Tag Archives: Virginia

Thanksgiving in Virginia

Nov 23 – Dec 1

It was 75o when I left Miami, 30 o when I landed in Virginia. Burr! (I forgot to pack a jacket and scarf, so I bought some the next day). My sister, Jennifer, picked Alex (my older son) and me up and drove us to her home in the middle of nowhere. I woke up each morning to the sound of a rooster crowing.

We took day trips to Richmond, Charlottesville, and Alexandria (too far, but Jennifer wanted to visit a dog breeder). We got out for a couple short hikes before the rain came. I spent much of time reading, sorting Cuba pictures, and watching too much television. There were ten of us for the Thanksgiving feast prepared by Jennifer’s boyfriend, Michael, including most of our grown children and a couple significant others. After dinner, we had a fun poker game (I lost). Their new dishwasher stopped working the day before Thanksgiving and the oven the day after, but Michael kept us well fed all week. Thanks!

Goodbye Virginia

October 27 – Rest Day

We fed chickens, walked dogs in Fighting Creek Park, shopped for groceries, did laundry, and puttered on our computers. As I write, it sounds more like running errands than resting, but it was a relaxing day.

October 28-29 – Shenandoah National Park

I borrowed Jennifer’s car and enjoyed a leisurely tour of this park; her sporty Volvo was perfect for the road. I started at the southern end. Skyline Drive connects to the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway; together these two roads provide almost 600 miles of scenic driving, though at 35 mph, plus stops, that would take a long time. I spent almost a full day traversing the lower two-thirds of Shenandoah. Needless to say, I made numerous stops for photos. As was the case down near Ashville, the viewpoints on the east side were a bit better than the west, so making a south to north drive perfect for me. I also took two hikes, one on a bit of the Appalachian Trail where a sign warned of copperheads, the other to Dark Hollow Falls where a sign warned of nuisance bears. I saw neither. My favorite was the popular hike to the falls, though on parts of this trail the sound of the stream was overpowered by the sound of rangers with leaf blowers. Nature is not what it used to be.

Late in the afternoon, I exited the park and drove a short distance to Luray where I stayed in the very cute Mayneview B&B. I was pleasantly surprised to find live jazz at the restaurant recommended by the owner. After dinner, another guest, a former San Franciscan, and I watched the beginning of game six in the World Series; we both gave up after a few innings. The resident tabby cat, Molly, followed me up to my room and spent the night curled up at the foot of the bed. I look forward to being reunited with Timbre and my other critters soon.

I had planned to do another hike in the morning, but it started to drizzle at about the same time I reached the parkway. Instead I drove through the upper third of the park, stopping for a few photos in the increasing rain, then headed back to Powhatan where I enjoyed a delicious dinner, Mediterranean tacos, prepared by Jennifer’s partner, Michael. Afterwards we all watched the Giants win the World Series. Though I rarely watch games, it was fun surrounded by avid sports fans.

October 30 – Charlottesville

Jennifer and I spent much of the day in Charlottesville, about an hour away. We took a four-mile walk on the Saunders-Monticello Trail. This accessible trail, on crushed rock and boardwalks, goes though a beautiful forest. We didn’t visit Monticello, as we’ve both toured there before (I was here with Joe and the boys in the late ‘90s). Instead we headed over to the mall in the historic downtown. A lone street musician braved the chilly breeze and played a piano. The outdoor tables were deserted, but I can imagine this as a lively scene at another time of year. We ate lunch and browsed in several cute stores.

October 31 – Powhatan

I spent a leisurely last day with Jennifer. We walked around Powhatan and watched the Giants victory parade on television. I sorted photos while she took care of chores. In the evening we drove into Richmond, where she treated Michael and me to dinner to celebrate the sale of her condo in San Francisco; it looks like she’s here to stay.

November 1 – Home

I fixed fresh eggs for breakfast and then Michael gave me a ride to the airport. The temperature was dropping with overnight frost predicted, so I left at just the right time. It took about twelve hours door-to-door to get home. After my laptop died, I entertained myself taking pictures out the window. I look forward to the time when electrical outlets are standard on planes. I don’t have any trips planned for the next few months, so I probably won’t post again until early next year. I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holidays.

Hello Virginia

October 21-22 – Powhatan and Richmond

 I relaxed at my sister’s place in Powhatan, a rural county in central Virginia to which she recently moved. She and her partner live in a spacious house surrounded by acres of deciduous trees; theirs are just beginning to turn color. Her younger daughter is living with them, along with three dogs and five chickens, young hens just beginning to lay eggs. Jennifer has a part-time job at the YMCA teaching swimming and lifeguarding. I met her one day after her shift and we swam laps in the pool now covered in a bubble for winter.

On Wednesday, Jennifer’s birthday, we drove into Richmond, about a hour away, and visited Carytown, a hip street lined with restaurants and shops. We had a delicious Thai lunch at Mama’s Siam, bought sweets at I Love Chocolate, a giant candy store, and pet a small pig at The Stolen Pig, a shop with an eclectic mix of stuff. We also stopped at the Tredegar Iron Works where canons and other munitions were manufactured during the civil war. Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America and it’s capture lead to the end of the war.

 October 23 – Crabtree Falls

We drove a couple hours to the George Washington National Forest, southwest of Shenandoah, and took a four-mile round-trip hike along Crabtree Creek. The trail, covered with fall leaves, led though a beautiful yellow-leafed forest. Along the way we saw many cascades and waterfalls, cumulatively forming the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi.

Apparently I damaged more than the lens when I dropped my camera in Pisa. The automatic functions have been failing one at a time and I’ve now resorted to using it in full manual mode. Fortunately the light meter is still working; I hope it lasts until I return home and can send it in for repairs.