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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Our virtual vacation is starting to wind down…”today” is the day we leave the beach and start toward home.  Sigh!  I knew I would like the ocean, but it was even better and more awe-inspiring that I could have imagined.  I would love to go back sometime!

We spend a couple of hours on the beach that morning just soaking it up a little longer.

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We left Virginia Beach and headed toward Colonial Williamsburg.  Since we only planned on staying a couple of hours at Williamsburg, we didn’t buy tickets that would have given us access to the interiors of some of the buildings and the storytellers, but we still enjoyed it.  If you are a history buff and have a full day to spend there, then the tickets are probably worth the money, but it worked out perfectly for us to just walk the streets and sight-see instead.  A lot of the houses along the paths are private residences anyway and you won’t have access to them even with a ticket.  Here are a few photos of the sights at Colonial Williamsburg…

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That afternoon we drove to West Virginia and spent the night.  Friday morning we headed toward Kentucky.

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Welcome back to your virtual tour of C & I’s 10th anniversary vacation.  We are up to day 4 of our trip and it was the busiest day yet.  That was Wednesday of the week we were gone and we decided to make that day sight-seeing day.  Once we started out that morning, there were so many things to see that we ended up staying out and about longer than I had planned and didn’t have quite as much beach time as I had hoped, but that was okay.  We saw some amazing things while we were touring!

We started the day going to see the first lighthouse built in the United States.  In fact, it was the first public works project in the newly founded country.  It is located at Fort Story military base  which was just a few miles up the street from our hotel.  Since it is on an active military base, we were required to show our driver’s licenses and our vehicle had to be inspected.  After that we were instructed on where to go and that we could not take any photos except at the old lighthouse. 

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This is actually the “new” lighthouse that is still used today so we didn’t get to go in it.

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This is the “old” lighthouse.

There were many, many steps to climb!

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Upon leaving the lighthouse, we headed toward Norfolk to continue our touring.  Now, let me tell you a little “secret”, I usually DO NOT LIKE BRIDGES, especially shaky swaying bridges.  As C was driving along he looked out over the water and asked what something was.  That “something” was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a 20 mile long bridge with, not one, but two underwater tunnels.  He asked if I wanted to go over it and, before I could chicken out, I said yes!!  I am so glad I did, too.  That drive was one of the most beautiful and interesting 20 miles I have ever been on.

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Notice how it says “no stopping”.

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Well, we had to stop.  Once you are in the tunnels, there is only 1 lane per direction.  We had to stop our way to let a wide-load hauling semi-truck come through the other way.

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This was a helicopter that looked like it was chasing this boat.  It just kept getting closer and closer!

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We are officially standing in the Chesapeake Bay.

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There is a restaurant and the fishing pier below on one of the man-made islands at the tunnel entrance.

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After this wonderful little side trip, we headed into Norfolk.

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Norfolk’s downtown has been revitalized and it was so pretty.  We were heading to the Hampton Bay Naval Museum, Nauticus Science Center and the USS Wisconsin Battleship.  When we got to the end of the street to find a parking garage, this was our first view of the ship…

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Pretty awesome, isn’t it?  This was one of C’s favorite stops along the whole trip.  He loved the museum and science center, and especially the battleship.  You give yourself the tour and you have access to many parts of the ship.  Here are a few shots of the museum and ship.

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As we were leaving to head back to Virginia Beach, I spotted the MacArthur Memorial.  We didn’t take time to stop, but I snapped a couple of photos from the street.

We returned to Virginia Beach, hungry and tired.  We found a little pizza place just down the street from our hotel and went there.  I’ll have more info on that in a later “foodie” post.  We spent some time on the beach and enjoyed an beautiful sunset and full moon.

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There are only a couple of days left of our vacation to share with you, so please check back next Thursday for the next installment!

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Let’s see…I think you are now up to Tuesday (our 10th anniversary) on your virtual vacation with C & I as we explore Virginia Beach a little more thoroughly.  Since we were on the East Coast and our hotel room faced the beach, we had an amazing view of the sunrise over the ocean.  There was also a little action on the beach before the sun came up.  The work crew use big John Deere tractors to smooth out the sand and vacuum up any debris that is on the beach.

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No wonder I couldn’t find any good shells!  Anyway, here comes the sun!  Just sit back and enjoy the view.

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The colors were just breathtaking!

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Dolphins!

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All of the above photos were taken between 4:30 and 5:00am so needless to say we went back to sleep for awhile after that.  We spent some time on the beach that morning and decided to go the Virginia Aquarium that afternoon.  The aquarium and aviary were enjoyable, but we agreed that the one in Gatlinburg is just as good.  Don’t go to Virginia Beach just for the Aquarium.  Go for the beach!!!

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This is a salt marsh which is where the ocean’s salt water meets the river’s fresh water.  I learned this fact from a handy-dandy info sign on the pier, but I also learned that salt marshes stink!!!  The smell was bad.

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Since this was our anniversary, we ate at two really good restaurants that are next door to each other and owned by the same people.  I am going to tease you with that information for a little while, because I think the food and restaurants need their own post.  Come back next Thursday for our continuing adventure.  The trip just got better and better.

