Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Little Getaway

It was a long-time-in-coming anniversary trip.  
We headed east for a little bit of time together,
 three days, just the two of us.  
We wanted to go somewhere away from home, but not too far.  
We headed to Norfolk/Chesapeake.  
No need to spend all the precious time on the road. 
Although, even the interstate is beautiful this time of the year!

 One of the first things to do once we got the hotel, was to figure out
 what we were going to do on this exploration of east Virginia's port cities.  
We had pre-planned nothing. 
(It’s possible to do this when you don’t have kids along.)
  I gathered up any and all brochures that looked interesting
 from the stand in the hotel lobby. 

We marked the things that were the most attractive looking 
and then picked our top choices from that selection. 
We’re fortunate to have similar top picks when it comes to sightseeing, 
although Nathan appreciates most anything with a motor, 
and I gravitate toward old homes.  
Also, at four months pregnant I’ll admit to having an extra fondness for this sign,
 and was on the lookout for it most of the trip.
  Oh, my poor husband!

Our hotel was in Chesapeake, and we decided to spend 
the first day in nearby Portsmouth. 
I’m pretty sure this is what the roads in the area look like.
Mostly intertwined cloverleaves.  Mind blowing. 
Thank God for a GPS!  
A map would not have cut it.  

 Once we had checked out the visitor’s center in the historic part of Portsmouth, 
we decided to ferry over the Elizabeth River to the Norfolk side 
and check out the Battleship, U.S.S Wisconsin, which was top on our list.  
We were obviously “not from around here” as we looked at all the massive ships
 being maintained in the shipyards along the way. 
Very cool.

We found the Wisconsin to be a part of the museum, Nauticus, 
and proceeded to spend the rest of the day there. 
The museum was great – I’d like to take the girls sometime.  
But the Battleship was definitely the highlight.  
Exploring all on your own, a retired ship with so much history,
 is just a cool experience. 
The ship was sent out for the first time in 1943 for WWII and retired in 1991. 
 Nine 16-inch guns that fired shells weighing over one ton apiece, is nothing small. 
You can see Nathan in a blue shirt, standing below one of them.  

Below deck you can look through the kitchens, offices, work areas, 
and sleeping quarters all left like they were when the ship docked
 for the last time. 
 The state smell of diesel fuel lingers.

Day two we headed back to Portsmouth to do what we’d
set out for the day before - just to see the old town area.  

 We used a self-guided tour brochure and walked the streets
just looking at the various styles of architecture and reading some of the history.
 The homes are currently occupied, but information is available
 telling about their past. 
One home is open to the public.   The Hill House, is fully furnished with the collections of one family
over a 190 year period.  It’s history looks fascinating! 
Unfortunately, it wasn’t open for tours while we were there.
 Maybe next time.

 This is an Irish “row house”, the last of the row
 that was settled by Irish immigrants in the early 1800’s.

 Saturday, our last day, turned out to be blustery and raining,
so we headed home a bit sooner than we’d hoped.

Still on our list “To Do Next Time” is:
1. The Great Dismal Swamp (Hiking was not on my idea of fun,
with the fatigue I’m experiencing with this pregnancy).
2. Portsmouth’s Naval Shipyard Museum (closed for renovations)
3. Norfolk Botanical Garden (Pouring rain is not ideal for a pleasant garden stroll.)

On the way home, the skies cleared near Richmond,
so we used the trusty GPS to find a little something to do.
 We walked around for a while at the
“Meadow Farm at Crump Park” near Glen Allen. 
It’s a beautiful setting with living history exhibits, and no fees.
 I can’t wait to take the girls there!

As we headed west and homeward, I realized how much
I missed the woods and mountains. 
There’s just something special about catching the first glimpse of blue
 ahead in the distance of the interstate.

And then it's down the lane and home sweet home!

“I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.”

Psalm 7:17

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