Snapshots from an Appalachian spring (break)

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  1. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    Last week and the week before we spent 11 days exploring a part of the country neither my wife nor I have really visited, namely the Virginia countryside.

    I'm not doing a conventional trip report because I have no photographs of the SEA AS (Board Room) lounge (crowded, not much to say) prior to a SEA-DCA flight, the week before last, nor of a pre-departure AS lounge earlier this week for EWR-SEA (there isn't one.) For that matter I don't have any pictures of plane interiors, airplane food, nor of airports. No jammies nor caviar on AS F, just a decent deal if one uses one of their $99 companion tickets for 2 transcon F round trips.

    For the three viewers now remaining, I have some snaps of things we saw on the ground over a week of cruising around west-central Virginia, the Blue Ridge mountains, and various Jeffersonian sites, including his homes at Monticello and Poplar Forest, and his masterwork (IMO) the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville.

    Our route took us from Seattle to DCA, then to Fredericksburg the next day. From Fredericksburg we traveled via the Constitution Highway, past Civil War battlefields and James Madison's home, Montpelier, to Charlottesville.

    At Charlottesville we visited the UVA campus, possibly the best expression of neoclassical architectural composition in the USA, as well as Monticello, Jefferson's magnificent (but not very big) home and workspace, set in grounds whose beauty frankly outshine the house.

    From there it was 3 days exploring the countryside in western and west-central Virginia, including the marvelous Blue Ridge Parkway, a linear national park running along the mountain crest, as well as numerous other valleys, ridges, and hillsides glorious in spring foliage, flowering trees, and picturesque streams.

    We made our base of operations the Homestead, one of those mega-spa-golf resorts that hearken to an earlier age of elegance, privilege and noblesse oblige, in this case dating back to Jefferson's day, and incorporating one of his lesser-known buildings.

    We also visited Jefferson's "retreat" at Poplar Forest, near Lynchburg - another gem of neoclassic design, in this case being restored to its original condition after two centuries of alteration and neglect.

    The trip was concluded with a conference I had to attend in Washington last week, then a weekend with family in central New Jersey. The entirely unexpected highlight of the weekend was a day spent on Sandy Hook, a quite marvelous sand spit on the NJ coast opposite New York City, complete with an abandoned Army base that feels like a ghost town, lighthouse, nature reserve complete with birds and beavers, and - in warmer days - a clothing optional beach. Who knew?

    For more florid text and detail, I refer you to the trip report I posted on Fodor's; no need to repeat myself further. http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/an-appalachian-spring-break.cfm

    Pictures:

    One of James Madison's former slaves lived here with his family of 5:

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    Jefferson's best building, the Rotunda on the UVA campus:

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    The "Lawn" opposite the Rotunda, with student housing behind the colonnades:

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    Doors to the student housing:

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    A 13-star flag hung from one of the housing common rooms:

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    kiwi, Freddie Listo, N965VJ and 3 others like this.
  2. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    Monticello:

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    Poplar Forest:

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    The Homestead - 1:

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    The Homestead - 2:

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    Jefferson's hot springs bath house, owned by the Homestead:

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  3. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    Redbud trees blooming on the hillsides:

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    Along the Blue Ridge Parkway:

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    Country Road 1:

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    Country Road 2:

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    N965VJ and miles and smiles like this.
  4. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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  5. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    You chose a great time of year to visit this part of the world. We've had a wonderful Spring in the Appalachians. Thanks for the reminder that I need to hop on the Parkway (which is virtually in my backyard).
    Great pictures, and I, for one, am very happy to see a trip report without airplane or food photos. :D
     
    N965VJ likes this.

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