Reader’s Digest Vacation

I’m fixing to leave again. After two days of “catching up” after the Washington DC trip, the bags are packed for a long weekend in Door County and fall festival. It will be the last days of vacation, the ones that I need to savor. They will go fast.

Before I leave, though, I wanted to give you the Reader’s Digest version of the past week…where I’ve been, what I’ve done, the miles I’ve walked…through words and photographs that I’m too lazy to clean up in any way.

Day 1:  I passed up the opportunity to buy Christmas presents for Joanne and M-R and a freakin’ journal for myself.

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Instead, I chose to spend money on the metro, a visit to the largest Catholic Church in the U.S., and dinner at a brew pub with a friend.

These are photos of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Norm and Dan would have had a “field day” with the doors. The main entrance was gorgeous (click on the photo for an enlarged view). This church is connected to the Catholic University and is a site where Pope Francis held mass during his recent visit to Washington. I stayed for the 5:15 mass (mom would be proud) and then unashamedly headed to the brew pub for eats and a golden refreshment.

Day 2: Since my brother, the girlfriend and I were leaving later in the day for a Nelson County weekend, I went for one of many walks to the Y and a workout. During the walk back, I stopped at the local farm-to-table diner and had the BEST huevos rancheros ever. I wanted to lick the plate.

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Then I took a nap.

Later, after packing a small suitcase, the three of us headed to Nelson County, arriving at our B&B a bit late. No matter, the gracious hosts were well-known to brother and girlfriend and had our rooms ready and waiting.

Day 3 & 4: Cider, three-mile climb, Thai food, beer, gracious hosts, Montpelier.

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Nelson County, Virginia, specifically Hwy 151, is known for its cideries, breweries and wineries. I was treated to a flight of fabulous cider at Bold Rock. This is a very cool place and I could have sat in front of the fire place all day with a good book and a glass or two or three of cider. Delicious and inviting.

The next part of this day was a climb up Crabtree Falls on a trail that often looked like this:

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I looked at my feet most often when I was climbing up and back down the trail. One needs to look where they are stepping on this trail, although it didn’t seem to be an issue for the many children, dogs and senior citizens that I passed. The views on the way up and at the top were beautiful and breath-taking.

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Our hosts at the Acorn Inn suggested a Thai restaurant to replenish calories spent on our hike. The only caveat: The Thai owner can be a bit crabby.

She was.

But the food was so splendid and our constant exclamation of “This is wonderful! Excellent!” turned the crabbiness into a smiling, talkative woman who suddenly felt a need to tell us her life story. She’s hysterically funny when she gets going.

Saturday night, brother took us to Devil’s Backbone Brewery. Another nice place, but it was packed to the rim. In the field next door, a bluegrass music festival was being held the entire weekend. We could have sat outside (if it had been warmer) and listened without purchasing a ticket. The crowd was a bit much so we left after one beer.

The next morning, after breakfast, I took a photo of our weekend abode.

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The hosts are an artist/photographer and her Holland-born husband who loves to ride his bicycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway and in different countries. He’s headed to South America next, with his wife as his support on four wheels.

We were given a tour of “the barn,” where the bicyclist keeps his tools, she has her studio, and there is additional space for guests. The entire complex consists of the main house, an inn, a cottage and the barn. This is a European B&B…not overly fancy, but the hosts make everyone feel very welcome. I would go back in a heartbeat.

We said our goodbyes late on Sunday morning and headed to Blue Mountain brewery for lunch and bourbon barrel pumpkin beer. I was the only one to bite on the latter. I don’t usually like pumpkin beer, but this stuff was delicious. It kept me busy while we waited for our table and an Oktoberfest menu.

Yes, Heather, they were having Oktoberfest in October. Not on the same level as the one in Appleton, but it was in the appropriate month.

I also met fellow Packer fan, Jamie, from New Jersey. He was chasing his grandson, who was decked out with Packer apparel. Jamie is teaching his grandson well.

The last stop of our weekend was James Madison’s Montpelier.

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We were in the second-to-last tour group of the day, so had little time to explore afterwards. The grounds are beautiful with a huge green lawn in front and a garden and trail through a very old grove of trees behind the house. The story of James Madison, his family, his wife, and the house is very interesting. I won’t bore you with a history lesson (because you can look that up on Wikipedia), but it’s worth the trip and price of admission.

Day 5 & 6: If you saw the previous Wordless Wednesday post, you know that I visited the Holocaust Museum on Monday. I didn’t take many pictures as I felt it somehow disrespectful to the victims. It’s sobering and chilling.

Monday evening ended after an outdoor German barbeque (compliments of the German deli) with the girlfriend’s family and my brother and I. No pictures, it was dark by 7 pm and I was too busy feeding my face and having a conversation with a few Pittsburgh Steeler fans.

Packers rule, by the way.

Tuesday morning, I said goodbye to brother’s girlfriend, who put me up the entire time I was in Washington. I also said goodbye to her dog, Odin, a Norwegian Elkhound. He’s a good dog, albeit a bit shameless when he wants belly rubs.

The Washington Monument bid me adieu as the plane lifted above the clouds.

That’s it. The end of the Washington, D.C., vacation. It was a good one and went by too fast. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

PS: I know this is not exactly a Reader’s Digest streamlined post. My apologies, I take after my dad when I tell stories.

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8 responses to Reader’s Digest Vacation

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Well then, I like your dad. Stories should be told. It sounds like you have a wonderful trip. the photos from the hike are fantastic. It looks like you were there at a very good point in the season. I love that area of the country. I’ve been to DC in recent years. I spent a lot of time in VA and WV when I was growing up and in college, but I haven’t been for a long time. It’s just such beautiful country. By the way, the Steelers won the MNF game in true heart attack fashion. I liked your comment on the doors and I like your decision on the museum photos. As much as I’d like to see it, I think I need to go in person. Enjoy the next trip. Go Packers (to a degree).

    • bikerchick57 says:

      My dad could never tell a short story, but I’d give much to hear him talk again.

      The Blue Ridge area in Nelson County is gorgeous, beautiful color and scenery. While I sat outside at a brew pub on Sunday, blue skies, mountains in the background, I almost didn’t want to leave. Would love to camp in the area some day.

      Go Steelers (as long as they are not playing the Packers).

  2. joannesisco says:

    I love your version of vacations – flights of cidar, BBQs, beer, Thai food, some hiking …. it all sounds like great. You packed a lot of vacationing in a few days 🙂

    I am however disturbed by the cat butts. What happened to the rest of the kitties?!!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I know, I was looking for cat head magnets but all I found was dog and cat butts. So weird! Anyhow, I would spend another week in DC and VA in the fall. It’s awesome.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      As I am preparing for my first day back at work, I would prefer to be there again. With beer. And cider. And more beer :-p

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