Commonwealth Quest update.

I last wrote about my efforts on the Commonwealth Quest a year and a half ago, at which time I’d visited all but six (or possibly seven) cities and twenty seven counties. By driving to Virginia Beach this week via the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula, and driving back by way of Smithfield, I was able to check a few more off the list. Here are the counties that I’ve got left:

Bland, Brunswick, Buchanan, Carroll, Charles City, Cumberland, Dickenson, Dinwiddie, Lee, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Northampton, Nottoway, Patrick, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise, and Wythe.

These are just about all towards the eastern portion of our border with North Carolina and in far Southwest Virginia, west of Bristol. I think I can knock those bunches off with just two more trips. (Looking at the Commonwealth Quest roster, I can see that I’m in good company with these particular regional gaps.)

The list of cites, unfortunately, I have not made a dent in recently. That’s Bedford, Galax, Norton, Poquoson, Radford, and possibly Falls Church. (I can’t remember if I’ve been to Falls Church, so I’ll have to go to make sure, I guess.) I’m kicking myself for missing Poquoson, which I drove right by on Wednesday. Bedford, Falls Church, and Radford are bizarre oversights, while Galax and Norton will have to wait for that trip to SWVA.

108 down, 26 to go.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

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

17 replies on “Commonwealth Quest update.”

  1. You were very close to Bedford when you came to JF to speak! Visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford and then the Peaks of Otter..climb up them!!!

  2. I’ve been very near Peaks of Otter, where the Appalachian Trail comes through, but I’ve never made it there proper. It’s kind of amazing that I’ve driven by Bedford so many times (particularly when I lived in Montgomery County) and never actually gone there. Bedford and Cumberland are, at this point, the most embarrassing omissions from my places visited.

  3. I think you would quite enjoy a trip through the coalfields… the roads to get there have some of the best views and overlooks in all of Virginia. The ommissions on my list are primarily in Hampton Roads, unfortunate given how much time I’ve spent at college in Williamsburg.

  4. There is very little to do in Falls Church, Waldo. If you’ve driven to Arlington, you probably passed through Falls Church, and that’s all one really needs to do.

    However, since you’re going to go, I suggest stopping by Peking Gourmet Inn, 6029 Leesburg Pike. Is it that amazing? Not really, but it does happen to be Bush the Elder’s favorite place in the DC area.

    Although that might be reason to stay away, yes?

  5. You’re right, Genevieve—I have been to Falls Church. When I was 18, I went on a roadtrip to NYC with a few friends. Lacking a map, we spotted Route 29 when we were north of DC, and reasoned that since that same road ran through Charlottesville, we could just take that home. Not really the most efficient route, as it turned out, but we would have gone straight through Falls Church.


  6. When you make it to Bedford, check out the Civil War monument in front of the courthouse, and find the blatant grammatical error.

  7. I think you need two lists, one for cities and counties you have passed through and those in which you have actually had some substantive experience…even if you just had lunch at a diner and talked with the wait-staff. Tim Kaine promised to go to every locality as LG and visit a school in each one–I think he made the last one is in his last week as LG. Jennifer Pitts, Miss VA a few years ago, made an official appearance in every county in one year (it was her job so that made it easier)!

  8. I think you need two lists, one for cities and counties you have passed through and those in which you have actually had some substantive experience…even if you just had lunch at a diner and talked with the wait-staff.

    Hey, I’m just following Craig’s rules. :) Inevitably, with each place I visit I’m noting how much time I’m spending there and whether I’d like to spend more time there than I have. But there’s no binary substantive/nonsubstantive test, so I figure better to just think of each place on a gradient of whether I’ve spent as much time there as I’m likely to want to or whether I want to return.

  9. We may take care of Radford for you before too long. Some talk on city council(again) about looking seriously at reversion to town status. It’s a hard time to bee an independent city in VA!

  10. Peking Gourmet Inn is quite good and worth the visit. You have to get the duck, they carve it at the table and the spring onions and sauce make it very tasty.

  11. biod makes a valid point. Granted, you’re just “following the rules” that someone else provided, it seems a mite odd to say that someone “visited” a particular place when they did nothing other than sit in a car that drove through it.

    I’ve got a city/county map of the state that gets highlighted each time I visit a city or county. Every jurisdiction is marked off except for Lee and one other that I can’t recall.

  12. Waldo, thanks for the continued coverage of the Commonwealth Quest! Thanks to your media connections, you can listen to my recent interview on NPR affiliate WVTF (Roanoke/Charlottesville), at . I’ve also updated your status.

    Biod, I agree with you about the two lists, and I’ve often thought about it. One approach would be to set a uniform standard, such as spending at least an hour in the city or county, or spending money there, or getting the autograph of a resident. I have cousins who don’t count visiting a state unless they’ve seen the capitol building and spent the night in the state.

    But I think a more fun approach would be to develop a list of the signature thing (or a few of them) that you have to do before you can say you’ve really been to a place. For example, to say you’ve been to Roanoke, you’d have to either go up to the Star, eat at Texas Tavern, or visit the Farmer’s Market. I suppose I’d have to assemble a blue ribbon commission of distinguished Virginians to vet the submissions, or perhaps let each mayor or board chair choose what goes on the list. :)

  13. Oh, and I’m good friends with Jennifer Pitts. As a 24-year resident of Roanoke and Alexandria, I’ve given her plenty of grief about the fact that she’s went to every county in Virginia during her reign, but not every city.

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