Paul

ann peeples
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/14 17:15:44 (permalink)
I think is interesting that club sandwiches, in todays world, include ham and cheese. Not in my old world-just turkey, bacon, mayo, lettuce and tomato. That was classic. Cut in squares( or tiangles) I guess its the"new" club. Not a bad thing-just know the old. If I want a ham sandwich, I will have one.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/20 13:18:16 (permalink)
ann peeples-
It's Virginia.  They put ham in everything!
 
A place in Waynesboro caught our attention.  It is a little diner called Weasie's Kitchen and sure looked like a Roadfood kind of place.  And they had an impressive crowd for Sunday breakfast.  Has anyone ever been there?
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/20 13:25:38 (permalink)
buffetbuster

ann peeples-
It's Virginia.  They put ham in everything!


 
Either that or peanuts

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/20 13:52:37 (permalink)
WJ-
Do I remember something about some Virginia pigs being fed peanuts, which gave the ham a distinct flavor?  Where did I read that at.....
 
Ah, here we go.  It was in the review for the Virginia Diner in Wakefield. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/06/20 13:54:46
Louis
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/26 11:02:16 (permalink)
I'm so glad you and Mariton had a chance to sink your teeth into those pork chops.  Those chops made the ones at Snappy Lunch pale in comparison.  Gee, just thinking of those chops and maybe two bowls of that luscious peanut soup might be just the ticket to get me to Virginia before I know it!
 
buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2012/06/26 13:02:53 (permalink)
Thanks again for the recommendation Louis. There are so many good things on that menu, it may have taken us a long time to get around to the pork chops on our own.  I hope you get back down there soon!
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/26 21:35:03 (permalink)
Not going to do a full trip report, but the food was so good on my trip to Virginia this past weekend, I had post a few photos.
 
Arrived at Sting Ray's too early for lunch, so I "settled" for a sweet potato ham biscuit. 

First time trying this combination and the sweet/salty combination was incredible.  The sweet potato pie, with damson plum sauce was exceptional.
 
Becca's is best known for Smith Island cake and even though I am a fan of these desserts, the one I had here was disappointing.  Luckily, the cream of crab

was not as thick as others, but was much more flavorful.
 
Loved the big Styrofoam container full of fried flounder, shrimp and oysters (plus slaw and fries)

at Metompkin Seafoods.
 
At Exmore Diner, it was a full pound of beautiful, plump steamed shrimp,

which snapped when you bit into them.  Bonus points for the cup of butter and old bay on the side.
 
For breakfast at Doc Taylor's, it was thick, vanilla cinnamon French toast.

 
An old favorite is Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que, the cole slaw is underneath the delicious pork

on the sandwich.
 
The Jamestown Pie Company has been on my hit list for years and this slice of strawberry-peach

made the wait worthwhile.
 
Last stop before the airport was for a trio of ham biscuits

at Taste of Smithfield.  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/08/26 22:04:54
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/26 21:51:08 (permalink)
Thanks for the biscuit pics. They remind me that I'm not getting enough biscuits for breakfast.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/26 22:27:56 (permalink)
buffetbuster
No spoonbread? What's a trip to Virginia without spoonbread??
Glad you stopped at Pierce's and and that it's still good after all these years.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/26 23:53:44 (permalink)
 
Excellent, BuffetBuster!    That Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que sandwich makes my mouth water.  Janet and I spent 4 years at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, and we scarfed down countless numbers of those gems over the years.  It was nothing but a walk-up window joint back then, and they started to expand the building just as we were about to graduate and leave the 'burg.   
They later also expanded to about a half-dozen locations.  They are the only remaining "grandfathered" place in VA when laws were passed that prohibit "open pit" cooking.  Luckily all the meat for their various locations is smoked at the original location in Lightfoot, VA, just a couple miles outside Williamsburg. 
 
It is one of the few barbecue pork places I like that uses tomato in their sauce.  I am generally more of an Eastern NC BBQ fan (no tomato product).   But, to Pierce's credit, there is a hefty dose of tang in their sauce so that it is even acceptable to eastern NC BBQ fans.  ... Always a good number of firm crusty chunks mixed in the meat, too.  Just perfect.   Dang, I'm getting hungry!  We'll be back in the 'burg in 2 weeks, and will get our fill. 
 
Glenn and Janet     
 
 
buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/27 08:01:21 (permalink)
JRPfeff-
We all could use more quality biscuits in our life!  The one at Sting Ray's was especially good.
 
WJ-
Sorry, never saw spoonbread on a menu.  If I had, I would have ordered it.
 
Glenn1234-
Thanks so much!
 
It is amazing what a huge operation Pierce's Pitt has become over the years.  It seems the parking lot has expanded several times since my first visit about a decade ago.  And still, cars had to park along the road.  As good as the pork bbq sandwich is, I have never been thrilled with the sides.  The sweet potato stix seem to be the only ones I really like.  What sides do you order? 
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/27 13:17:23 (permalink)
 
BuffetBuster -
 
When we were at college, and were regulars at Pierce's, there were no sides available except for the crinkle-cut fries.  To this day, that's pretty much the only side we order.  For crinkle cut, they're not that bad. Pierce's seems to do them toward well-done / crispy side, which is good.  I would not be surprised if they cook them in pork fat, as they usually seem to have a nice dark golden crunch.  But, they might be done in veggie oil.  Not sure.   Anyway, more often than not, I get no fries, and just get a second pork sandwich ... for dessert. 
 
We go to Pierce's an average of about twice per year.  Luckily, the pork sandwiches have been consistently good over the decades, despite their expansion to several locations.  Same pit and same pit master for decades now.  
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2013/08/27 13:18:42
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/28 11:03:48 (permalink)
BB - thanks for reopening and augmenting this thread!
 
Before moving to Texas in 2005 I had lived in Virginia (Charlottesville, Staunton, Arlington, McLean) since 1969 - my entire adult life.  In those years I witnessed a wonderful improvement in both the quality and variety of eateries there.  This I attribute both to the spectacular development of NoVa from sleepy 'burbs of DC to an ultra-wealthy urban powerhouse of nearly 3 million ethnically diverse residents and to Patrick O'Connell.
 
Chef O'Connell's world class excellence inspired a quantum leap in the quality of both Virginia fine dining and "just plain eating".  From above, 24 Crows and even Rudy's Pizza reflect this.
 
On the occasion of his 30th. Anniversary in business, the WaPo paid tribute: 
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/08/ST2008040801977.html .
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Re:Weekend in Virginia 2013/08/28 11:12:21 (permalink)
MetroplexJim


Before moving to Texas in 2005 I had lived in Virginia (Charlottesville, Staunton, Arlington, McLean) since 1969 - my entire adult life.  In those years I witnessed a wonderful improvement in both the quality and variety of eateries there.  This I attribute both to the spectacular development of NoVa from sleepy 'burbs of DC to an ultra-wealthy urban powerhouse of nearly 3 million ethnically diverse residents and to Patrick O'Connell.



Staunton and Charlottesville are not suburbs of DC by any stretch of the imagination... (If that were the case then Albany NY or even Syracuse would be a suburb of NYC)
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