Second Week in Virginia

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April 25th 2022
Published: May 16th 2022
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Sunday: National Park #16 was visited today- Shenandoah National Park which is about an hours drive from DC. The park is divided nicely into 3 regions so I explored the northern part first. I did a hike to the top of Mary's rock- a part of the park where the skyline drive is not on the ridge line but instead a tunnel that was blasted by dynamite. The park's greatest asset is skyline drive- 105 miles through the park at 35 mph and 75 scenic overlooks. It's truly designed to curve with the ridge line and gives fantastic views. The consequence of the road being on the ridge line is that most hiking is canyon style- hiking down from the road first and then you have to hike back up. I am not a fan of canyon style hiking- you get your reward of going downhill first, you get trapped psychologically because you have to go back up no matter what and you're hiking back up later in the day when it's warmer. So I did one of the few hikes in the park that isn't canyon style. The portion of the Appalachian trail goes through the park as well so a lot of the trails are part of the over 2000 mile trail. I can now say I've hiked part of the Appalachian trail 😊

Tuesday: Went back for some board games 😊

Wednesday: Went for an after work hike to Great Falls Park. Did stay out a little late and it was very dark and the gates were being closed as we left. Oops. It's difficult working west coast hours on the East coast and still having time to do anything on work days... Still had some great views of the river and enjoyed the hike though!

Thursday: Someone told me there was a national chain restaurant called nando's. I had never heard of a chain in the US called nando's but I do remember the one in the UK. Turns out it's an international chain and there are stores in the US in the DC area and Chicago. So it had been 12 years since I'd been to nando's and it was delicious!

Saturday: A dog free day in DC! (Copper got to go to doggy day care and play all day lol) Started by taking Metro (DC subway system) to downtown- took about 45 minutes since I'm staying on the outskirts (last metro station on the line). Having efficient good public transit is such a rarity in the US (and even more so on the west coast) it reminded me of my time in Europe. Once downtown I spent the morning at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which is huge. Got to see the nation's gems and the hope diamond. Lots of other cool exhibits, videos and all kinds of stuff. What's awesome about DC is almost all the museums are free! What's not awesome about DC currently is that most museums need a free timed entry pass for limited capacity and they get to capacity within minutes of being released 😞

After a morning at the museum I took an electric scooter through the national mall and to the nationals park because the giants were visiting! It was about 2 miles and a cool way to see the city. The giants won- 5 to 2 😊 The weather was great too- sunny and about 75* so a great afternoon for a ballgame. After the game I headed up to Georgetown with it's cobblestone streets, lots of shopping and apparently famous for cupcakes but I didn't try any- it was an hour long line for a cupcake craziness! I did enjoy a delicious taro bubble tea though and some thai food before taking the metro back home.

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