Day Tripping - DC Metro
New Market, Virginia
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New Market
Items of Interest: Antiques, Restaurants
(Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley just off
Interstate 81 (exit 264) - 2-hour drive from DC

At the end of our suggested trip down Route 11 is the historic town of New Market, Virginia. This location is known most widely for an important Civil War battle on May 15, 1864.

Virginia Museum of the Civil War - Photo Courtesy of the Museum

At the Battle of New Market, teenage cadets of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) were pressed into service by Confederate General John Breckinridge in a successful effort to delay the North's march on Richmond, Virginia.

That battle is reenacted each year in mid-May, on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market.

There is more to New Market than the "Battlefield Historical Park," even though that experience is enjoyed by tourists year round. You can meander down Congress Street, the main street in the town, and enjoy antique shops, and restaurants. One of our favorite locations appears below.

The participation of the VMI Cadet Corps in the Battle of New Market marks a moment when young people - college students - were called upon to accomplish an assignment of heroic proportions.

Called out of their classrooms on 11 May, the Corps marched 80 miles over four days (much of it in a soaking rain). On 15 May the Corps found itself in the center of the Confederate reserve line as General Breckinridge called for an infantry attack.

"Put the Boys In" by Don Troiani
Gift to VMI by the Class of 1976

Fate as much as planning resulted in the VMI Cadets advancing across a field into the path of waiting Union artillery and Infantry. The conduct of the cadets would determine the outcome of the struggle.

The charge was a success and brought victory to the Confederates.

Southern Kitchen
9576 Congress St.

Every now and then, it does the soul good to forget the diet you're on and travel back to a quieter time when food was REALLY tasty, the restaurant was not intimidating, and the folks who eat there are just like those you grew up with. At least if you're our age (not going to tell), this was a time of the 50's and 60's in rural Virginia.

And the Southern Kitchen in New Market, Virginia, fits the bill to a tee. This is a popular, friendly restaurant with an excellent wait staff and fast service.

Their fried chicken is just not to be believed. It is succulent, fried to a perfection, and wonderfully non-greasy. The restaurant itself takes you back in time - and you enjoy the trip.

We return to Southern Kitchen when we can, and did so on Saturday, April 15, 2006, and again on Sunday, May 15, 2011.

There were many other tempting choices on the menu as usual that April day before Easter, but we just couldn't help but order the fried chicken once again - Tom selected the breast platter and I (Ron) went with the chicken livers. Everything was up to par and more. The service was perfect, the Iced Tea just right, the rolls hot, and the chicken fresh and delicious.

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Southern Kitchen
(Click on Photo for More Images)

And in May of 2011, we both had the fried chicken. Good things never change and we were truly satisfied once more.

After the chicken, don't forget to try any of their desserts. You will regret it if you don't. On this Saturday in April, we selected the coconut creme pie which was hot out of the oven. This dessert was a joy.

Home-cooked comfort food, the specialty of this restaurant, is simply not to be missed - especially when it can be enjoyed in their reminiscent 50's atmosphere! Make the effort - take the drive and enjoy the beauty of rural Virginia along Interstate 81 (or better still, along Route 11, which parallels I-81, and see a Virginia not much changed from the mid-20th Century).

Our Rating (Five Chefs is Highest)