Whenever we're bored, the family and I like to stroll around downtown Leesburg. It's just big enough to be interesting and just small enough to keep the amount of walking reasonable. Nowadays we park in the public lot behind the courthouse and walk out from there, but the garage near the Tally Ho theater is still there for free use on the weekends.
We periodically check the Shoes Cup and Cork Club to see if they have completed their remodeling To our delight on this day, they were back in business! The place is beautiful as ever, and the coffee remains fantastic. Ahhh, that coffee. It's the little things, you know?
Having Adriana in the carrier on my chest raised more than a few glances and comments. One lady commented that I looked so calm and rested despite having an infant. I suppose I hid the fact that I had slept less than 5 hours pretty well then! I told the lady that it wasn't my first rodeo instead of giving away my secret.
This is the Oregon Inlet Life Saving Station. Kristin and I stumbled upon it after driving south on Route 12 in the Outer Banks shortly after our visit to the Bodie Island Lighthouse.
We pulled into the parking lot expecting a historical site or museum, but found nothing of the sort - just dunes. Oh, and horseflies. Lots of horseflies. We weaved through the dunes to arrive at the structure we'd seen from the road. It was overtaken by the sand, and the once-tall fence now came up to about our calves. Fortunately the structure was put up on stilts to avoid further damage. Turns out it has been abandoned since 1988 (having been in service since 1897)! What a great site to see.
I just arrived home from a wonderful vacation in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Kristin and I treated ourselves to an oceanfront room right at the entryway to the outer banks. We did what we intended - explored the local places to eat and hung out on the beach. Nothing more, nothing less! The weather cooperated for the most part, and I was able to try about five different coffee places.
It was certainly fantastic to wake up to this view every morning:
Here are the dining highlights:
There are a couple of things I will do differently next time. For one, I will make sure to bring my quality pair of sunglasses. Mere minutes from the house I noted that I had left my glasses behind, yet I did not turn around - mistaaaaaake! The cheap sunglasses I bought at the surf shop hurt my head and didn't cut the sun out very well. They at least allowed me to drive.
Another mistake would be bringing spray-based sunblock. The spray stuff from Wegmans stung our eyes and did not fend off the sun as well as a cream. In other words, the convenience of the spray was entirely nullified by its lack of effectiveness. Cream costs less, lasts longer, and does what it is supposed to do (you know, block the sun).
Lastly, I should really consider bringing special shoes to run on the beach. I ran on the beach twice during the trip and I had pain on both occasions. Some sand booties would help there.
Overall I am very impressed with the selection of stuff to do there. Although I have visited the place frequently since I was young, OBX continues to surprise me with its variety of shops and sights. I will have to set aside a bit more time in the future for more exploration of the southern end. This trip I was entirely focused on relaxation, so I am okay with leaving more than a few things undone. See you next year, OBX!
Don't have time to travel to Virginia to see Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park? No problem, I have you covered! This past Friday I took the day off to make the drive with my dog by my side. I recorded the entire trip with a Nikon D5100 and my handy-dandy Panosaurus tripod head. From 7:30 AM until 2 PM I was out shooting and enjoying the sights in the rolling hills of the Applachians. The day's forecast was perfect for panoramas, and I ended up taking one of every overlook from the top of Skyline to Big Meadows. The results are below for you to see - 50 miles of Virginia's finest countryside.
It always feels good to purchase locally. You get some fresh food and you help out small businesses. This weekend we went to the farmer's market at Brambleton in search of our favorite salsa by Chef Eloy. Seriously, get some if you can!
On the way out we spotted a fruit stand with the biggest blackberries I have ever seen. The camera at my side had been dormant, but I just had to record these beauties. Behold!