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Sans Souci Ferry

The second cable ferry in North Carolina that I have been on is the Sans Souci Ferry in Bertie County to the east of Windsor.  The two car cable ferry over the Cashie River has roots that date back to the 1800s and has been under NCDOT oversight since the 1930s.  The ferry ride is free and takes about five minutes, though if it is on the other side of the river it'll be longer as you will need to blow your horn to get the attention of the operator and wait for the ferry to cross. It can also serve as a scenic backroad bypass of Windsor for those travelling on US 17 from Williamston to Edenton and points north. 

Directions:
From Williamston follow US 13/17 North to Cedar Landing Road and turn right.  Follow Cedar Landing Road to its end at Woodard Road.  Follow Woodard Road to ferry.  Once across the river follow Sans Souci Road to NC 308 to return to Windsor or continue on Sans Souci Road to NC 45 North to reach US 17. From US 17: Take NC 45 South to Sans Souci Road and turn right…

I believe this family may have out roadgeeked us all

In today's New York Times, there was a wonderful feature about a Pennsylvania family that has been taking annual New Years pictures in front of road signs since 1979.  Starting with a photo at the junction of Interstate 79 and 80 north of Pittsburgh to this year's photo in front of a PA 17 shield in rural central Pennsylvania, the Droz family has been incorporating road signs into their holiday cards. 

The theme behind the cards is that the road sign in the photo represents the coming year.  Many of the photos are in front of Junction signs or have arrows in them to signify how time marches on.  It's one of those things where you turn to your significant other and say, "Why didn't we think of that?!"  It's just another example of how you never know what people think when they see a photo of a road sign.

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Floyd

Floyd is one of the smallest county seats in Virginia.  At a population of just over 400 - Floyd is the county seat of the same county that shares its name.  However despite its small size, Floyd has a colorful history and its downtown is the center of Bluegrass Country.

Floyd County was formed in 1831 and named after Virginia Governor John Floyd who was raised nearby.  The county seat of Floyd was established three years later and was originally named Jacksonville after President Andrew Jackson.  The town was incorporated in 1858 and would have its named changed to Floyd in 1896. The town's population has ebbed and flowed around 400 residents since then.
Floyd is in the heart of Bluegrass County and Virginia's Crooked Road Heritage Trail winds through town on US 221 and VA 8.  The Floyd Country Store is not only a classic small town general store; it is home to the Friday Night Jamboree - a celebration of Bluegrass and Americana music - every Friday Night at 6:30.  Local resi…

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Brookneal

Like many towns within the Commonwealth of Virginia, Brookneal can trace some of its origins to one of our country's founding fathers.  For Brookneal, it was Patrick Henry who viewed the location for a ferry crossing over the Staunton River.  Henry would later retire here at the nearby Red Hill Plantation

Brookneal was established in 1802 and named after John and Sarah Brooke who owned a nearby tobacco warehouse in the area.  The town's close proximity to water and later rail made it a transportation hub for the nearby area. 


Today, Brookneal is a town of about 1,100 and is home to a nearby winery and a number of other local businesses. A popular restaurant, the Drug Store Grill, opened in 2010 in the former Williams Brothers Drug Store.  It is the building on the left in the photo below.  The Williams Brothers Drug Store housed a drug store on the bottom floor and a dentist office on the second floor.  The town post office was located in the middle of the three buildings …

Small Towns of Virginia Series - White Post, Virginia

Sometimes town or village names are named after people like the family that first settled there or the first postmaster, etc. Other places are named for a feature in the area. Then there is White Post, Virginia which is literally named after the white post that has stood near or at the intersection of White Post Road and Berrys Ferry Road for over 250 years.

Legend has it that in 1750, Lord Farifax directed George Washington to erect a white post near Ashby Gap-Winchester Road to direct travelers to nearby Greenway Court, home of Fairfax's Library. Obviously, the post is not the original.  It has been knocked down numerous times by unsuspecting motorists.

White Post is an unincorporated village off of US 340 in Clarke County.  Like many nearby areas, there are a number of Bed & Breakfasts within the town.  Also nearby is a classic roadside attraction, Dinosaurland.  This family friendly has been over for 50 years and features over 50 different dinosaurs. 



