Lisa Currie

By Lisa Currie

Shenandoah County is known for its six little towns strung along the Valley Pike’s dotted white line like little diamonds in the rough. Each little town from Strasburg to New Market has its own personality – its own history and legends.

Route 11 – also known as the Old Valley Pike – a road that stretches from Slidell, Louisiana, to upstate New York – is one of the oldest roads in the United States, a path the first people of this continent would have formed. It bends and twists its way through town and over hill as it stretches along the East Coast. This connects our little towns like a ribbon – stringing along over hill and dale.

Many people who live in this area travel this road every day – avoiding the chaos that is often found on the interstate that runs pretty much parallel to the Old Valley Pike. And in traveling north to south or south to north in the county, people often travel right through the county’s (and one of the state’s) smallest incorporated towns – Toms Brook.

So slow down, will you? Yes, Toms Brook is a town, a town with one sidewalk and many slow–moving people – right now that’s me (I’m injured and can’t run)! Yes, Toms Brook’s Main Street looks like a racetrack – hills on either end with a straight stretch in the middle – but this town is not a speedway.

If you slow your speed when traveling through town, you might experience some of Toms Brook’s wonders. If you slow down, you might see our bobcats! Yes ... we know there are two bobcats, but tracks at the north and south end of town may indicate there are more. Bobcats are really elusive and solitary animals, so getting the opportunity to see one could be a monumental event in your life. Driving too fast could cause you to miss that opportunity.

If bobcats don’t interest you, maybe you will see our bears. We have at least two – last year one even visited my backdoor. Yeah ... right at the back door – peering in the glass. In town, there’s a bear on the east, and there’s a bear on the west. We are not sure if these bears are related or that they even know each other, but the bears’ visits to town are well documented.

If bears and bobcats don’t interest you, you might see our deer and skunks and raccoons. If you go slowly at night, motion lights flashing are usually an indicator that these critters are making their nightly rounds.

So slow down and enjoy the scenery when traveling through wild and wonderful Toms Brook. We might not have a stoplight, but we might have more natural action than the other towns around us.

Toms Brook resident Lisa Currie is a professor of English as another language and an adviser at the Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown. She has worked at The Shenandoah Valley Herald and various other newspapers in Virginia.