River and Rail
Find more Bike Rides in Huntington, WV
Whoo hoo! My first day off from babysitting, while Brent was at work and I had somewhere to go with the children on our bikes. It’s like that dawning dewy morning with tweeting birds and lavender wafting in the windows. Simply refreshing.
It’s the first day of spring and 83F. Here’s the photo tour.
|Miles Walked: 0||Biked: 22.9||Bused: 0||Drove: 5||Carpool: 0||This week|
|127.1||1732.6||1176.6||3129.3||200.9||Since August 14, 2011|
This town isn’t very large, making it a great one for walking and biking. Our common destinations are the grocery (5 miles roundtrip most directly), the school (4m r/t), Marshall University (3m r/t), downtown (5m r/t). The interesting thing about all of these are the routes you take depending on the mode of transportation. It would be rather convenient to be able to walk the same path we bike, or bike the same path we drive, but we can’t/don’t/won’t.
As an example, because it was brought to mind today, our travels to downtown. When we drive to Heritage Station, we would typical use this route (2 miles one way):
It’s quick and direct. It’s not ideal for bikes because of the heavier volume of faster auto traffic and not a great one to walk because the sidewalks are not buffered from the street.
If we were on bikes, we choose this one (2.25 miles one way):
We are able to avoid the traffic areas mostly and some tricky blind intersections for turning onto more favorable and direct streets. The road condition isn’t great, but we have learned to work with it by going slow and knowing where there are bumps.
When I went to walk to retrieve my bike today, I began following my bike route, and soon realized it wasn’t fit for walking, so we went this way (2.25 miles one way):
This walking route was still not the best way to go. We came across a lot of missing, broken or narrow sidewalk. Most of the intersections are being replaced with ramps, but not all. I knew it would be as such, so I had Oliver in the backpack, not a stroller. There were roads without sidewalks I had forgotten about, but didn’t care to turn around to find one that had them. Little legs can only tolerate so much walking. Fortunately we were able to walk through lawns and on the street without too much incident with the cars, as there were few.
See the album of our walk/bike adventure HERE.
Should we be talking about complete streets? Oh we should? Good, because WV is getting on board with the program. It’s never too late, we just all know it’s going to be slow.
Thursday last week, Stacy G. and I were presenting the Tour de PATH to the Downtown Partners requesting sponsorship and providing information about the ride. Try as I might, none of my sitter options worked out and I took three boys to a business suit gathering at the CVB. My plan was to occupy my youngest two with sugary cookies from River & Rail Bakery and hope baby L was sleeping or happy in my arms. The plan worked. Children with cookies, baby sleeping. The presentation was quick and successful and we then we loittered about.
We were walked around Heritage Station in the rain, letting the boys run and jump and play. We scheduled another meeting with the Shopkeepers Association and then drove over to Pita Pit to make introductions. Nathan, the owner, had supplied me with some fabulous data about their bicycle delivery service for the LAB BFC application, and I wanted to shake his hand in gratitude and let him know about the Tour. I am still raving about their efforts to support bicycling with their employees and with the community. 80% of their deliveries are by bike in fair weather. They purchased a bike for the shop, and outfitted it with a bread basket rack. They organized a training ride with the Huntington police department and help costumers lock up out back if they arrive by bike.
We arrived in two vehicles and had to pay a quarter to the meter. Not fun. Then Stacy G. and I parted ways. I was heading to Trendy Tots to drop off two totes full of consign-able clothing. I discovered no street side parking, a blocked alley way, no rear parking and a blocked road. I ended up parking on the other side of a four lane and ran across the middle of the street with totes, leaving children in the car. At this point I was miffed at my transportation situation. On the bike, I could have parked at the door. Granted, it was raining, but lightly, and I like the rain. Alas, baby L is too little, and not my baby, so van it was. In and out, in and out. Buckles, straps, sliding doors. 5.6 miles of cruising around town.
All in all, the boys were wonderful. I don’t plan to take them out if I don’t need to, but I held it together for this trip. The largest inconveniences were needing hot water to warm the baby bottle, carrying two of the children, and their bags, changing diapers on the go, and everyone getting off their nap schedules when they fell asleep during the 2 mile drive home. It’s times like these I feel I need to call in a Duggar for consult.
