Everybody Knew This Was Nowhere…..

Way back in 1969, Neil Young released a song and album titled “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”.  As the youngest member of a family growing up (at that time, in Woodbridge, then Haymarket, then ultimately Marshall in Northern Fauquier County), I heard that refrain sung, mumbled, grumbled, and shouted dozens of times.  There were Precious few attractions, restaurants, venues, and general overall “Things To DO” in Fauquier County then.  

Back in the early seventies and eighties, the Northern Virginia Piedmont was, frankly, Nowhere.  And that was a major appeal to my parents, and many other parents.   Much to the chagrin of so many adolescents, young adults, and teenagers.

Upon returning to Fauquier County as an adult, I realize the region has certainly Grown Up!  Contrast those languid, often boring summers and seemingly endless winters hibernating, with the amazing evolution of activities, attractions, events, venues, and entertainment the area offers today!  

These days, Virginia Gold Cup, is just ONE brief, passing event held at Great Meadows.  They offer events year long, including Polo, the best Fireworks in the tri-county area, and myriad other activities.  

Just last week, I had a completely unexpectedly appealing evening at the sprawling and hugely diverse Orlean Market.  They had excellent live music, a hopping bar, an excellent and extensive dinner menu, indoor and outdoor seating, a great, authentic old-time Country General Store and Market, and even a Gasoline Pump!  Rumor has it the venue is only going to grow and expand, offering rooms and event services!

One can spend DAYS travelling the now famed and world renowned Fauquier County Winery and Vineyard Trail.  I understand Pearmund Cellars has been voted the Best Winery in Virginia!  

When one pauses to consider the evolution and development of our smaller villages and hamlets, and the attractions they offer, one begins to realize that Northern Fauquier County has indeed “Come into it’s Own”. Warrenton, Deleplane, Orlean, The Plains, and Especially MARSHALL (I’ll dedicate an entire paragraph to Marshall–watch this space, there will be entire Blogs dedicated to Marshall!), are in the midst of a culinary and cultural Renaissance.  

The Plains has remained a “one-t-intersection-hamlet”, with only four stop signs, yet offers some amazing new dining and shopping.  With the advent of The Front Porch, and Happy Creek Coffee and Tea (and Bicycles!), Griasole, and the Benchmark Standby, The Rail Stop Cafe, The Plains is ever-refreshing and interesting.  It is a delightful place to shop, view beautiful architecture, and people-watch from any one of it’s cafes and restaurants.  

And as for Marshall!  To witness an historic village undergo a true awakening, a Renaissance without the pretense of Gentrification, is a truly remarkable thing.  Main Street in Marshall is rapidly becoming a mecca for new, innovative, world class dining.  With the imminent burial of all power and utility lines, as well as the renovation of over a dozen historic buildings, Marshall truly will be the one to watch!  There are too many fine dining spots, and exciting events and activities to list here in this blog.  Marshall is even getting a double decker BUS cafe!  I can (and likely will!) devote and entire blog to the next generation of Marshall.  

Horses, Racing, Touring, Dining, Dining, and Dining!, Shopping, Live Music!, Festivals, Hiking, Sightseeing, and more History, Heritage, and Culture than one can find in many States, makes Northern Fauquier truly a Bloom worth watching, and Very little like the culturally barren tundra our Fine Mr. Young sang about some fifty years ago.

Sure, it isn’t, and never will be, Metropolis.  And that’s why we love it here! 

The CLOUD Difference is that we not only are involved in real estate, more importantly its the people, their lives and the lifestyle within their community.

Working together ensures our communities and our lifestyles.  Please spend some time to be aware, be informed and take action with in your community.  Show up at hearings.  Read the paper everyday.  Be involved in your community events & groups.

Why This is a GOOD IDEA

There is a Bridge;

A piece of our history, that can be saved, kept as a reminder of our past.  It is the last of its kind; 139 years old, way past it’s prime, not very pretty, and even in perfect nick, obsolete.  But it is poetic.  Driving or walking across it is a magical, immersive experience in our shared Heritage.  In its day, it was an engineering marvel.  People came from miles away just to admire the technology.  How times changed!  The bridge is a perfect example of a bygone era, a simpler time.  Let’s be honest—the Waterloo Bridge is little more than a museum piece.  It’s on an obscure side road, a short blue highway not two miles long, that has service from each end.  Were the bridge relegated to a walking or biking feature, the residents may have to drive a whole extra mile and a half!

There are many reasons for Not replacing the bridge.  The road serviced by the bridge, Rt. 622, is a very minor side road, not a busy commuter thoroughfare.  The single lane bridge creates no congestion.  There is minimal development along the road, and this is a Very good thing.  A one-lane, rickety old steel bridge May act as a shunt, throttling not only traffic, but development and urban sprawl.  I have heard some say that Marshall’s water dilemma was its saving grace, throttling its unchecked development.  Sometimes, “Slow and Deliberate” is superior to “We should build it and expand, because we CAN!”.  Perhaps this bridge may afford a bit of pacing.

Indeed, a modern concrete bridge would be completely out of place in that setting.  A replacement will cost over six million dollars.  Renovation of the existing bridge would cost less than three million.  A private donor has volunteered a million toward this renovation and preservation effort.  If renovations are not started soon, the bridge, its heritage and history, will be lost forever.  Were this a Snail Darter or a Spotted Owl, I feel the groundswell of support would be deafening!!

Preservation of this unwieldy, aesthetically unappealing and obsolete bridge is wholly and entirely worthwhile.  The Waterloo Bridge is a fine example of why folks move TO Fauquier County, and I hope its renovation leads to it being a feature for another hundred years.  People may come just to gaze at the antique wonder, walk along it or bicycle across it.  One cannot zoom along at 50 miles an hour along this road.  I feel we need more of that.  The places for gentle reflection and reminiscing are becoming frighteningly scarce.  The road, the community upon it, and the people that may come for the experience of the antiquity, are all perfectly served by the 136-year-old single lane bridge.

by Chris Cloud