“Virginia is for Lovers” is the state’s slogan right now, and I myself fell in love with the state. The smooth-topped mountains in the west were lush with fresh spring vegetation and dogwood blossoms. The rivers and streams were full from seasonal rains. And I was fortunate enough to meet up with my friends Tom and Anna who are thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Alas, my hike lasted a mere three days, but it was enough to collect some nice images, and hanging out in Charlottesville was also a blast. If you would like to follow along with T&A (as they’re known on the trail), their weblog is here: http://tomanna.blogspot.com.
Ever since Art History class at the university, I had been wanting to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s mountain-top home in Charlottesville. So we spent a pleasant afternoon tour at this gorgeous location, and soon enough I was devising a way for me to move in. But I guess the house isn’t on the market right now.
After C-ville, I had a week to explore Virginia before I had to be in West Virginia. So, being the water-deprived Kansas boy I am, I headed to the beach. Despite its proximity to Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park is an isolated strip of peninsula that can only be accessed by hiking or biking through a wildlife refuge. Despite the rainy weather, when I first dropped my backpack and saw the beach, I got giddy and started clicking my heels. The wind constantly pushed the waves toward me, the pelicans and gulls glided above, and dolphins calmy surfaced for some fresh air a few fathoms from the beach. I’m…in…heaven. With my tent right on the beach, for two days I watched the scene, beachcombed, explored the leeward side of the dunes, and let myself get covered in salty spray. It did get lonely and I had a long drive back to the western side of the state, so I bid the shore adieu but not before I realized I now have a new “happy place” to visit in my head.