The Road to Middletown
Middletown Travel Blog› entry 10 of 108 › view all entries
The second Monday in October is Columbus Day in the United States, a national holiday. I was off from work, my wife was off, and school was out. Forecast was for a high of 90F (32C), potentially record-breaking. Now, this is the sort of day that cries out for a road trip, but our daughter had a program to attend at Shenandoah Universty in Winchester in any case. So, off we were on the road again, over the Blue Ridge.
Winchester, VA, is delightful small city in the Valley of Virginia. But, I'll defer telling you about it until a later blog. We dropped off our daughter for the all-day program and attended a parents briefing and brunch. By 11:00 a.m. we were on our own.
Literature stated that Belle Grove Plantation in nearby Middleton was open through October.
Returning to Route 11, the open expanse of Cedar Creek Battlefield could be seen from the roadside historical markers. The Battle of Cedar Creek took place in October 1864. The battle, a Confederate defeat, marked a turning point in the Valley Campaign. Throughout the Civil War, the Valley of Virignia with its abundant food supply was was hotly contested between Union and Confedeate forces. Cedar Creek signaled the end of Confederate control of the Shenandoah Valley. Middletown was preparing for a large reenactment scheduled for two weeks hence.
The battlefield itself is still a large pasture, stretching from the highway to the distant Appalachian Mountains. Linear belts of rocks, characteristic of the Valley and Ridge geologic zone of Virginia, thrust up out of the ground to mark the field, almost as if they themselves were remnants of old fortifications. In the middle of the field stands a frame farmhouse known as the Heater House. One frequently reads about how the Civil War divided families between North and South. The Heater House is tangible evidence. The historical marker tells us that Mrs. Heater remained loyal to the Union and aided Union forces operating in the Valley. But, her sons fought for the Cofederacy and two died in the conflict.