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1924 Wil-Cox Bridge Opening Photos

Earlier this month, I brought over the feature I did on the Wil-Cox Bridge on the old website to the blog.  The seven arch concrete open-spandrel bridge opened in 1924 and was a key piece of the Central Highway.  Recently, Ben Thurkill sent along a handful of photos from the bridge's 1924 opening.  The five photos below are part of the NCDOT archives.





Today, the Wil-Cox Bridge is slowly becoming a center piece for a regional park.  In August 2015, Davidson County Commissioners agreed to take over the bridge from the state.  The state transferred the $2.5 million that would have been used to demolish the historic bridge to the county.  Those funds are being used for bridge preservation and future development of the regional park.  In 2016, Davidson County purchased nearly 14 nearby acres that included Fort York, a Confederate Fort built in the waning years of the Civil War.  Davidson County intends on unveiling a master plan for the Wil-Cox Bridge, Fort York, and the regional …

It's a Wonderful Bridge

Located along US Route 20 (and New York State Routes 5 and 414), Seneca Falls, New York is known for a fair number of important events throughout its history. This town located within the Finger Lakes region of New York State is the home to the Women's Rights National Historical Park, for one. It is also said that Seneca Falls is the inspiration for the fictional town of Bedford Falls in the Christmas holiday film classic, It's a Wonderful Life.

As Frank Capra was developing his screenplay for the movie, he visited Seneca Falls as he had relatives living nearby. There are a number of similarities between Bedford Falls and Seneca Falls, such as the buildings in the towns, the location of Bedford Falls in Upstate New York and the bridge where in the film, George Bailey jumped into the water to save Clarence. In real history, there was a man by the name of Antonio Varacalli, who drowned while rescuing a young woman who had jumped off that bridge. The story of that event was adap…

Poinsett's Bridge

Hidden within the mountains of South Carolina's Upstate Region is one of the most majestic stone arch bridges you will ever see.  The Poinsett's Bridge was built in 1820 as part of what was then known as the State Road.  The State Road was a toll road that ran from Charleston through Columbia and into North Carolina.  Poinsett's Bridge was one of three stone bridge built along the route in which this particular segment was also known as the Saluda Mountain Road. (1)

The bridge is considered the oldest surviving bridge in the state - some speculate the entire southeast - and rises 24 feet over Little Gap Creek. The bridge's length is 130 feet. The most noteworthy feature of this bridge is the 15' high x 7' wide Gothic arch that bridges over the creek.  The stepped parapet side walls are also a distinguishing feature.

Poinsett Bridge is named after Joel R. Poinsett - who served as the Director of the South Carolina Board of Public Works at the time.  Poinsett …

Sunnybank Ferry

For over a century, the Sunnybank Ferry has carried travelers over the Little Wicomico River in Northumberland County.  The ferry first began operation in 1903 as a hand-pulled cable ferry over the Little Wicomico.  Nearly a decade later, in 1912, the human powered ferry would be replaced by a motorized one.  The A.L.E. -- named after ferry operator's Jynes Crabbe's children, Arley, Lois, and Elmer -- would carry horse and wagon and later automobiles until 1954 when the vessel was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel.  In 1955, a new ferryboat was commissioned, and it was appropriately named, The Hazel.  The Hazel was retired in 1985 by the Northumberland, which is still in use today. (1)

Today, the Sunnybank Ferry continues to carry locals, bicyclists, and curious tourists from one bank of the Little Wicomico to the other.  The ferry generally operates from dawn to dusk with the exception to inclement weather, higher than normal tides, or repairs to the Northumberland.  The ferry is o…

Jamestown - Scotland Ferry

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, which carries VA 31 traffic across the James River, is Virginia's largest inland ferry operation.  Running seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the four ferry boats (The Virginia, Surry, Pocahontas and Williamsburg - shown at left) that cross the James River run throughout the year.  Service began over 80 years ago on February 26, 1925 when the Captain John Smith made the initial crossing.  (1)

Not long after the initial voyage of the Captain John Smith, the first suggestion of building a bridge to replace the ferry was made in 1928.  Since then, there have been numerous discussions and proposals to build a bridge over the river, but none have gathered any steam.  The Virginia Department of Transportation took over the ferry operation in 1945 and continue to oversee ferry operations to this day.

Directions & Notes:
From Jamestown: Follow VA 31 South to ferry terminal at Glass House PointFrom Surry County: Follow VA 31 North through Scotland to ferry te…