The day after our wedding Jess and I headed to Warm Springs Virginia for a short honeymoon. We had grand plans to leave the country for a beach on an island that would some day be underwater but with COVID we didn’t want to leave the state. That lead us to a few days at the Omni Homestead. It is a beautiful property in the mountains and were upgraded to a corner suite in the tower on the 20th floor (10 floors above ground) that had great some great views. On the way out there we stopped in Staunton to visit friends Mark and Melissa who weren’t able to attend the wedding. The suggested a cool pizza join in Staunton for dinner. Staunton had closed one of the main roads downtown and all of the restaurants had seating in the streets. It almost had a European vibe to it.
We spent the first day exploring the grounds, relaxing at the socially distanced pool and having dinner at the restaurant. I went for a late morning trail run and startled a baby bear along the path.
The next day we left the property to do a hike about 10 miles away at Douthat State Park. To get there by car we had to go over/around a mountain and it took over an hour on some pretty rural roads. Early in the hike we both spotted 3 baby bears and a mother crossing our path. We were on high alert the rest of the hike. We made our way up to the top of a mountain, past a waterfall, along the ridgeline and then back down. There were a few beautiful views and some great terrain. Much of the trail looked to be seldom used and we had to do some bushwacking in parts.
That evening we got takeout from a restaurant in town and ate in our room.
The next morning we ate breakfast on the porch in the rocking chairs and started making our way home. We stopped at Pollock winery for a bit and then to Bold Rock to resupply some of the ciders we can’t get in Richmond and tried some others while sitting in chairs down by the creek.
Laurie, Jess and I were in Charlottesville to catch the UVA vs Duke Football game. It ended up being a bit of a blowout and it was great to see quarterback Bryce Perkins playing in person and dominating the game. The lopsided result made it a fun game to be at.
That night Jess and I stayed just west of Charlottesville and then went for a hike to McAfee Knob on the Appalachian Trail. The foggy conditions were a bit spooky but also meant we didn’t get much of a view for most of it. At the top we were entirely surrounded by fog. It was nice to be in nature and a fun hike.
The second leg of our trip took us to Sacramento to visit my sister and her husband to meet my new nephew. Monday afternoon we arrived in Sacramento and intended on checking out the art museum there only to realize it wasn’t open on Mondays. We explored old town Sacramento before meeting up with Cheryl, Dean and Calvin to visit a neighborhood sports bar to watch UVA win the NCAA Basketball Championship.
Tuesday we all piled in the car and headed towards Sonoma and dropped Calvin off at his grandparents house for the day. Calvin’s grandfather was a sailor and has a huge train layout in his basement that was fascinating. Our next stop was Iron Horse Vineyards for a sparkling wine tasting.
We got lunch in Boone and then went to Porter-Bass winery for another tasting and met back up with Calvin. Next we drove out to the coast to see the ocean and walk on the beach which was made a bit treacherous with the high winds blowing the sand around. It was still pretty.
Wednesday we took the dog hiking in the Auburn State Recreation area. We hiked about 6 miles around the North Fork American River across the No Hands Bridge and under the Foresthill Bridge – one of the highest bridges in the country. The views were amazing and the trails were very nice. The whole park was just under an hour away from Sacramento and an easy drive.
Thanksgiving weekend we had a beautiful afternoon and Jess and I went exploring in the James River Park system. We started at the south end of the Potterfield Bridge, went east along the flood wall, then to the slave trail before backtracking to the Manchester Bridge and through part of the city back to Brown’s Island and the Potterfield Bridge back to the car. It was a long hike, but it was cool to see parts of the river we’ve not seen before. We were really surprised by all of the development east of The Boat House along the Capital Trail. We’ll have to do this again when the river level is lower and we can do the pipeline walk.
Sunday following the football game Jess and I filled the day with scenic drives, hiking and a winery. We started at the southern end of Skyline Drive and stopped about 20 miles in to hike Calvary and Chimney Rocks. It reminded me of the hike we did a couple years ago up to Old Rag without the scambling. It featured some wooded trails up and down hills that went by some rocks with lookouts and good views. The trail was 3.2 miles and took about an hour and a half.
We finished the drive to the Swift Run Gap entrance and continued to Barboursville Vineyards where we tasted wines and enjoyed the sunset.
This year after Thanksgiving my family went for an #OptOutside hike in the James River Park System in Richmond on Black Friday. The weather was beautiful for a hike and we spent about 2 hours going around Belle Isle and the Potterfield bridge.
Jess was in town for the holidays and with it being such a nice day I showed her the new pedestrian bridge over the James River and we retraced the hike I did early this month. We ran into Lauren and Patrick who took a couple pictures of us.
Following yesterday’s UVA Football game Jess and I were out on the trail early hiking Old Rag. It was a fun hike with some nice trails as well as some scrambling at the top. We started hiking around 9 and weren’t done until close to 5pm. 30,000 steps for me.