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Today’s post is the second installment of our virtual vacation.  I am taking you on the journey that C & I enjoyed on our road-trip vacation a couple of weeks ago.  Last week, we drove from our home to Lexington, Virginia, via Foamhenge.  Today, we finally see water!!!

We left Lexington, Virginia on Monday morning heading toward Virginia Beach.  Richmond was the next bigger city that we would drive through and we busted rush hour wide open!  Even the interstate was curvy!  I kept watching the road signs all the way just counting the miles down until we got to our destination.  When we arrived in Hampton, we were met with a surprise…the 2nd tunnel of our trip, and this one went under the water of Hampton Bay.  I could tell that we were really landlubbers, because when we saw the bay, we just oohed and aahed over the size.  We thought it was amazing, and we hadn’t even seen the ocean yet.

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C loved seeing all of the Navy ships that were in the bay.  He can name just about all of the different types.

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Next was the tunnel.  Here we go…

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I hope you can tell from these photos that you go down and down in to the tunnel and then climb back up to the light at the end.  Boy, was I glad to see that light, too!  This tunnel brought us into Norfolk, which is a beautiful city.  We really enjoyed the time we spent there, but that is a story for another Thursday.

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I was getting so excited and it seemed like it took forever to get to our final destination…Virginia Beach.  Why was Virginia Beach so special that we picked it for our first ocean view ever?  There are a few reasons.  One was that C wanted to see Foamhenge and it was along the way there.  Another is that my Mom played on the shores of Virginia Beach when she was just a toddler.  My grandfather was in the Army and stationed near Williamsburg, so he, my Nanny, and Mom (my Aunt M wasn’t around yet) would go to the beach and play.  Nanny has always talked about being there and I thought it would be a special thing to walk where they walked when they were at the ocean, and it was.  I felt Mom’s presence with me on numerous occasions and I so wished that I could talk to her in person to tell her I got to go, but deep down I know she knows everything that we got to experience.  Here is a photo of my mom at Virginia Beach…

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We had finally arrived and made our way down to Atlantic Avenue where our hotel was located right on the beach front.

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We stayed at the Hampton Inn-Oceanfront North and it was an awesome hotel.  All of the rooms have oceanfront balconies, mini-fridges, and microwaves.  I highly recommend it.

Here is our first view of the Atlantic Ocean…

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…and our first self-portrait there.

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One thing I definitely noticed was the wind.  All of the pictures that I am in look like this or worse…windblown.  The ocean and beach were so amazing and gorgeous that it was overwhelming.  I could have sat there and watched it the whole time we were there, but I didn’t.  We saw and did some really cool things that I plan to share with you in the coming weeks.

That evening we walked the boardwalk, got our toes wet in the surf, and watched the sunset which was a beautiful end to an amazing day!

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Sailing, sailing…somewhere beyond the sea…

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Today starts your virtual journey on C & I’s 10th anniversary vacation we took last week.  I hope you enjoy, but I warn you that you may get tired of all of the photos I put on here from this trip.  We had such an amazing time road-tripping through parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio before making our way back to bluegrass land.  It was an adventure I will never forget!

C & I started out on Sunday with the plan to drive to Natural Bridge, Virginia to see Foamhenge.  That’s right, I did say “Foamhenge” not “Stonehenge”.  Here is a little history…I was watching Ace of Cakes on the Food Network one night and, in that episode, Duff and Geoff take a road trip.  One of the stops they made was at Foamhenge, which is a free road-side attraction built by an artist.  It is a full-scale replica of Stonehenge made of huge foam blocks.  C was hooked!  He had to see this.  We had already been talking about a beach vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary and that pretty much sealed the deal for Virginia Beach.  Anyway, back to our story.

We arrived at the Kentucky/Tennessee/Virginia lines (yes, they are that close together) and realized that we would have to go through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel.  Gulp!  I am not that fond of being underground, but here goes…

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After that, we took Highway 58 through a good portion of Eastern Virginia.  This is a main highway, but it wraps around a mountain so it is really, really curvy.  Then it started to rain while we were on the really curvy road.  Thankfully, we made it without any problems and the scenery was great to look at.

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We finally arrived at Foamhenge and it was so cool!  The place is not fancy, but if you like Stonehenge and have a sense of humor, you really need to go!

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It was kind of desolate.  I was a little afraid someone would sneak in and lock the gate behind us.

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There is even a levitating Merlin!

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This is the path back down to where we parked.

We were being watched!  I think it was an attack deer! 

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Once we had experienced Foamhenge, we headed toward Lexington, Virginia, where we were spending the night at the Hampton Inn-Historic District.  This hotel is partially housed in a historic house called Col Alto.  You can stay in those rooms, or did like we did, stay in the separate hotel in the back which is quite a bit cheaper.  You can still walk through the historic home and enjoy the ambience without having to shell out the big bucks.  I was saving my hotel budget for the beach!

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This is it for Day 1.  Please check back next Thursday as we travel to the coast!

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One of my favorite books is Big Stone Gap and here is proof that the town really exists…

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