World’s Largest Five and Ten

                              The Largest Variety Store in the World.

My hotel in East Aurora, New York was near the downtown, so once I got settled, I decided to explore. Didn’t take me long to realize that a good part of the central block was ALL one company.
Named Vidl*r’s 5 & 10, the store has been there since 1930.
The story goes that back then Robert Vidl*r’s mother-in-law did not like driving the entire way to Buffalo just to get some thread. Being a kind son-in-law, Robert decided to open a variety store right there in town. The Depression was very much happening and most people didn’t think the store would be open more than eight weeks.
Surprise!
The store continued to expand and in the 60’s and 70’s, a series of homey commercials with sons Bob and Ed made the destination even more popular.
Today Vidl*r’s is run by a third generation of the Vidle*r family. The main part of the store has the same wood floors and counters as it did back in 1930, but the store is now 20 times larger than it was then.
Vidl*r’s is in four connected buildings and has two floors. You can browse through 75,000 products and that takes awhile. On the roof is a giant-size “Bob Vidl*r” more commonly known as Vidl*r on the Roof.
I did walk through the store … I can’t remember if I bought anything – if I did, it might’ve been a Mallow Cup. (I was by myself, in a rental car, so didn’t want to cart too much stuff around.) A lot of what they have is trinkety dime store stuff, but it’s interesting and I guess busloads of tourists come to see it … because it is, after all —-

                              The Largest Variety Store in the World.

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HARPERS FERRY

After Antietam we made our way to Harpers Ferry. (Originally it was Harper’s Ferry, but since then has become Harpers Ferry, although some people still write it Harper’s Ferry – yep, that grammatical fact is part of it’s history.)

WHERE: Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet and where John Brown staged his raid.

WHAT: Ok – some facts about Harpers Ferry:

*Thomas Jefferson visited there and stood on top of the Jefferson Rock to see how the Potomac flowed through the Blue Ridge. However, at that time, it was not called Jefferson’s Rock. It was just a rock, but when he stood on it, it started being called Jefferson’s Rock. He said the view was “perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature.” However, we’ll never know, because you can no longer stand on it. The view, however, is little changed from 1854.

*Washington also went to Harpers Ferry and thought it would be a good spot for an armory and arsenal. Some of Washington’s  family also moved there – like his great-great nephew who was held hostage during John Brown’s raid.

* The big event happened when John Brown (along with 21 other men) staged a raid on the arsenal and several other buildings to instigate a slave uprising.  He didn’t accomplished what he came to do (actually he ended up being hung for treason), but he did get the attention of the people.

*During the Civil War, the town changed hands anywhere from 8-14 times (depending on which historian you read), both sides wanted it because of it’s location on the railroad and the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley.

AND: Harpers Ferry is the “psychological” midpoint of the Appalachian Trail although it really isn’t the middle. But because of that there is overnight parking at the visitor’s center – which is where we parked – not to hike, but to go into D.C. It was a convenient location to leave the car.