Sunday, September 29, 2013

US 250 Revisited

Every once in a while on this blog, I like to write about highways I’ve enjoyed and have had some repeated acquaintance. For instance, I’ve lived in three different places serviced by Interstate 64 (although here in St. Louis, locals prefer to call it Highway 40, the older route now cosigned with 64).

I found this old Virginia US 250 sign on Ebay. What fun to remember that pretty highway that passes through Charlottesville, VA, where my wife Beth and I lived and attended school in the 1980s. US 250 passes straight through town, and there is also a bypass route around the northern portion of Charlottesville, so for three years we were on at least some portion of that highway nearly every day. It is the street of the Corner where the UVa campus shops are located, and also passes through downtown (although the downtown shopping district is a pedestrian mall).

I'm glad that I now remember our Charlottesville years fondly, because at the time we were stressed from the typical nuisances one suffers as a grad student, and from the snobbishness we sometimes encountered among store clerks and others. On some days, I assuaged my blues and aggravation with a country drive on highway 250, especially west of town where the road climbs the mountains and passes through pretty towns like Crozet, Waynesboro, and Staunton. Driving east of town, too, was a gorgeous drive, with pretty trees, but mostly I liked the highway west of Charlottesville. On pretty days, I liked to drive barefooted. We purchased our first computer---a Kaypro, remember those?---in Staunton, VA, and we discovered a still-favorite artist, P. Buckley Moss, because of her gallery in Waynesboro.

I found a Wikipedia photo of the highway, which gives you an idea of the beauty of the countryside of that road in Virginia. US 250 connects Richmond, VA and Sandusky, OH, passing through three states on its 514 mile journey. According to the site, the highway was established in 1928 (two years after the federal highway system began) and originally connected Norwalk, OH and Grafton, WV. Then the road was extended west and east in the early 1930s. It intersects US 50, its parent route, at the unincorporated Pruntytown, WV near Grafton.

If you move around the country, you might become reacquainted with favorite highways. During the years our daughter was in college in Pennsylvania, I noticed signs for 250 in Wheeling, WV, where the road briefly coincides with both US 40 and I-70. But I most enjoyed becoming reacquainted with the highway during our years in northeast Ohio in the 00s. We took I-80 over to the US 250 exit. North of the turnpike, the flat, mostly farmed land along 250 was to me very beautiful, a different kind of consoling geography than the mountains of Virginia. I looked forward to the times we drove up to that area to Cedar Point or one of the water parks. During a summer trip, while our daughter was at the amusement park with her high school friends, I visited nearby Sandusky where I found the western terminus of 250 at its intersection with the famous US 6 ( The happy associations of that route with family times brings a nice completion to our earlier acquaintance with the road, as basically happy though beleaguered doctoral students.

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