Quantico

Spring is coming slowly to Northern Virginia.   With temps once again struggling to get above 60 degrees, I opted for a familiar route around Prince William Forest and onto Quantico Marine Corps Base.  I hoped to check in on the marina at the town of Quantico.

Quantico Town's Main Street, looking East

“Quantico Town” is in an odd location.  It is surrounded on three sides by Quantico Marine Corps Base (abbreviated MCB Quantico) and the town’s fourth side is the Potomac River.  So unless you have a boat, you need to pass through the base to get to the town.  Only a few hundred people live in Quantico Town and as you may suspect they tend to be associated with the base or providing the kinds of services Marines would like, such as barber shops, banks, pizzerias, sandwich shops, and dry cleaners.  I pedaled on one of the two side streets and quickly made it to the marina, which was closed.

Bummer.

Still, there is a small park near the marina, where I stopped to eat a Clif Bar and drink some water.  I took the below picture and was surprised to see when I got home that my lens was foggy from sitting in my jersey pocket.  That’s the first time that has ever happened. 

The view from the park, looking South through a foggy lens

One of Quantico MCB's first buildings, right next to the railroad tracks

Quantico is Algonquin for “Place by the large stream,” which is appropriate as Quantico Creek is a good-sized waterway.  The town was originally owned by the Quantico Company and the area was used as an excursion destination for Washingtonians with boats.  In 1917, the Marines bought much of the city land from the company and founded Quantico MCB.  The rest, as they say, is history.

My route home brought me to my nemesis, Van Buren Drive, which I scaled in fine form.  I took the entire climb out of the saddle, which is a first for me.  Looks like my arctic training is paying off.  The rest of the ride was uneventful, although there were a large number of car accidents and near-misses along my journey.  I wasn’t involved in any of them, but there must have been something in the air today as I saw one accident and two near-misses.

Historical Marker Segment!

Today, I hit the mother lode – FOUR markers side by side!  It’s almost impossible to read even one of these markers as you sail by in a car.  Why the historical societies of Prince William County and Virginia decided on placing four markers on Route 1, just north of Dumfries, is inexplicable.  I will probably be the only person to actually read these signs for many weeks, so it is the least I can do to share them with you here.

Four signs in one spot - a new record. You can see Rte 1 on the left.

Here, in one spot, we learn that all sorts of Revolutionary War heroes traipsed up and down this road in 1781, that Jeb Stuart passed through here on one of his many Civil War raids, and that Dumfries actually used to be a significant town (which is difficult to believe today).  Finally, we are told that we owe everything to a Scotsman named Graham, who founded Dumfries in 1749 when sixty acres “were taken from his plantation” to build the city.  That’s an interesting turn of a phrase.  I wonder why his acreage was “taken.”  Sadly, the sign is silent on this point!

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