Joining the Commonwealth Quest.

I wrote about Craig Fifer’s Commonwealth Quest two and a half years ago, and ever since I’ve wondered how many Virginia municipalities I’ve visited. My wife and I just took twenty minutes to review a map of Virginia and figure it out. Here’s the list:

Counties I’ve Been To

  • Accomack
  • Albemarle
  • Amelia
  • Amherst
  • Appomattox
  • Arlington
  • Augusta
  • Bedford
  • Bland
  • Botetourt
  • Buckingham
  • Campbell
  • Caroline
  • Charlotte
  • Chesterfield
  • Clarke
  • Craig
  • Culpeper
  • Essex
  • Fairfax
  • Fauquier
  • Floyd
  • Fluvanna
  • Franklin
  • Frederick
  • Giles
  • Goochland
  • Grayson
  • Greene
  • Greensville
  • Halifax
  • Hanover
  • Henrico
  • Henry
  • Isle of Wight
  • James City
  • King and Queen
  • King George
  • King William
  • Lancaster
  • Loudoun
  • Louisa
  • Madison
  • Montgomery
  • Nelson
  • New Kent
  • Orange
  • Page
  • Pittsylvania
  • Powhatan
  • Prince Edward
  • Prince George
  • Prince William
  • Pulaski
  • Rappahannock
  • Roanoke
  • Rockbridge
  • Rockingham
  • Shenandoah
  • Smyth
  • Southampton
  • Spotsylvania
  • Stafford
  • Surry
  • Sussex
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wythe
  • York

Cities I’ve Been To

  • Alexandria
  • Bristol
  • Buena Vista
  • Charlottesville
  • Chesapeake
  • Colonial Heights
  • Danville
  • Emporia
  • Fairfax
  • Franklin
  • Fredericksburg
  • Hampton
  • Harrisonburg
  • Hopewell
  • Lexington
  • Lynchburg
  • Manassas
  • Manassas Park
  • Martinsville
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Petersburg
  • Portsmouth
  • Richmond
  • Roanoke
  • Salem
  • Staunton
  • Suffolk
  • Virginia Beach
  • Waynesboro
  • Williamsburg
  • Winchester

Counties I Haven’t Been To

  • Alleghany
  • Bath
  • Bland
  • Brunswick
  • Buchanan
  • Carroll
  • Charles City
  • Cumberland
  • Dickenson
  • Dinwiddie
  • Gloucester
  • Highland
  • Lee
  • Lunenburg
  • Mathews
  • Mecklenburg
  • Middlesex
  • Northampton
  • Northumberland
  • Nottoway
  • Patrick
  • Richmond
  • Russell
  • Scott
  • Tazewell
  • Westmoreland
  • Wise

Cities I Haven’t Been To

  • Bedford
  • Covington
  • Galax
  • Norton
  • Poquoson
  • Radford

Cities I’m Not Sure if I’ve Been To

  • Falls Church

My weak points are far southwest Virginia, a triangle of Virginia south of Richmond, and many of the tiny counties along the coast. I chalked up a lot of these by walking the length of the state as a teenager, traveling around the 5th congressional district, and traveling to Richmond, the Outer Banks, and D.C. What remains constitutes to a to-do list. I think I could mop this up with two weekend trips, three at the most.

How do you fare in the Commonwealth Quest?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

26 replies on “Joining the Commonwealth Quest.”

  1. I started a somewhat similar quest a few years ago–to land my airplane at every public, paved airport in Virginia, of which there are nearly 70.

    I’ve completed it once (not counting Reagan National, which has been effectively off-limits to general aviation since 9/11), and I’m now on my second pass through them all.

    (FWIW, I consider Grundy and Gordonsville the most challenging.)

  2. The Jefferson Forest Young Democrats appreciate your visit to beautiful Bedford County!
    You have been their favorite speaker this year!

  3. The linked map shows my progress, from the mother of all county-counting sites, — it allows you to define colors and labels for your counties as well as simply marking them. I’m missing four counties on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsulas (Westmoreland, Lancaster, Middlesex and Mathews), then all seven plus one city that are fully both west of I-77 and northwest of I-81 (City of Norton, Lee, Scott, Wise, Tazewell, Russell, Dickenson and Buchanan). So I total out at 122 of 134 jurisdictions.

    I could wipe the east side out in a daytrip. Far Southwest Virginia is harder.

  4. Hey Waldo:

    Very interesting. Virginia definitely does pose a unique geography for a project like this.

    If you come on down to SWVA I’d be glad to show you around!

    Also, It was good to meet you and I thought you did an excellent job with your presentation Sunday.

    Adam Tolbert

  5. Wise, Dickenson and Buchanan counties all totally rock. There are places in Wise where you would swear you are in the Rockies. Especially some of the reclaimed strip mines high in the mountains where the effects of the mining result in a landscape that looks downright post-glacial. Yet not at all desolate, since it is in fact reclaimed land with topsoil and trees all back where they belong. Lots of big, sprawling lakes in that area as well. It’s not like any place else in the Commonwealth.

