With a trip over the past four days completed, I’m inching closer to completing the Commonwealth Quest, Craig Fifer’s challenge to visit every municipality in Virginia. Wanting to get the Eastern Shore under my belt, I spent the weekend there with my wife (with a detour for a picnic lunch in Charles City County—check). The Eastern Shore is comprised of two counties, Accomack and Northampton. I’d been to Accomack as a kid, on a trip to Chincoteague with Boy Scouts, but never Northampton. Getting the Eastern Shore means either driving up to Annapolis and back down the shore, or southeast to Virginia Beach and heading across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. We opted for the latter, to enable the Charles City visit, spent a couple of days exploring the Eastern Shore (which I recommend), and headed home via the northern route, with a one-day stop in Woodstock/Luray in order to visit the fascinating Fort Valley. Which is not a municipality, but it sure feels like it should be.
That brings up my county count to 78 from 76, and my city count unchanged at 35, for a total of 113 out of 134. This leaves two areas of the state that remain to be visited: a small cluster of counties in eastern Southside and Southwest Virginia.
The counties in Southside are Brunswick, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Nottoway. (Imagine a triangle with Farmville on the north and the base defined by South Boston and Emporia, and you’ve got the idea.)
Southwest Virginia makes up the bulk of what I have left, in raw count: the cities of Galax and Norton, and the counties of Buchanan, Carroll, Bland, Dickenson, Lee, Patrick, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise, and Wythe. I’ve taken 81 clear to Bristol (and beyond), and I’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail up from Damascus clear…well, clear across the state. But the whole area west of Hungry Mother State Park and north of 81 remains untouched.
There are two other tiny spots in the state near neither of those places: the cities of Radford and Poquoson. Radford is right next to Blacksburg, and it’s a shame that, in a year and a half of living in the New River Valley, I didn’t once go there. And Poquoson is out at at the tip of Hampton Roads, just north of Hampton. On the shore, it’s not on the way to anything, so you’ve really got to try to go there.
It’s going to take a couple of pushes to finish these last two major chunks, probably a long weekend trip for Southwest Virginia and a couple of days for Southside. Radford I can hit up on the way to or from Southwest Virginia, but Poquoson? I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m going to have my photo taken at the border, finishing up the Commonwealth Quest.