For the last stop on our travel adventures this month, I’d like to take you to the last state we lived in before settling in Pennsylvania.
While my Army husband was stationed in Washington D.C., we lived in northern Virginia, first on base and later a few miles south in a house of our own. Virginia is a well-rounded state. It’s technically southern, but you wouldn’t know that in the northern part of the state. It has huge cities (including the metro D.C. area that merges into Arlington, Crystal City, and Alexandria. Did you know that the Pentagon is in Virginia, not in D.C.? So is Arlington Cemetery.) It has beaches and lakes and plenty of trees and rolling hills. It has history galore. And it has scenic getaway trails.
I’m sure everyone knows Quantico Marine Corps base is in Virginia. Did you also know that there is a town of Quantico? It’s not part of the base but it is surrounded by the base you so you have to drive through it to get there. The photo on the left is in the town, along the pier.
Everyone also knows Virginia was a major part of Civil War history. Fredericksburg is in the lower part of northern Virginia, a short drive from Quantico and D.C. (short in distance that is, but possibly a 3 hour drive if you hit traffic at the wrong time!). It’s not a big city and other than some one way roads, it’s easy enough for any average driver to maneuver. For those into history, be sure to stop at the Battlefield.
If you’re looking for family fun, King’s Dominion amusement park is a favorite of the area. It’s a bit south of Fredericksburg, right off I95.
For nature lovers and adventurers, head west to the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Not long after hubby convinced me we had to have a Harley (he was retiring from the Army and figured he’d earned it!), and after I got used to being on the bike (which took all of about a half an hour, never mind I was terrified of the idea), friends came down from New York and we ventured to western Virginia to take a trip from the starting point of the Blue Ridge Mountains down as far as we could in one day and still get home to the kids that evening.
A gorgeous trip! Do it by car instead if you have to, but I highly recommend it at least once.
While you’re out that way, you might stop at Natural Bridge and walk the trail. Be sure to take walking shoes! Boots, especially new boots still stiff, make the stairs to get to the trail, and I mean plenty of stairs, a little hard to handle. Once you get there, though, your feet won’t matter. Take the path alongside the bridge back into the woods where you’ll find a cave or two, a Native American encampment, and plenty of photo ops!
Transplanted Virginians soon learn that while grass may be hard to keep green during the summer, and you may need good hiking boots to pull weeds from garden patches in your front yard to prevent rolling down the hill with one good pull, there are plants that love the Virginia dirt and weather. Azaleas thrive there. So did my morning glories and hollyhocks. My roses, not so well. But then, I’m a rather lazy gardener. I’m sure they’d do great with a touch more care.
Oh, and never mind it’s a southern state. It does snow, also. Even an inch of snow is likely to close everything down, though, so unless you’re one of
those “must-have” people at work (as many are in the area), you can kick back and enjoy it from your front porch until it melts, often later that day.
Another thing I loved about living in Virginia and driving around during daily errands as well as traveling as we could was all of the stone walls and wood fences, plus the walking paths and bike trails.
It could take me a month’s worth of blog posts to show off all of the gorgeous photos I grabbed during the seven years we lived in the state. I do miss it at times. I miss being able to metro into DC from Alexandria. I miss the amazing history so close and all around us (our house stood where part of the fighting took place). I do not ever miss the traffic or having to time whenever I want to go out to be sure I don’t come close to rush hour where a ten minute drive can turn into an hour, or house prices being three times (appr.) more than they are here.
Overall, Virginia is an incredible state and well worth a visit.
If you read my post on the 1st of the month, you got a hint about why I chose travel as this month’s blog theme. It’s November, Nanowrimo month. Today is the last day to hit 50,ooo words of a new novel to be called a winner. Personally, I think anyone who makes a good attempt is a winner. My novel this year follows a biker on a quest, a strictly literary venture, that begins in Pittsburgh and ends … in Virginia. More or less. It does and it doesn’t.
I’ve yet to get close to reaching the end of the first draft. I have hit 46,000+ words as of last night at 11 pm, which leaves me 4,000 today to finish. I’ve had to do an incredible amount of research for it, although I’ve never before bothered to research during Nano, and almost never during a first draft. (Sometimes I do a bit before I start just to get my setting straight in my head.) This one is impossible to write without research. It’s running through small town America. I’m excited to see where it leads me.
Last year’s Nanowrimo novel turned into Moondrops & Thistles. Next month, I’ll feature that book here on my blog, with stories behind the book, plus a short blog tour hosted by some great people willing to do interviews or simply turn over their blog space for a day. Please be sure to follow where I’ll be, as I’ll also have a giveaway at each stop, plus a special promo basket from my own posts.
Thank you to all who have followed along on the journey this month! I’ll see you next month.