Some weekend days, Kyle and I wake up and, before we have the chance to think about the errands and chores we should be doing, decide we’re getting out of the city for the day. It has been so nice lately that this has been happening at least one day every weekend for the past several weekends.
Even though we’ve lived in the DC area for a long time now, there are still a lot of spots in Maryland and Virginia that we haven’t explored yet. And while long weekends away aren’t a possibility at the moment (although our 10 day road trip to Canada and New England is just around the corner!!) sometimes a short day trip is all you need to recharge your batteries.
First up was Winchester, VA. We found out about it because I was searching for day trips and it came up in a few places, mostly for an apple blossom festival that we missed in the spring (but I kind of want to go back in the fall for what I’m sure is amazing cider/picking/fun). We had THE MOST DELICIOUS barbecue for lunch, found an enormous swap meet, and passed by Dinoland! I mostly also need to go back to go to Dinoland.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a huge sunflower bloom happening about 45 minutes away outside of Potomac, MD (it was briefly a huge Instagram sensation). I had wanted to go hike along the C&O Canal towpath anyhow, after we had a Rotary speaker from the C&O Canal Trust at one of our meetings, so we decided to stop off along the way. It was cool, but I must say, the sunflowers in Sveti Nikole were way prettier (and hadn’t been destroyed by the aforementioned instagrammers having photo shoots in the field).
After seeing the flowers, we went up to a part of the towpath we hadn’t visited before. Interestingly, construction on the towpath started just before the railroad became a thing, and as a means of transportation it never really turned a profit. It’s essentially a path that’s four donkeys wide, which runs along a canal that was originally used to move goods upstream (the donkeys would pull long, shallow-draft canal boats to what were at the time rural communities in MD and VA). Some of the lockhouses, where the families that tended the canal locks lived, are still standing and are even available to rent and stay in for a few nights; they’re redone so that the visitors can experience different eras of what life was like on the canal. The towpath is 186 miles long, and we saw lots of bikers and hikers on the stretch we visited. We also saw a green heron, a baby snake, and heard tons of frogs. Before getting in the car to find some lunch, we found out Abigail does indeed like water, after she plopped herself down in the Potomac to cool off.
Last Sunday we took off in the complete opposite direction a bit south of DC, and visited Piscataway Park. There a colonial-era farm there that is run kind of as a living history museum (the buildings are restored and they still have farm animals around!) Abigail had the chance to roll around in chicken turds and bark at some sheep taking a nap in a field, and we got to see the riverfront view of Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s estate.
I know we won’t be in DC forever, so while we have the chance I’d like to see as much of what we haven’t seen yet as we can. My major bucket list item for this fall is Shenandoah (I know, I don’t know how I’ve live here this long and have still never been). But I also want to go to Deep Creek Lake, and Pittsburgh, and of course make time to go to the zoo/museums more (I still haven’t been to the modern art wing of the National Galleries since it reopened!)