Today's agenda on the mini-getaway involved visiting a colonial-era town I'd read about online: Halifax, NC. According to Dweezil (my GPS's nickname. Husband's is Moon Unit. And please don't ask me how or why our electronic directional apps ended up named after Frank Zappa's children, because I just don't have an answer for you, except that...stuff happens, okay?) my trip would only take 15 minutes, so I headed out after the obligatory "tank up on coffee" phase of my morning, in hopes of being able to explore before the mercury rose too high.
When I arrived just after 10 a.m.--under an already sweltering blanket of heat (so much for that plan)--I parked my car and took a look around. Now, I've taken in my share of historic places over the years, and I guess I have kind of a preconceived notion of what they'll look like: quaint, charming villages whose Main Streets are lined with picturesque shops and cafes, and whose outskirts are dotted with accurately preserved or reproduced buildings from the period in which they belong. Um...yeeaaaahhh...Halifax was NOT that.
I could immediately see that there wasn't a whole lot to the town--only a couple of blocks in either direction. But the most striking thing was that...it was utterly silent and deserted. I mean, it was an eerie sensation, standing smack in the middle of the road to get the lay of the land, because not only were there no cars to plow me over, there were no people to yell at the crazy lady to get back on the sidewalk.
Given this scenario, it was somewhat mind-boggling to me that not only was the Visitor's Center open, there were 2 young ladies on duty, prepared to hand me the map I requested, or even offer me a guided tour if I so desired. However, a formal appointment seemed like overkill in this case, so I decided to be a brave adventurer, and go it alone. Without being able to actually go IN any of them--you need the chaperone for that--I can't say any of the structures were super-exciting. They mostly represented what you'd expect from a small town in the 1700s: a couple of taverns, a courthouse, a jail, a church and cemetery, a restored plantation.
I found it interesting that there was an Underground Railroad trail, which traced the path that anti-slavery sympathizers used to smuggle potential escapees down to the Roanoke River, where they could slip onto a ferry in the dead of night and eventually make their way to freedom. Also of note was the fact that, prior to the American Revolution, North Carolina's Provincial Government met here and adopted a document later referred to as the Halifax Resolves, which was the first official call for independence from England that was recommended by an entire colony.
However, after I'd sweated my way through all of the educational...stuff...and was perfectly ready to take a load off and maybe indulge in a TALL, frosty glass of iced tea, I discovered that...there's no such thing in Halifax. No touristy boutiques. No dining establishments. Of any kind. At all. The street that runs through the center of town is comprised of brick buildings...in various stages of disrepair...many of which stand empty...and as for the actual businesses, none of them were open. And STILL, there were no other human beings around...and only a couple of cars had passed through while I was meandering.
It was beginning to give me a distinctly spooky feeling the longer I was there, I tell ya. And did I mention the tragic dearth of cold drinks? Well, clearly this was my signal to hightail it out of there. (Frankly, I was dehydrated, dripping, and darn near on the verge of hallucinating. What I wouldn't give for a cool, inviting oasis...commonly known as "Sheetz"! Is that too much to ask? I'm really sooooo easy to please....)
Therefore, I decided to call it a day, and begin making my way back to my own part of North Carolina...where of course it's still hot and sticky...but at least I have icy beverages and...gluten-free...vegan snacks....waiting for me! And let's not forget: one more day of a calm, empty house, so...yaaayyyy!