Monday, August 10, 2009

4 trips, 1.5 months; I am tired

I am slowly approaching recovery from travel burnout. But the blog must go on! I've got photos to post! It's now early August, the cicadas are whirring along with the air conditioners. After dinner tonight, I sat on the side porch and enjoyed a bowl of melty raspberry sherbet while listening to the summer noises of basketballs and crickets and sprinklers and dogs. I leafed through a Gourmet magazine and thought, ahhh, I don't have to pack anything for this weekend!

I do have some lovely memories to share, however. So let's begin.
After the wonderful trip to Nantucket back in June, we had a quick weekend up in New Hampshire. This doesn't count as a trip because it is where we visit Mr. Right's family pretty regularly. We did, however, enjoy the sandcastle competition at Hampton Beach, which made the visit more vacationlike.

Then we were off to Virginia and Washington DC where Mr. Right's brother lives. I lived in DC for a year so I'm always happy to return to the area, as well as being that much closer to my homestate of PA. We drove the scenic route through the Cheasapeake bay peninsula, stopping in New Castle, DE for a rest break and learning about motor oil ice cream, and reading sign after sign promising us fireworks, peanuts and Virginia ham. We finally gave in to the hype and stopped for crabcakes here, at The Great Machipongo Clam Shack, where the crabcakes were every bit worth the small delay on arriving to see the much beloved cousins.

We pressed on for the remainder of the 11 hour drive, and arrived in beautiful Chesapeake just in time for Independence Day and much joyful reunion. The morning of the holiday, we got up early to wish bon voyage to a friend of the family who was headed off to the Middle East for military duty. Mr. Right's sister in law made a sign with her grade schoolers for us to hold which was a big hit while the bus drove away.

We toured an outdoor airplane museum afterward and the kids enjoyed having their photos taken next to all of these crazy planes.

Virginia Beach was a first for all of us. It was really pretty and hey, who knew the ocean could be warm after years of New England ice water? We briefly visited The Dismal Swamp but were chased away by the dismal mosquitoes; we stopped by the Norfolk Harbor Festival where we hung out with shanty singing pirates and human grapevines (see photo).
We visited Colonial Williamsburg (where we had a group photo in front of the governor's mansion and then tried on silly hats) and in the same day went to Busch Gardens, where Mr. Right and I, both hardened roller coaster veterans, were humbled by Apollo's Chariot, a ride that left us quaking in our boots and bewilderedly wondering if we were just getting too old for such things.

Then we were off to DC where, frankly, it was too hot to take many pictures. But we introduced the kids to the standards (in order: Air & Space, National Museum of the American Indian (where, strange as it sounds, the food court is amazing. Next time we're getting the turtle soup!), the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, National Archives (ugh, longest wait ever), and finally, Arlington National Cemetary. All in 95 degree heat that was NOT a dry heat, and mostly on foot except when we just couldn't manage another step and flagged down a bike carriage and let him do the sweating for us. Fortunately, somebody was wise enough to book a hotel with a pool right in the middle of the city, so we made good use of it.
And so, we completed the return leg of the Great American Road Trip in our little red wagon, accompanied by a great book on tape, The Last Dragon, which was a big hit and may have saved our sanity as we crawled through NYC traffic.
Next stop on our frantic US tour: Chicago!

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