Cuban Burgers, Craft Beers, and a Cabin: A weekend in Shenandoah Valley

cup of coffee with trees reflected

In September, I started feeling a little landlocked, so I booked several local trips: (this one to Outer Banks) and also two nights in a cabin in the Shenandoah Valley for the weekend after Thanksgiving. I figured a couple of nights of peace and Continue reading “Cuban Burgers, Craft Beers, and a Cabin: A weekend in Shenandoah Valley”

Autumn Adventures around NoVa

Fall trees, northern Virginia NOVA

Not all of our adventures happen out of the country!  Since returning to work this fall, we’ve limited our weekend happenings to more nearby locations. In August and September, Chris went to Burning Man in Nevada, and to Nerd Fitness Camp in Georgia.  I, sadly, had to work so I stayed home.

Continue reading “Autumn Adventures around NoVa”

Appalachian Trail: Virginia and West Virginia

Hiker faces a row of mountains on the appalachian trail

Chris has been joined on the Appalachian Trail by his son for the past 140 miles or so.  This week they reached Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, which is essentially halfway for Chris.  This part of the trail is very close to our house in northern Virginia, so I was able to go pick them up and bring them home so they could each do a few days of administrative tasks.  His son has just been accepted to college so there is lots of paperwork involved in that, and Chris needed to pack up his closet and office in preparation for our move coming up.  And, happily, I was able to get pictures off of both their cameras and post some images from this section of the trail.  Today after work I’ll be driving them back out to Harper’s Ferry, and they will continue their hike north.  Mike hopes to get 500 miles in on the trail, and I will meet up with Chris in June after I finish this school year.

Appalachian Trail: From North Carolina to Southern Virginia

Chris AT Virginia Appalachian trail

After another beautiful drive, this time in my convertible to really enjoy the springtime in Virginia, I met up with Chris to take a zero day off the trail together.  He was at mile 620, just short of Pearisburg, Virginia. After Trailfest in Hot Springs North Carolina, I saw him one week later at Elk Park, North Carolina. Since then, he had left North Carolina and Tennessee, and made it into southern Virginia.

 Along the way, Chris hiked alone on some days, and with other hikers at times. He has seen wild horses, beautiful sunrises, some snowy weather, and some warm afternoons. In my two previous visits to see him in trail towns, I’ve been able to meet some of the hikers as well and hear their stories.

In southern Virginia, I met him at Wood’s Hole Hostel, which is a magical place and one that I am so glad I found.  A 2-story cabin in the woods, plus a hiker bunkhouse, great food, and lots of community spirit.  It’s a bit off the grid so we didn’t have to worry about emails or phone calls all weekend.  The owners, Neville and Michael, have run the place for the last 10 years or so, after inheriting the hostel from her grandparents, who ran the place from the 1940’s on.  Each morning we had a huge, filling breakfast, with three helpers volunteering to help cook the meal, three more serving, and three more cleaning up.  Peach oatmeal crisp, eggs with bacon, and fresh bread with applebutter.  

Throughout the day there was yoga, meditation, hiking, and generally lazing about, until it was time for dinner prep- the first night we had tortillas, rice, beans, corn, ground beef, salsa, sour cream, salad, and fresh bread.  Again, three helpers made feeding an army of 22 hikers that much easier.  Luckily I had booked ahead so Chris and I had a private room in the main cabin- no hiker bunkhouse for me!  We had a lot to celebrate, so I brought a bottle of wine and we toasted Chris’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and him finishing almost 1/3 of the Appalachian Trail.  Overall the weekend was amazing and I hope one day to go back to Wood’s Hole Hostel- but maybe next time, I’ll go when it’s not hiking season!

Autumn Adventures around NoVa

Deah and Chris, Congress trip, Washington DC

Some of my new friends are complaining that I never post any pictures of life in the US here, so I don’t want to disappoint. Being home is super fun! Here are some adventures I’ve had in the last few months while hanging around Northern Virginia.

I’ve been riding my bike more often- I did a very fun 25 mile ride with some friends in Dover, Delaware in September, and this past weekend I did a 56 mile ride to the end of the Washington/Old Dominion trail here in Virginia. The nice thing about getting out on a bike is being out in the fresh air, enjoying the fall weather, and not having it hurt every fiber of my body, like running does.

Speaking of running, I did the Army 10 Miler with my sweetheart and some friends, but due to security measures, couldn’t take my phone with me to get pics. But we kicked ass at 2 hours, 11 seconds.
The fall weather up here does something amazing to the trees. We don’t have beautiful fall leaves down in Texas- they just turn brown and fall off. Here in NoVa, they turn sunny yellow, brilliant orange, fiery red, majestic purple, and some just stay a glossy green. Really. It’s very beautiful, and it makes my daily drive home on Fairfax County Parkway really great.

Last week, I took a day off work to do some things, and wound up in a corner of DC that I had never been to, and ran smack into (not literally) the Washington National Cathedral. I had heard of it but never really seen a picture of it or been to it. Wow! What a gorgeous cathedral. I can’t wait to go check it out with some friends and tour it. We also were able to visit the US Capitol on a school field trip, and I took Chris along as a chaperon. We met the representative from our district.

And, of course, my favorite event of all time occurs around this time each year: Halloween/ my birthday. Accompanying that is decorating the house, carving pumpkins (this year I did some drilling!), dressing up, and going to Oktoberfest (where we volunteered for the city of Reston’s Oktoberfest at the wine tent). And getting a year old, which turns out to not be so bad (so far).

couple dressed as sheik and german beer girl halloween
Celebrating Halloween