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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Virginia and DC short trips

Hi everyone,

I've decided to add a travel element to the blog.  The boyfriend and I like to get away now and then, to try to relax/escape from our demanding work schedules and give our brains a break from science.  We usually spend time relaxing (sleeping), reconnecting (zzzzzzzzzzz), and having avid discussions about current events (snore).

A few months ago, we went to Alexandria, VA.  We stayed in Old Town Alexandria, which was great for shopping and restaurants.  It was also conveniently located so that we could take in a Nationals game, which was amazing.  They have so many fan events there.  Even though the ballpark wasn't as nice as the Orioles and the food and beer was quite expensive, we greatly enjoyed ourselves.  We also went to the National Harbor for a brief visit, and enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch on the Harbor and some shopping.  The harbor was beautiful, but crowded.  I preferred the vibe and pace of Old Town and wish we had spent more time exploring there.  We also went to a local brewery, Port City Brewery, and enjoyed some tasty beverages.

We also went on a local historical tour over a weekend, as there are quite a few American history sites to see near us.  We started with Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.  We saw quite a bit of the house and grounds.  The wait for the house tour was forever, but we were able to see all of the grounds before we went in.  We did not have a chance to check out the distillery nearby, but really enjoyed ourselves.  I am apparently fascinated by relevant American history.  Sorry, Mr. Pulford (high school history teacher).  It came on late.

Next, we went to Harper's Ferry.  We stayed in a nice bed and breakfast just up the street from the park.  The park is massive and beautiful.  We walked down some old train tracks and started to go through some hiking trails.  The museum there is fascinating, with a pretty even handed account of John Brown's rebellion and the players involved.

Lastly, we went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's estate.  I am actually not a big fan of TJ's, particularly after reading some historical fiction on the matter years ago (Sally Hemmings, The President's Daughter).  Still, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  Monticello was amazing: agricultural yet industrial, inventive yet traditional.  We had amazing tours of the grounds and the house, as well as the slave history.  We also went to the UVA campus and walked around - very beautiful.  We got a little bit of Baltimore culture there - saw Poe's room!  We (of course) then went to a few local breweries and samples some flavors.

The boyfriend and I greatly enjoyed ourselves and were able to relax.  We like to visit nearby areas when we travel in order to see as much as possible.  Still, I would go back (particularly to Alexandria) for a day or two, just to hang out.  Good times!

Any recommendations for other local trips or the above places?

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