Virginia Is For Lovers

That headline must have grabbed your attention. We loved our trip to Lynchburg, Virginia, this past weekend. It was a quick one. We flew from BDL to Lynchburg via Atlanta on Friday, and were home by 1:00 P.M. on Sunday. In between, Debbie ran the Mountain Masochist Trail Run.

The CRJ200 on the tarmac.

It was our first time to Lynchburg. I had been through Virginia a few times, but still didn’t have an appreciation for the Lynchburg area. It is chock full of colonial era and Civil War era history. We didn’t have any time to see the sites, like Appomattox, but we made note that we will have to visit again. We did get to visit the historic center of Lynchburg, and Shep and I got to drive sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway, while Debbie was running. We were close to Shenandoah National Park, but unfortunately, we missed visiting that park this time too.

Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia.

The flights were uneventful, but we did get to fly on a couple of Bombardier CRJ200’s for the Atlanta to Lynchburg leg and back. There isn’t a whole lot of room on those planes, but it is enough. It is a smooth ride and the fact that they are small makes boarding and unboarding really quick. The Lynchburg Airport was so small that there was only one baggage carousel and the rental cars were a 50 foot walk from the terminal entrance. That experience was the total opposite of my recent experiences with rental cars in Phoenix, Arizona, where the rental car complex is several times the size of Lynchburg’s whole airport.

We met a couple of friendly “punks” and shared a laugh.

Lynchburg itself, is a bear to navigate, and it is not a runner friendly city. The roads have no shoulders, there are no sidewalks, no crosswalks, and no signals or pedestrian aids. My only run, on Friday afternoon, was a disaster. I got lost, dodged vehicles, inhaled too much exhaust, and couldn’t find a toilet when I needed one. I still got six miles in, but it wasn’t much fun.

The proprietor of the Hot & Cold Cafe.

It is also worth noting that we had a nice lunch last Friday at the Hot & Cold Cafe in Lynchburg. The proprietor was wonderful. We chose some Indian selections from his menu. He had taken over the space from a Lebanese woman who ran a Mediterranean style restaurant. He kept some of her dishes on his menu, so it was an odd mix of Middle-Eastern and Indian fare. It worked, especially the mango juice that he convinced us to try. We were entertained throughout lunch by a salesman from a local Coca-Cola distributor.

Our friend the restauranteur was having fun with the salesman, who was trying to pitch him on a larger cooler, bottled water, more inventory, a wider selection of offerings, and “healthier drinks.” The last bit had us in stitches. Our Indian friend kept telling the salesman that if he offered mango drink, then he would buy it from him instead of his current source. The salesman kept trying to convince him that he was “underestimating his market” and that he should provide more options for his customers. He also tried to convince him to buy his soda from the distributor (with delivery charges) rather than from Sam’s Club, where it was cheaper. It was a hilarious view into the beverage products market and it was enjoyable to see a Coke guy strike out. I rememberd all of those marketing cases that we did on the beverage industry at HBS. There is no need for more filtered bottled water, not even in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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