cabin May 28th, 2012
Howdy-ho. We spent our long weekend in the mountains of VA with 6 of our good friends, Adam & Anna, Keith & Brigid, Mike & Lindsey, (and Bowser and Obi dog) from DC. My grandparents built a cozy little cabin on Hightop Mountain, just east of Shenandoah National Park (and Skyline Drive) — David and Kristy lived there for several years, and my parents will soon live there as soon as they sell their house, which goes on the market VERY soon. We headed out early on Friday afternoon and got to enjoy some time away from the city. Traffic was relatively light getting there, and we found a great little drive-thru ice-cream place (Moo Thru = genius) that seemed to make the trip go by even faster.
On Saturday morning we drove to Massanutten to go on a 7-mile canoe adventure up the Shenandoah River, which we learned is a tributary of the Potomac and flows northeast. We also learned that the water was unseasonably high right now, which allowed us to cruise along quite nicely for the first half of the journey with minimal paddling. For the second half of our route, the water stilled a bit and required some team paddling work. Matt and I are about as compatible together in a canoe as we are when we drive places together (mostly argueing over who is not navigating correctly), but we managed to get it together enough to get through some wimpy little rapids. It was a scorching hot day, so I jumped out of the canoe for a bit and just floated, cold but refreshing. I even managed to get back into the canoe with little problem. A few 100 yards later, Matt took a dip in the water. Unfortunately when he pulled himself back into the canoe, we tipped ourselves over, filled completely with water, and had to swim to the cow-manure filled shores to dump out the water and right ourselves once again. Thank goodness there weren’t any cows at that particular spot, as there were elsewhere along the river, because those suckers were looking pretty hot and ornery standing around in the sun. It was a great little trip though and probably all the more memorable for the tipping incident. Thankfully, we left our cameras behind and there is no photo evidence of this part of the trip. Had we brought them, they’d have been completely water-logged…
That afternoon, we headed back to the cabin in time to watch the sun go down, play some bocce in the driveway, and grill up a feast of hamburgers and sausages, bacon-wrapped asparagus, sweet potatoes, and grilled corn, all on our tiny little charcoal grill. It was an amazing feast, our friends know how to cook! We stayed up that night playing Skill Roll (with the added challenge of obstacles) and telephone pictionary, where some infamous sketches were drawn, such as Brittany on the RV, which later turned into a runaway baby.
On Sunday morning, a brave few of us (me, Matt, Keith and Brigid) hiked a little ways up the mountain road with Bowser and Obi in tow. The dogs played, wrestled, and ran most of the way up, and quickly tired themselves out on a hot morning. We saw lots of bugs, wildflowers, and trees and I wore David’s redneck orange hunting hat, just one of the many treasures we found at the cabin.
Around lunchtime, we ventured 45 minutes south to Charlottesville for eats at Miller’s Restaurant, which is apparently (cool factoid alert) where Dave Matthews used to work. We ate seafood po-boys and had some beers and then wandered around to the shops. It’s such a cute little town and wish we could have spent some more time perusing, so hopefully we can make it back soon. But we had a timed tour reservation to make at Monticello, so we headed onward.
Monticello was pretty impressive to me. They tour was quick and felt a little rushed, probably since it was crowded for a holiday weekend, but I learned a lot about Jefferson and the most important take-home of the trip was his ingenius dumb-waiter system that allowed wine to be brought up from his cellar to the side of the fireplace. Matt and I need to get on that soon for our house – both the wine cellar and the dumb-waiter system, I love it. I also appreciated learning about the on-going nature of Jefferson’s architectural designs, house-building, book collecting, and education in general. He seems like he was a pretty cool person to have had a glass of wine with by the fire. After the house part of the tour, we wandered around the beautiful flowers, gardens, and his memorial gravesite.
On Sunday night, we stayed up until the wee hours learning and playing Settlers of Catan, which is my new favorite game and, like Lindsey, I want to begin forcing all my other friends to learn it so we can play it all the time. It requires lots of beer, bargaining, luck, and strategy. A great end to the day, and a great end to the trip. Feels nice to get away sometimes.
this is one of the two bears we saw on the trip… the other one was a little brown cub that was running across Rt 33 a good ways behind our car as we were driving… I’m sure it’s momma bear was not far behind, but we didn’t see her
*not pictured: the 3 foot black snake we found chillin’ on the deck at the cabin. i might have tried to take a photo of it if I wasn’t busy running away from it like a big weenie.
tags: dogs, flowers, travel, virginia, weekend trips
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