The Russell Sabbatical travel blog

sunset at Rocky Gap

blowing a "witch ball"

putting a hook on a witch ball

For 3 days, we have been driving up and down through the foothills of the Appalachians. It's really beautiful. I love the names of the valleys where people settle - it's either a "lick" (Saltlick), a hollow or gap, or run (Joe's Run). It was amazing to me how a town could exist in such a narrow place. We got off the interstate and drove about 80 miles of twisting, up and down, small town "highway". For a lunch break today, we stopped and watched an Appalachian glass blower make witch balls. They are glass balls (like ornaments), but have a "web" inside the glass. In England (and maybe here, too), people used to hang them in their windows to trap a witch in the web. When milk went sour, some believed that a witch had cast a spell, so sometimes the balls were used as stoppers in milk cans. There used to be 14 glass factories in Weston, West Virginia - now there's 1 left. They have done glass for major governmental and other functions. They say they used to be the glass blowing capital of the world. The high school used to teach glass blowing so that kids could get work in 1 of the factories.

We ended the day camped at Rocky Gap State Park in Flintstone, Maryland. It was set on a beautiful lake - quiet. We ended up there accidentally. How fun when accidents work out like that. It was 1 of our favorite places. We almost stayed an extra day. But we're anxious to get to Acadia before it gets too much colder. And it is getting colder - the days are nice (mid- 70's) and the nights are cold!

time for sleep. catch ya' later -


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