    There’s loads of public land all along that stretch of border on account of the Thomas Jefferson National Forest, but access is sketchy through most of it with a serious lack of access roads and parking areas.

  6. I’d have to sit down to count but I think I’m competitive and I probably have a leg up on SW Va since I hike and canoe and there are many truly wild trails and rivers down that way…

    One of my favorite things I like to do when I’m driving through Va is to take note of the homes and settlement patterns and to observe the fairly modest circumstances that much of Virginia’s residents live in and to say out loud frequently and often: “NO SPRAWL HERE” and then I usually ask those with me whether they would agree or disagree that these non-Sprawl areas of Virginia should be “protected” with Conservation Easements.

    And the response I usually get is “protected from what?.. SPRAWL?”


  7. That link is totally rad — thanks for the link. I’ll have to plug my list into that.

    Looks like I’ll have some e-mails to send before I visit parts of the state. I’ll be able to get a tour in style. :)

  8. Does simply driving through a county on the interstate count as visiting? If so, that ups my numbers considerably. My stronger points would be the Blacksburg/Roanoke area, central VA, northern VA and Hampton Roads. Like you, Waldo, I’ve never been to the extreme SW VA parts, or some of the counties along the Chesapeake bay, although I had family in Northumberland so I might have driven through some of the others. Falls Church has an excellent burger place and not much else worth noting; Radford has a really good pizza place :)

  9. Actually, assuming you hiked all the Appalachian Trail in Virginia back in ’96 (or later) you can cross Bland, Smyth, and Wythe off your list of “haven’t visited.” The AT traverses quite a bit of Bland and Smyth, and touches briefly upon Wythe.

  10. Does simply driving through a county on the interstate count as visiting?

    I certainly think so, but I can see the merits of not counting that.

    Actually, assuming you hiked all the Appalachian Trail in Virginia back in ‘96 (or later) you can cross Bland, Smyth, and Wythe off your list of “haven’t visited.”

    Great! Thanks for that, Skyline.

  11. I have a goal of visiting every US state. I think just cruising by on the Interstate is a little bit cheating, so I’ve set a standard of having to spend money in that state. Drive through… I wasn’t there. Stop and get gas… I was.

  12. Waldo-

    When you visit Westmoreland, I highly suggest Willey’s BBQ Restaurant. Last time I went by there, it was still open. I also suggest making a stop in Colonial Beach to visit the Riverboat Restaurant. It’s in MD because it sits over the Potomac River. You can play the horses and put some money on Keno.

    If you continue down Rt. 205, you will see James Monroe’s birthplace. Don’t blink, you’ll miss it. You could also visit George Washington’s birthplace on the way to General Lee’s plantation.

    Happy motoring.

  13. Hmmmm, you’ve never been to Cumberland. Seems to me there was an invitation that had been extended, but the details are fuzzy now, so many years later.

    Of course, if you WANT to come to Cumberland and go out to eat with us, we would welcome you and your lovely wife.

    I’ve never been to Texas either, but I’ve also never been invited. ;)

    Nice list, Waldo. I am not able to concentrate on counting up where I have been inside Virginia, but I have been to 41 of the states. I have been having a serious Hawaii jones going on for about a month now, not sure if I will do something about it or not.

    I am going to be going to Denver as a free-lancer on the convention. My daughter and I are going to see if we can ‘crash’ any of the blogger’s facilities, and take photos everywhere we are allowed to.

  14. Just when I was getting tired of all the travel I do for work…

    I had one maybe, Manassas Park, and only 3 no’s Allegheny, Highland, Covington. I concur with jack Landers on far southwest Although I would also point you to the Breaks Interstate Parks. Its association with a certain ex-Senator doesn’t diminish its beauty. Hard to get to but well worth it.

  15. Jeff, that would be awesome. I’d never seen a comprehensive list of towns in Virginia, but that’s an impressive list. I’ve finally visited every village in Albemarle County, now that I hit up Howardsville last week. I guess it’s time to branch out. :)

    Hey, Jeff, if you do that — blog it! I know I’d sure love to read that blog.

  16. Waldo, you really ought to come down and visit us in the River City of Radford, VA. But I’ll warn you to wait until spring. It gits cold up in these here mountains. Also, Bedford is worth the trip to see the D-Day memorial. Pretty neato.

  17. I was pretty surprised when I put together this list to discover I’d never been to Radford. I lived in Blacksburg for a year and a half and didn’t once drive 20 minutes south to Radford.

  18. Waldo,

    Highland county is really worth visiting. In addition to having some great places to go hiking it is also the home of the Maple Syrup Festival, which is coming up fairly soon…

    In addition, its high altitude means that it has areas with animals and vegitation stranded from the last ice age. There are areas spruce fir forests and even snowshoe hares!

  19. Waldo,

    Lonnie’s right. The Maple Festival is worth attending at least once. I’ve been just about every year for as long as I’ve lived in the area (14 years). The Pancakes and Maple donuts are epic.

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