We certainly enjoy the River and Rail Bakery on occasion. We like a quiet, unique place that is welcoming to the whole family. That it has good coffee, something sweet, live music events, and a rail to lock our bikes, just adds to the warm vibe. The building is the old rail station and I can’t get over the brick work, parked trains and cars converted to shops. It’s a real Huntington treasure and treat to visit Heritage Station.Our family had a special treat of our own this weekend when close family friends drove down for a visit. I helped arrange a ladies breakfast with Karen, my visiting friend, and two others at River and Rail on Saturday morning. Yet our good time didn’t end there. We walked the shops. It tickled me to find so many unique items, many hand crafted, most of them local. Of course I didn’t buy a thing besides day old breakfast cookies (1/2 off!) and a mocha, but I loved everything I saw.
We stumbled into Finds and Designs, newly relocated to the shopping district. The feel in this location was more appropriate to the vintage merchandise. Everything felt like it belonged in my home, and yet nothing in my house is vintage or retro.
MiAppa retails all local artisans and runs a bit like a co-op. The artists and craftsmen run the shop and keep it open for business. They had a gallery side for two dimensional works and a side full of fiber art, wood working, glass beads, jewelry and more. This was my first trip in here as well. My friend Kari Newman has been trying to get me in for ages! She makes the most charming glass beads and often demos her work at Heritage Farms, where she was on Saturday.
Next door we wondered around Common Ground, another local talent shop. It was full of practical re-purposed pieces. My favorites were the tin tile magnet board and wooden frame chalk message center. Functional and fun. In the back of the shop was a garden center of sorts. There were a lot of fresh gift ideas for green thumbs. My mental note list was growing so long I had to take pictures of everything.
We strolled through a few more shops then said good bye to our pals before suiting up, mounting our bikes and rolling home. Oh yes, Karen agreed to bundled up for a 29 degree ride. This was her first time on a bike since she was about 8 years old. I liked her pace. Very slow. I didn’t come home exhausted, I came home and laced up my tennis shoes and tried to go for a run (it didn’t work out too well). Our trip was about 5 miles in all. We left in the freezing cold and come home in the low 50s. Such is a December day in Appalachia.
We spent a relatively warm afternoon at home, while Karen and kin visited with other friends. Then we turned over the engine on our van, Highspeed, and drove to Ashland, KY (35miles round trip) for the Wonderland Lights. It was one of Avery’s birthday wishes to be with his two best buds. The trip to Ashland allowed us to meet back up with Karen’s crew and Avery’s other friend’s family. His actual birthday is a couple of weeks away.
We strolled about, took the tractor-train through the park and oohed and awed with the children. We skipped seeing Santa in the cabin this year and passed by the free cookies and hot chocolate. Avery’s wish included Baskin Robbins, so we headed back across town in search of ice cream cake. 14 people finished off the largest cake in their case in less than 15 minutes. 9 happy hoppy children, 5 bliss and Oreo filled adults (we were missing one child at a sleepover and one adult called into work).
BR was inside a gas station. The ideal impromptu birthday party, right? Well, it made for a convenient fill up, since gas was $3.22/gallon in KY. I will work up our fuel economy later, but I could tell with the little math I did last night at the pump, it wasn’t good.
With our friends here for one night and two days we didn’t really have a lot of places to go. We enjoyed our time at our house most of this morning, on this unseasonably warm December day. It was mid 60s people. We kicked all the children outside and called all the neighbor children over to join them. I turned off the heat, opened the windows and traded stories with our friends. They left near lunch to see old neighbors and then headed home for school and work tomorrow. We spent the remainder of our day “spring” cleaning and preparing for our week.
We were very happy to host such a wonderful family. It is the brightest and best parts of our lives to fill our home with friends. We are warmed to share all we have and thankful their children so graciously filled our children’s beds. We are grateful to have the space to accommodate five more loved ones and most of all the time to enjoy our lives with them. Thank you Karen for always being so understanding and adventurous. We look forward to our next visit your way.
View Larger Map
|Miles Walked: 0||Biked: 5||Bused: 0||Drove: 0||Carpool: 0||This week|
|100.7||1055.1||12.6||800.2||0||Since August 14, 2011|