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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report September Trip report to Virginia

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I'm a bit tardy writing about our 9 days in Virginia but here goes my report. I'll break it up into two sections so it won't be so long.
We flew into Norfolk which was fine but for those of you who recommended Richmond, you were right on. Our decision however was based on a cheaper flight into Norfolk & car rentals were way less in Norfolk. We did get stuck for an hour prior to going through the tunnel but lucky for us we were parked next to a teenager who turned his radio volumn to bone vibrating rap for our free entertainment. Oh My!!
Our first night we stayed in Charlottesville so we would be close to Monticello. On the way there we spotted Pierce's BBQ. Great find. Food was good & fast. The drive to Charlottesville was very pretty. Driving down tree covered highways are a treat for us when we're used to the desert & lots of open spaces.
Monticello was wonderful. We got our tickets on line which allows you to pick your time for the tour. We got there early so they let us join the earlier group. We were fascinated with the stories of Thomas Jefferson & all of his inventions--ice house, wine dumbwaiter, windows that opened to doors, etc. The garden tour & Mulberry Row tour were equally fascinating. We walked the grounds & viewed the cemetery. Could have easily spent the day there. We really needed another day to visit Montpelier & Ashland Lawn but had friends that we hadn't seen for 20 yrs waiting for us in Shenandoah NP. We went Labor Day week so we expected a crowd. We were happily surprised to be one of the few people on Skyline Drive. It was a very pleasant drive with lots of overlooks to view the surroundings. We stayed at Skyland Lodge which is an older & rustic lodge but comfy. The view from our balconey was breathtaking. There were deer all over & even saw wild turkeys. The visitor center at Big Meadows is very nice with lots of information & nice gift shop. I picked up a CD with Shenandoah soundtrack to put us in the mood. We had dinner that night at the restaurant at Skyland & must say it was one of the best meals we've ever had.
The next morning we continued to explore & took a fun hike to Dark Hollow Falls. It was a very pretty hike with a little stream on one side & huge rocks on the other. On the way back, a baby bear ran across the path in front of us causing us to pick up our pace in case Momma was nearby. Great treat!
Weather was beautiful. I loved the peacefulness of the Shenandoah mountains. Our trip back we took the back roads & ended up in Chancellorville to view the battlefields. The history in the area is amazing.
To be continued----

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