Scenic Vistas!

Awhile back, I started a series of things I wanted to do after I moved to Virginia. One of the first places I listed was the scenic vistas on a near by highway. You can read my initial post here.

Every time I’d visit Jimmy down here, I’d drive by a couple of “scenic vista” stops on the highway. I was always in a rush to see my husband (and the cats), so I was never took the time to stop, but they remained high on my list of places I wanted to visit. This was for two reasons: 1) I was glad to be living in a place with topography again (no offense, northeast OH), and 2) I was grateful to be living in a place beautiful enough to have vistas.

Unlike my fellow New Englanders, when I was back in Cape Cod, I loved living in a place that attracted so many tourist. Tourists mean better shopping, more restaurants, and plenty of attractions to visit. Scenic Vistas are a good sign that an area might have some tourism, and I’m so happy to be living in a place like that again.

Now that life is starting to normalize, a bit. We finally had the opportunity to go check them out!

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Of course, Duffy came along. His life’s mission is to be in as many travel-related selfies as possible.

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How beautiful is my new home environment?

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The stops were pretty quick…not much to do besides look at the pretty mountains and take photos of Duffy. Still, I was very excited to be able to do something fun on a weekend with Jimmy (and Duffy). I look forward to more adventures very soon!

Places to Visit in Virginia: Virginia Aquarium

This series has changed from “Places I want to visit when I move to Virginia” to “Places I want to visit when I have time and money now that I live in Virginia”. But, the idea is still the same. 🙂 I will report on all of these places when I finally get to go to them.

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Rlevse [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia
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At just over 2.5 hours away (Virginia Beach), a trip to the Virginia Aquarium will be an all-day affair. Or perhaps a weekend event. However, I’m excited to have a decent sized aquarium within driving distance.

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By Virginia State Parks staff (Swimming in Safety Uploaded by AlbertHerring)
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Virginia Aquarium seems like it must be pretty big (despite the appearance of the entrance). They have a couple of uniquely themed exhibits (such as the Mediterranean Sea) that I look forward to exploring. They also have a 3D theater.

If you’ve been to the Virginia Aquarium feel free to leave some tips in the comments. Or perhaps recommendations of other nearby attractions.

George Washington National Forest

 

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By Aneta Kaluzna (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests combine to form one of the largest areas of public lands in the eastern US with around 2,000 miles of hiking trails and cover 1.8 million acres.

It’ll take about 2 hours to get to the closest portion of the park.

Obviously, there is lots to see in this park, so we won’t be able to visit the whole thing. I’ll need to investigate more specific areas.

For example, one of the areas nearby is the Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Site that has the following description:

A popular scenic viewing area for fall foliage, this winding 0.5 mile interpretive trail meanders along the top of Shenandoah Mountain. Relive the events of April 1862 through the letters of Captain Shepherd Pryor, a member of the 12th Georgia Regiment, to his wife. This is also a popular access point to the gently rolling Shenandoah Mountain Trail, and Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness.

Or…we could visit something like the Brandywine Recreational area and have a picnic:

Residing on the 10 acre Brandywine Lake, this wooded recreation area affords access to multiple hiking and mountain biking trails, a swimming beach, and a campground with an onsite host.

Whenever we manage to make it there, I’ll post photos!

Places I want to visit in Virginia: Old Stone Jail Museum

Old-Stone-Jail

A quick 13 minute drive into downtown Palmyra will take us to the Old Stone Jail museum. They are only open in the summer, and for very short hours. They have a small exhibit- this year it was early school days in Fluvanna- and you can get a tour of the jail (built in 1826). I believe it is either free or by donation. It’d be a quick, inexpensive trip where we’d learn a little bit about the history of the area.

Places I want to Visit in Virginia: The Hatton Ferry

The Hatton Ferry is the last POLED ferry in America. It crosses the James River. A round-trip takes about 40 minutes and is free, though a small donation is suggested.

It’s about a 40 minute drive from our home. It has very seasonal hours, but I’m marking it on my to-do list for next year as it’s so interesting and unique.

Check out their website here: http://www.thehattonferry.org/

Places I Want to Visit in Virginia: Michie Tavern

Just over 20 minutes from our new home, near Monticello, is the Michie Tavern.

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By Billy Hathorn (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Michie Tavern is a historic landmark that captures 18th century life. You can enjoy 18th century cuisine brought by servers in period clothing in a rustic tavern setting. There are also self-guided tours, a general store, a clothier, a metal smith and a toy and games merchant.

Places I Want to Visit in Virginia: Pleasant Grove House Museum & Welcome Center

Just over 10 minutes from my home is the Pleasant Grove Park. The park has trails and recreational fields, as well as a free museum and welcome center.

There is a walking trail (that leads to a river) plus 18 multi-use trails. The fields are open to the public when no game is schedule.

The museum, dedicated to the history of the county and its founders, is in a home that was built in 1854. It also contains a small welcome center.

There is also a “Dog Park”…that is simply referred to as “The Dog Park”. If you are a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, you’ll understand. If you aren’t familiar with WtNV, please ignore the above comment.

This place is right outside the gate of our community, and free, and may provide us with more information about things to see and do, so this will be some place we check out very soon!