Katie Letcher Lyle

Books & Articles:

Lexington

from The Virginia Sportsman, November/December 2004

Lexington

Excerpt:

Lexington, Virginia, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of the beautiful small towns in America. With brick, tree-lined sidewalks, horse-drawn carriages, quiet narrow streets, and cheerful hanging baskets of flowers, Lexington has managed to preserve its Revolutionary and Civil War heritage. The town boasts two beautiful colleges, each unique in design: Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University. The entire downtown, with its period lampposts and variety of antique and gift stores, clothing shops, restaurants, and boutiques, is protected by stringent architectural review codes, as are the older residential streets of this town of four thousand.

The town is scattered with charming bed-and-breakfast establishments, such as The Victorian Inn, only a block from downtown. Purchased in 1998 by Donna Welsh, the large house was built by the son-in-law of one of Stonewall Jackson's colonels, and a nineteenth century mayor of Lexington. Donna completely restored the house using genuine Victorian wallpaper and period furniture and fixtures.

The passage of time and the construction of major interstate highways that cross just a mile north of Lexington have unavoidably affected this gem of a town, but until twenty-five years ago, Lexington had as many museums and libraries as it had stoplights. There are many green areas inside the city limits, and the citizenry boasts many lovely private gardens. The whole of the downtown area is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Lexington has in recent years become something of an art center, spawning several galleries that offer art ranging from traditional to avant-garde. Tourists can refresh themselves at the pleasant cafes and eateries that line the downtown streets. Of they can dine elegantly at the excellent Southern Inn, the Sheridan Livery, and the Willson-Walker House. Tourists from New York are known to shop the small boutiques, the sophisticated bookstores and the antique malls of Lexington.

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