I totally owe ya’ll a vacation recap post! I’m sorry! Prepare yourself for a ridiculously long post to make up for it!
Bryan and I got up super early and flew into the Norfolk area on a Thursday. Bryan’s brother, sister-in-law, and some close friends live there and we slated a day to spend with them, to see where they live, where they work, and just get to see their faces.
We had a great group dinner together and then hung around at our friend’s house. Is there anything better than spending time with close friends? I think not. It makes my heart happy.
Friday we had a great breakfast together before seeing where Bryan’s brother and sister-in-law lived and worked. It’s kind of sad that in two years we hadn’t seen their apartment or pictured their workplaces. After the Norfolk tour we stopped by the Harborfest. I had requested to see some of the water area and Harborfest happened to be going on.
Harborfest, Norfolk, VA
It was amazing! Beautiful boats and handsome sailors everywhere!
After enjoying some Harborfest (it was too huge to see it all and we were on a schedule) we parted ways and Bryan and I hit the road to Charlottesville.
My cousin had lived in Charlottesville last year and she gave us some great tips on where to eat and what to do, and most importantly, the best winearys to visit.
I loved Charlottesville. It was my favorite part of the trip, besides seeing friends, of course. It has such a cool vibe about it. Its hard to put into words.
Needless to say we ate some amazing food while we were in town.
Saturday morning Bryan and I got bagels and coffee and walked around UVA’s campus. This wasn’t on the top of my list, but I’ll admit, it was pretty dang awesome.
After we finished our coffee and campus touring we met up with Bryan’s brother and sister-in-law who drove up that morning and drove up to Monticello.
I was most excited about Monticello, and especially the gardens. The house was cool to see, but the grounds were amazing. I’m currently reading A Rich Spot of Earth and am dying to go back and spend some more time in that garden!
In the afternoon we drove out to one of the vineyards my cousin had suggested. Bryan and I had never been to a wine tasting, but our traveling companions are very much into wine. The tasting was nice and all, but the views were amazing. We got a glass of wine and spent some time on the patio soaking it all in.
Sunday we had an amazing breakfast before hitting up our next vineyard. This one came with ruins and a wineary tour! At Barboursville we tasted over 20 wines, toured the facility, and bought a few bottles to bring home. The family home burned many years ago, but the ruins are still there to admire. We took pictures.
This was totally spontaneous. I didn’t know they were doing the same thing behind me.
We parted ways again with our family and Bryan and I took off down Constitution Highway (I can’t make this up) towards Washington, DC.
Bryan had never been to DC and he’s kind of a history buff, so I let him take the reins for this portion of the trip.
One thing we both wanted to do was to see some of the monuments at night. They were beautiful.
Monday we did the total tourist thing: monuments, monuments, and more monuments. It was ridiculously hot and I was melting down. Bryan suggested we rent bikes, which we had seen everywhere. Not much of a biker (or anything that requires physical excursion, I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I caved and let him try it.
Best idea ever! These bikes were easy to ride and we created our own breeze!
My favorite part of the DC experience was riding the bikes down a footpath along the Potamac towards dusk. It was beautiful, peaceful, and fun to see the locals being active. We ended our bike ride on a boardwalk, drinking beer, and people watching.
Before leaving town Tuesday, we went to Arlington. On the previous family vacation I went to (the required 8th grade Washington DC tour) we hadn’t made it to Arlington so this was new for me too.
As we approached the tomb of the unknown solider it started to rain. It was a moving moment. Bryan also enjoyed Arlington (or Lee’s) house.
After lunch in old Alexandria we headed back towards Norfolk. We had one last group dinner in Norfolk to cap off the great vacation.
Here’s what I recommend if planning to visit some of these areas:
Norfolk: Public House, Harborfest, Omar’s Carriage House
Charlottesville: visit the Downtown mall, Mas tapas, Local, Bodo’s Bagel, Bluegrass. Vineyards: King Family and Barboursville
Washington DC: Founding Farmers, Old Ebbitt, Capital Bike Share