After spending a couple days in Dupont Circle, exploring the city, oohing and ahhing at every building along the mall, figuring out the Metro, and drinking wine in our hotel bed at 8pm, it was time to head out of town.
Mike likes exploring cities, but I knew he'd love the drive through Virginia (26th state for me!), to Shenandoah National Park where we spent the night in a hilltop B&B in Luray. I surprised him with this night away, and it was such a wonderful way to break up our trip.
Before we headed out of town, though, we stopped for lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl.
What a place! You have to go here when/if you visit DC, for the history, the pictures lining the walls, the wait staff, the food. I had a veggie hot dog (just okay, but that's to be expected) but the veggie chili was good and Mike said the non-veggie hot dog and chili was some of the best he's ever had.
Oh, and we also stopped at the Air & Space Museum at Dulles on our way out of town. It was here I missed Kyle so terribly because I knew he would have loved the hell out of that place. It was very cool and any person who has ever loved an airplane should stop here. (It's free!)
Then we officially hit the road.
Some of my favorite memories with Mike are memories in a car, on a long stretch of road between a great place we're leaving and a great place we're heading to. We talk, sometimes we don't, we sing to the radio (listening to Mike jam to Taylor Swift AND the Spice Girls was a highlight of this particular trip), we swap favorite Kyle stories, we stop for stupid pictures along the way. Oh, Mike, thanks for always taking the wheel when we hit the road. For letting me put my feet on the dash and read magazines and take pictures out the passenger window while forgetting to tell you where to turn next, so we always have to turn around once during a trip. You gently roll your eyes at me, and I fall in love with you all over again. You are a wonderful travel partner, and I really don't thank you enough for that.
Once in Luray, we stayed at Once Upon a Mountain, a three-bedroom hilltop B&B and it was such a charming place. I picked this place through Google, Yelp!, and Trip Advisor alone. It didn't disappoint (except for one teeny thing I'll mention below).
I picked the best-rated room (the Queen's Suite), and it turned out the innkeeper was out of town during our visit and the other rooms were vacant, so we basically had the entire place to ourselves. That was a treat.
The non-treat and one downside of the place was that stinkbugs are apparently very popular in Virginia, and especially in the more naturey parts of Virginia, and extra especially inside our B&B. This didn't bother Mike at all. He scooped them up as he found them and tossed them outside. THIS BOTHERED ME QUITE A LOT. At one point, I thought I saw one flying toward my head and when I told Mike this (LOUDLY), he said, "Oh no, they don't fly. Must have been a moth." Then he went to get a drink refill, and I Googled the hell out of "stink bugs fly" and when he got back 15 seconds later I said (AGAIN, LOUDLY) "They do TOO fly! Google says they can totally fly!"
"Yeah, I know they can, I just didn't think you'd Google it that quickly."
He both lies about bugs and underestimates my Google skills.
We still had a great night, and I'd stay there again (stink bugs and all) but perhaps armed with some very strong bug spray of some kind next time around.
The next day, before heading out of town to stay with Caitlin (!!!!) for the night, we stopped at the Luray Caverns (very cool, although very similar to some caverns we've been to a few times before near San Antonio) and drove about 30 miles of Skyline Drive.
(There was still snow on the ground!)
Virginia, you weren't too shabby at all. Other than your stink bugs but we have cockroaches, so I'm not talking too badly about you behind your back or anything.
Next up: A few days/nights in Alexandria, a day trip to Annapolis, more monuments, and a lot of champagne with one of my favorite bloggers.