Tag Archives: Lexington

Cooking the BBQ

Have You Been to Lexington?

Have you been to Lexington begs the answer, “Which one?” Lexington, Massachusetts is the oldest municipality with the name and Lexington, Kentucky is the largest city. There are cities named Lexington in Alabama, California (now a ghost town), Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. I’ve visited three, so far, all memorable for very different reasons.

Massachusetts

When I first hear the name Lexington, my thoughts skip to the famous Battle at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. On April 19, 1775, they became the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War, 

The Battle of Lexington

On the night before the clash, Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott galloped on horseback to warn that the British were coming. The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising in Lexington. Eight militiamen died. The confrontation proceeded on to Concord, resulting in many casualties. 

Patriot’s Day Parade

Patriot’s Day, originally April 19, is now observed on the third Monday in April. A reenactment of the horse ride and battle coincides with the historical event, so you must get to Lexington’s Battle Green before sunrise. The entire drama takes no more than 40 minutes, but the poignant scene stabbed me to the core, like a wound from the bayonets carried by the soldiers. We often forget the Revolutionary War, but this annual drama pays tribute to those early colonists and the freedoms they sought. 

Re-enactors of the Battle at Lexington

Virginia  

Another Lexington I’ve visited a few times is Lexington, Virginia, a small town in the Shenandoah Valley. Lexington is home to the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Washington & Lee University (where my son graduated), and about seven thousand residents. While Confederate generals are no longer celebrated, I must say I fondly recall the serene Lee Chapel as the campus highlight.  This National Historic Landmark is the burial site of Robert E. Lee. His horse, Traveller, is interred outside, and many people leave sugar cubes on the horse’s grave.  The church’s basement contains a museum featuring the history of the school, highlighting the time when Lee was the college president. 

The Lee Chapel

Other attractions to see include the restored Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson house.  Tours revolve around Jackson’s life before the Civil War, including his tenure as a VMI professor. 

Lexington’s carefully preserved downtown is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Shops offer fine art, Virginia-made gifts, jewelry and more. Visitors enjoy a carriage ride through the downtown and remember Virginia is for Lovers.

Carriage Ride in downtown Lexington, VA

North Carolina

Lexington, North Carolina, calls itself the Barbeque Capital of the World. No visit is complete without Lexington style barbeque, made from pork shoulders cooked over hardwood coals. This century-old method involves smoking the pork for hours and then chopping or slicing it, leaving bits of crispy, brown skin.  The meat comes with a thin ketchup-and-vinegar sauce called “dip,” a distinctive red slaw, hush puppies, and sweet tea. While the meal is nothing fancy, you’ll find it finger-licking good in all of Lexington’s 15 BBQ restaurants. 

Smoking the BBQ

Lexington. NC also offers a fascinating collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and furniture from  North Carolina’s most famous living artist, Bob Timberlake. Visitors also enjoy the Richard Childress Racing Museum,  one of NASCAR’s top race shops and museums. The championship cars driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr. prove to be the most popular.  To round out your visit, stop by any of the 19 vineyards and tasting rooms that are earning NC winemakers rave reviews. 

Richard Childress Racing Museum

Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky, is another famous city, this one known as the Horse Capital of the World, plus the birthplace of Bourbon and Bluegrass music.  

Kentucky is horse country.

While it ranks high on my bucket list,  I have not been there—yet.  Visitors tour Keeneland Race Course and Kentucky Horse Park in the early morning to see workouts, plus walk the pastures at  Old Friends, a thoroughbred retirement farm. Don’t miss the 14 bourbon distilleries and their tasting rooms, Mary Todd Lincoln’s historic home, plus the famous Kentucky Castle in the middle of Horse Country.  

Again barrels of bourbon

You can’t go wrong in any of four of the cities named Lexington.   How many have you seen?

Tale of Two Men: Richard Childress & Bob Timberlake

This is a story about two men from the same town in North Carolina: Lexington.

It appeared  in Luxe Beat Magazine in January, 2015: Tale-of-Two-Men-Richard-Childress-and-Bob-Timberlake

Timberlake & Childress

Timberlake & Childress

Please use this link to read the article: http://luxebeatmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Tale-of-Two-Men-Richard-Childress-and-Bob-Timberlake.pdf

A Wake-Up Call: The Re-Enactment of the Battle of Lexington

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Redcoats fire their muskets

One lantern in Old North Church meant that the British were marching on land.  Paul Revere galloped on horseback from Boston to Lexington. He spread the alarm, awakening every house along the road.

I was warned to awaken by the alarm on my cell phone. I knew, “The British were coming, get down to the town green.”  And by the time I arrived at 5:00 AM, a huge crowd had gathered.

In Massachusetts, The Battle of Lexington is re-enacted yearly on Patriot’s Day, on the very ground were it first took place in 1775. From the actions on that field the Revolutionary War began.

Today locals participate in costume, some taking on the role of  anarchists or members of the British regiment.  Many children also dress in colonial garb. They stay with their mothers, running onto the battle field after the conflict to tend the wounded, while other young lads beat drums in the corps.

The battle has been staged for 38 years to honor those who fought for our freedom. The scene is solemn, the crowd is hushed and the participants act with pride. The pre-dawn ceremonies begin with an announcer recounting the story of April 19, 1775, the fateful day of “the shot heard round the world .”

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The British Regiment

The actual fight was very brief; the colonists were confused and lacked leadership. The British regiment marched in unison, their lobster red coats piercing the early morning fog.

No one knows who fired the first shot, but after it was heard, mayhem broke out on the green and the local militia retreated. They were defeated in the skirmish, fell back and regrouped.

In 1775, many colonists traveled to nearby Concord to join other rebels. There they surprised and over powered the British. All day, they attacked the troops along what is now called Battle Road .

As I watched from the back of the crowd, the young children around me gasped at the face to face combat and rifle smoke. The teens were drawn into eye witnessing living history.  But, I was awestruck by the bravery of the fighting men.  The courage and bravado these first Americans showed was immense; they truly were passionate in their beliefs.

The crowd of thousands, present at the early hour, bespoke of their reverence for the day. I viewed the event as a wake up call, one that left me with a clearer understanding of Patriot’s Day and the debt we owe our forefathers.

The Boston area offers a variety of activities on this holiday weekend:  the annual Boston marathon, Red Sox games, the re-enactment of Paul Revere’s ride and the battles at Lexington and Concord. However, the small town of Lexington (population 30,000) deserves to be especially proud of the dignity preserved during their event. The re-enactment at dawn runs on time, remaining faithful to history. I was humbled and honored to stand on sacred ground.

Meeting the volunteer actors
Meeting the volunteer actors after the battle