Sunday, July 7, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg Trip

Yes, dear friends, I realize that I have been "MIA" for some time now. I knew May would be a whirlwind, but did not take into account all the travel time I had coming in June. Lots of fun, but definitely kept me away from the computer. 

 The first week of June found John and I bound for Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. We had rain on four of the seven days we were there which did not put us out too much. We wished we could have walked Colonial Williamsburg more (we ended up primarily in Merchant's Square dodging the raindrops) and wanted to drive over to Monticello in Richmond. 

 We had a really fun time despite the rain and would love to return again in the near future. We did enjoy one jaunt up to Richmond where I was thrilled to find a Dillard's at the Short Pump Mall. Anybody able to guess why I was so excited for Dillards?.... They now carry the Pip Studio line! I was in complete and total Pip heaven (pictures of my purchases will appear in future posts). We also tried the Tropical Cafe's smoothies for the first time. So refreshing!

On Tuesday, we drove the Colonial Expressway out to Yorktown's charming riverfront walk. 

I enjoyed my loaded baked potato and bowl of shecrab soup at The Beach Delly. I did not enjoy watching two of the waitresses get into an argument right behind our table. I think they realized that everyone in the small establishment was hearing them and they abruptly stopped, but it was still awkward! Made for an interesting memory to be sure.

 The sand was warm and the breezes stiff as we made our way to the boardwalk overlooking the jetty. Fishermen lined each side of the walkway, their buckets of bait pungent in the noonday sun. Each one called out a friendly greeting as we passed by. 

 From the farthest point of the boardwalk, my breath caught as I beheld the magnificent way the water danced and sparkled before this picturesque Revolutionary Era home (still a private residence). 

The day grew hotter yet, so we decided to leave the sandy shores behind and take a driving tour of the remaining streets of historic Yorktown. I adored the aqua on this old home. 

On Wednesday, we discovered Norfolk, Virginia's famed shipyards lived up to every ounce of their impressive reputation. We made a quick stop here in the morning to buy our evening harbor cruise tickets before we drove on out to Virginia Beach. 

The beach was relatively quiet as the main summer traffic had not yet hunkered down upon the surprisingly small beach town. We merrily staked out our little corner of the sand and surf to enjoy two and a half hours of blessed peace and relaxation. Beach crochet is my new favorite activity!

 Even though I had slathered on liberal amounts of sunscreen, the tops of my feet began to pink up in an uncomfortable manner, so I asked John to burry them in sand. Which he obligingly did as he joked about burrying me up to my head! I assured him the rest of me was not burning and that my feet were quite sufficiently buried ;-) 

 The Atlantic Ocean had plenty of sights to keep us entertained. At one point, as you can see in the picture above, a yacht, a frigate, a parasailer, and some other type of pleasure boat paraded by in one fell swoop. Our far off perspective gave us the illusion that the parasailer was floating right above the frigate when in fact they were quite far apart. 

This straw hat was chosen purposefully for its superb floppiness (and the fact that it had pink piping). I knew that even with sunglasses the glare at the beach can be oppressive, so I wanted to be prepared. Forgot all about my idea to have a good, serviceable hat until the night before our treck to the beach. Thankfully, a local store had one at the right price and with exact right dimensions I needed. 

The waves and their steady rhythm gave the afternoon a sweet, lulling feeling. Gulls would scutter by with an occasional squawk. Everything was calm and right (I think I need to visit the beach more often).

 After the deep serenity of the early afternoon, we were given quite the wakeup call when we hit wall to wall traffic on our way back to Norfolk. We nearly missed our harbor cruise because it took twice as long as it should have for us to drive across town. The obliging crew saw us running from a distance and graciously waited for our arrival before setting sail. John and I could hardly breathe the first few minutes aboard after our race. We ended up finding a great spot on the top deck where we got first-rate views of all the incredible ships. 

Out of the myriad of ships we oohed and aahed over, I found two favorites. The US Naval Hospital Ship Comfort (pictured above) boggled my mind. This picture does not give you the perspective of how massive this fully operational, floating hospital is. It can bed 1200 patients and is equipped with state of the art technology, operating rooms, plus housing for all the hundreds of ship crew and hospital staff. Quite impressive!

 My next favorite was the recently decommissioned USS Enterprise. She was a nuclear powered ship that only had to be refueled one time in the whole of her 50 year naval career. The Enterprise was outfitted with all the amenities a crew could want during their downtime including barber shops, a movie theater, and a twenty-four hour fast food restaurant. Incredible! It was almost like a regular town (except for the floating at sea business). 

We were delighted with a glimpse of this sleek fellow on our return trip. He had a friend with him, but I was never able to get a picture with both at the same time. 

 On our final evening, we drove across the 17.5 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge (and through its two tunnels which were each one mile in length!). 

This is my rather failed attempt to make it look like I am holding up the passing frigate. We recognized this one from our harbor cruise a few evenings before and were excited to watch it begin its journey to cross the Atlantic. 

For our last golden evening of vacation, the sun set over the bay casting a perfect, clear light across the sandy shores.

Once on the other side of the bridge, we made our way to Port Charles where we had an exquisite dinner at Kelly's Gingernut Pub (the bar was separate from the dining tables making for a nice, quiet atmosphere) and made our way back home just as the sun was saying a final, colorful goodbye. 

The next morning, we got on the road early. Before completely leaving Williamsburg, though, we just had to stop into our favorite restaurant for one last meal and we were not disappointed. Breakfast at Food for Thought was every bit as scrumptious as dinner had been two nights previous. We had discovered it that past Friday when Tropical Storm Andrea came raging through with endless bucketfuls of rain. The dim lighting and delicious comfort foods so expertly prepared had given us the exact warm and cozy feeling we had needed after surviving such a sopping wet day. On this sunny Sunday morning, it was hard to remember the darkness of Friday as we gobbled down the delectable offerings. With our bellies full, we began the nine hour drive back to Ohio reminiscing about all our favorite places and making plans for what we would like to do the next time we visit. 

May all your summer travels be safe and pleasurable!