Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Virginia is for Lovers!

Flowers from the Farmers' Market in Staunton, VA.

My husband Mark and I will be celebrating 30 years of married bliss this coming June. We decided to take an early anniversary trip playing tourists in our state of Virginia. So, while most folks were heading for the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, we headed west to the mountains.

Although we've been living in Virginia for 27 years, we've never made it out to the Blue Ridge Mountains and in particular, Skyline Drive. Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive start from the north at Front Royal. After a stop at the Tourist Information Center in Front Royal to pick up brochures and some advice, we started our winding 40 mile ride to Skyland Resort.

View from our room.

Our rustic room had a gorgeous view. It was crazy windy when an afternoon weather front came through.
Sunset from our room.

The following morning we headed off...65 more miles of switch backs and gorgeous overlooks.

We eventually landed in Staunton, VA. A cute, historic town, home of Mary Baldwin College and Woodrow Wilson's birthplace.

Staunton, VA.

We loved this town with its antique shops, art galleries, used book stores, yummy restaurants, farmers' market, one-of-a-kind shops including an art glass shop with glass blowing demos, 3 breweries and a winery. I had a great time meeting fiber artist, Laurie Gunderson and plan to write a separate post about her shop, Appalachian Piecework Textile Studio. We stayed at the gorgeous Stonewall Jackson Hotel and had a great meal at Mill Street Grill.  Our second night we walked next door to the Blackfriar's Playhouse for Othello. The building is a replica of one of Shakespeare's  theaters and plays are performed by candlelight (electric in this case). The actors can see and interact with the audience. Great fun! If you have a chance, this is a great place for a romantic getaway.

Flowers at the Farmers Market
Building details

The last leg of our trip was Charlottesville...home of the University of Virginia. We spent the day we arrived at the eight-block historic downtown mall (an urban park). It was a gorgeous day to be outside and we lingered at lunch before walking and window (and some actual) shopping where I found the C'ville Arts Coop.

Our last full day away we headed off to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. We had a tour of the lower level of this amazing home and then spent the next couple of hours walking the grounds and gardens.

My hubby walking the grounds of Monticello.

I'm back home and believe it or not I spent most of the day planning my two upcoming summer trips!


  1. Looks like a splendid weekend. Can't believe this was your first trip along Skyline Drive. We've (Pam and I) been thinking of you. Enjoy!

    1. I also can't believe it was my first time...but I STILL haven't gotten to the top of the Washington Monument either!! Looks like you and Pam are having fun (feeling the tiniest little bit of jealousy...)

  2. It looks like you had a wonderful anniversary celebration weekend! You've certainly made me put some of those places on my to-do list. My son recently hiked part of the Appalachian Trail staring in Shenandoah N. P., and said it was gorgeous.

    1. Hi Sharmon-
      We DID have a great time on our little adventure. The mountains were gorgeous...each overlook just breathtaking! I loved Staunton. Such a lot going on for a small town.