and resting a bit I took off to explore Martinsburg. The AAA guidebook and the
web had given me some basic facts: Population about 15,000, county seat for Berkeley
County, WV and close enough to make a perfect base for visits to Antietam or Harper’s Ferry.
The hotels (there were
two in the complex where I stayed, and, as I found upon making a wrong turn when leaving the hotel, a good sized mall up the
road) were impossible to miss from I81. Many thanks to Shirley, the friendly
box office lady at the Apollo, for her recommendation of what would be the most convenient hotel! It had lovely large rooms
with 3 foot high fridges and microwaves, irons and other wonderful conveniences. With
the normal 3-4 people, the nightly rate would have been a steal! The location
was also nearly perfect. Finding both the Apollo Theater and the “Old Federal
Building” where the reception after the show was being held, was not complicated, which would make getting back late
at night, alone and exhausted much easier. Now that the geography questions were settled, I could play tourist. I pulled out my camera and drove around taking pictures. (We will draw a veil over what the residents thought
was going on when they saw this person in a car with NY tags taking pictures of what are to them everyday sights!)
Not to take anything away
from the region in which is located, but to me Martinsburg brings to mind many of the Hudson River towns in NY, as well as
those by the Delaware River in both NJ and PA. The town is quite hilly, with
many lovely old Victorian homes and churches. Some of the homes have been beautifully restored, while others make a good effort
and for others you can see that they are well kept, but the money to do more is just not there. Many of the streets still
seem to have either the original cobblestones, or very authentic looking replacements, and trees are everywhere. The “Downtown” area is a cluster of streets full of mom and pop stores and restaurants, the
sort of places who hurt badly when business gets sucked out to the big box stores on the edges of a city.
Drove around some more
then headed back to the Apollo to scope out the parking situation, then turned downhill toward the railroad station and alas,
found that the tourist info center had closed at 4. I took more pics of the depot
and the buildings in the area, then made another attempt at a decent photo of the theater. Roamed around for about 2 hours
total, then headed back to the hotel to shower, iron clothes and change.
By 7:30 I was ready to
go; clothes ironed, makeup and perfume on. Checked purse about 50 times to make sure camera, purse and ticket, room key and
car keys were there. Went to elevator and got in.
Elevator stopped, I went to get out, then realized that I wasn’t on the lobby floor, as people were waiting there
to get in. Said “OH!” and excused myself, trying to back unobtrusively
back into the elevator to let CHIP AND DAVID SELBY get in the elevator!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Bad enough to have ANY audience when
you do the absent minded elevator trick, but did it have to be THEM?????) I’m
sure if my eyes had gotten any bigger they would have rolled right across the elevator floor, so no doubt he knew I recognized
him and was there for the play! He was carrying a HUGE “goodie basket”
that he had presumably received from either the theater or a well wisher. It
was about the size of a small Volkswagon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I managed to get
out a polite “Good evening” (intending it for both of them), but only he answered, and asked “How are you”
to which I responded “Fine thank you and yourselves?” The elevator landed so I got no reply. I got out first and
was holding the elevator to keep it from snapping as many of them do, but Mrs. Selby told me I needn’t. My grandmother trained me well. I didn’t try to explain that I do that for EVERYONE, but said “Yes
Ma’am” and walked on ahead down the hallway and toward the lobby and the hotel entrance.