We're going back in time today on the blog. Last November, a conversation that took place at a family wedding back in May turned into a reality. My cousin, Laura, and I had been talking to Uncle Bill at a family wedding about how fun it would be to come up to Virginia for a visit. I had been wanting to make a trip up in the fall for a while to hopefully see a vibrant display of fall foliage and after the conversation at the wedding, I began thinking that it was time to go.
Despite my calendar being crazy crowded with photo shoots and weddings, I was able to find a few days to visit Virginia and I asked Laura if she wanted to go along. We were able to match up our schedules and before we knew it we were on a plane to Virginia to visit Uncle Bill and Aunt Betty. This post is a mega photo share telling the story of our trip. We had a fantastic time and our only regret was not being able to stay longer. I had been to Virginia and Washington DC before (Uncle Bill and Aunt Betty live in Fairfax, a short metro ride away from DC), but it had been a while since my last visit there, so everything felt new again.
This post is full of DSLR and iPhone photos (I did not take time to edit the phone snaps...it was all I could do to get through the photos from my big camera). :)
I hadn't been on an airplane in a few years. Although I usually don't like cramped spaces, I've always enjoyed flying. There's nothing like seeing the sky from a different perspective. Bonus, I had a window seat and could take plenty of photos on my flight to Houston, where I was meeting up with Laura to catch a connecting flight to DC.
Our first day in town, Uncle Bill drove us around DC for a tour and then we headed to Old Town Alexandria, an adorable town full of old buildings with character, great shops and beautiful scenery. It reminded me a bit of Fairhope. I'd definitely love to go back and spend more time there. We had limited time since our trip was a short one, so we only had one afternoon in Alexandria, but we sure made the most of the time we did have there. :)
Dolic Gelati was one of the great finds in Alexandria. This little gelato shop had recently had its grand opening and the staff were so nice to let me take a few photographs inside the shop. Of course I ordered some gelato as well...the coffee flavor was delicious!
We kicked off Day 2 of our trip with a metro ride into Washington, DC. We wanted to hit as many of the major sites as possible (this is no easy feat in DC!) and first on our list was a tour of The Capitol. One of my March 2016 brides, Madeline, works in DC at The Capitol and she was kind enough to set up the tour for us. In all my other trips to DC, I'd never been inside The Capitol. It is an awesome place! The only sad part was that the dome was under maintenance and all except the very center was covered due to the restoration. Despite being covered, it was still beautiful!
We went from The Capitol to the Library of Congress, one of the most beautiful buildings in DC. I could have stayed in this place far longer than we did, as there is just so much to take in!!! It was a beautiful day and the light streaming through the windows made the mosaics and marble inside sparkle.
If visiting DC, you must be prepared to do a LOT of walking. Laura kept track of our steps and I think at the end of the day we had over 25,000 logged on her pedometer!!! The day goes by SO fast with all of that walking. By the time we did the tour at The Capitol and visited the Library of Congress, half of the day was gone.
Our monument selfies proved more challenging than we expected. The buildings are just so big, plus Laura and I really need to brush up on our selfie skills, or buy a selfie stick. We did the best we could to get ourselves in at least a few pictures. ;)
There are so many Smithsonian Museums in DC and you could spend a full day (at least) visiting each one. Obviously, Laura and I only had time for one, so we picked the American History Museum. I LOVE this museum (always have!), but I was super excited to see a Food Exhibition...which I do not remember seeing on past trips. The replica of Julia Child's kitchen was so fun to see! It got me thinking about dinner...but first we had to make it to The Washington Monument and The Lincoln Memorial.
When we came out of the American History Museum, the sun was falling fast. Laura and I picked up our walking pace. By the time we got down to The Lincoln Memorial it was almost completely dark. I had never seen DC at night and it proved to be a beautiful sight.
After leaving The Lincoln Memorial, we figured we better find something for dinner. Our feet were tired and our stomachs were starting to growl, but we hadn't been by The White House yet, so we decided to walk in that direction in search of nourishment. This turned out to be one of the most exciting parts of the day. Just as we were walking along the side of The White House, the Secret Service stopped traffic and a motorcade came barreling out of the drive. We may or may not have seen First Lady Michelle Obama in the back of one of the limousines. It was dark and hard to see through the window, but I'm convinced it was her that I saw, especially considering how intense the Secret Service got about stopping all traffic (pedestrians and cars). Everyone else on the street seemed to agree, some even cheered as the car drove by.
After all the excitement at The White House, we stumbled upon a restaurant that looked like the perfect place for dinner. The Woodward Table proved to be an excellent find. At this point, our lunch (which we had eaten at The Capitol after our tour) had long worn off and we were ravenous! Of course me being the foodie that I am, I went all out and had a three course meal. :)
At the end of the meal, Laura and I pondered our DC adventures. It had been a great day, but we were slap worn out and we still had a third day of adventures ahead of us!
Day 3 of our trip was dedicated to adventures in the country. Uncle Bill drove us up to the James River State Park, where our cousin, Billy, works and then to their old country house, which isn't far from the park. The park and the house are about three hours away from their home in Fairfax. It was quite a trek, but it was a beautiful drive and the park has some of the best views in Virginia. I only wish the leaves had still been at their peak (apparently I missed it by about a week).
Finally, we made it to Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill's old country house. The property is beautiful and our cousin, Billy, took us on a hike around the property. It was nice to stretch our legs after so much time in the car and to visit with our cousin, but our visit was a short one because we had to get back to Fairfax and get ready for our flight home the next day.
Above is a photo of a chestnut tree that Uncle Bill bought at a Mobile Botanical Gardens plant sale years ago! The tree is thriving in Virginia and they had quite a good crop of chestnuts!
Early the next morning, Uncle Bill and Aunt Betty drove us to the airport. Our trip was over far too quickly, but we had a wonderful time. When we made it back to Houston, Laura and I parted ways. My flight was delayed...multiple times, so I got to see plenty of the Houston airport. When our plane finally arrived at the terminal, all the passengers cheered.
With my feet back on Alabama ground, the trip was over. It was a wonderful vacation and I'm so glad that I took time to go. Putting this post together makes me want to go back again soon! Maybe next year??? :)