Although I've lived in Virginia since 1990, I never tire of traveling its length and breadth, for my adopted home is a gorgeous land of rolling hills sandwiched between flat seashore and soaring mountains. It's so pleasing to the eye that I have trouble keeping mine on the road. This is especially true on extraordinarily scenic roads such as the winding, mountaintop Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, the crown jewel of many preserved areas that beckon outdoor adventurers.
While we struggle to overcome modern problems such as urban sprawl, pollution, and unemployment, we also revere a past in which Jamestown gave birth to English-speaking America, Williamsburg flamed the fires of independence, and the American Revolution was won at Yorktown. Some 60% of all Civil War battles were fought on Virginia soil, and one of its own commanded the doomed Confederate effort. Descendants of America's early patriots and Confederate rebels still live here, and the homes, monuments, and battlefields that shaped our country's history comprise the daily landscape.
So well preserved are our historic sites that it's easy to imagine George Washington still standing siege outside Yorktown, Thomas Jefferson still writing great political prose up at Monticello, and Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson still riding at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Washington's Mount Vernon, Jefferson's Monticello, the restored 18th-century village of Colonial Williamsburg, and the preserved Civil War battlefields are among our most-visited attractions.
The past also is present in our popular culture, for the mountains of Virginia were the incubator for Blue Grass, Old Time, and Traditional country music, and many of our musicians play the tunes exactly as did their forebears. We even have an official driving route to several of country music's most revered shrines.
And let's not forget food, for dishes such as Sally Lund bread and peanut soup have survived from Colonial times. You might say we even eat history here in Virginia!
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