We woke up at 8AM for a day of Skyline Drive, starting with Brendan meeting Susan at 830 to feed the donkeys, cows, sheep, dogs, cats, and chickens. I prepared coffee and the French toast that was dropped off the previous day while he was out (by prepared, I of course mean “stuck in the oven”, since it was all already done for us). Today’s breakfast turned out even better than the day before – we really enjoyed the homemade organic lamb sausage, the apples, and of course the French toast with fresh butter from the farm. We especially loved the fact that these hearty breakfasts were enough to fuel us for the entire day. As this was our final day on the property, we again took our time in the morning with breakfast, finishing our puzzle, and savoring the last views of the sunlight dancing on the river. Susan was more than kind, offering a check-out literally whenever we wanted since she didn’t have more guests until the weekend, but we got out by 1130AM so that we could take Skyline Drive back to civilization at our own pace. We took our basket back up to the main house….
In the morning, we slept as long as we wanted (10AM) since we could cook our breakfast any time and take it easy until we were ready to go to Luray Caverns. This was really a wonderful thing. Not only were we not under any rush or timeline, but we could eat in stages, starting with some delicious organic coffee. We then started preparing breakfast which consisted of oat bran muffins (as easy as dumping the dry ingredients with oil and an egg in to a mixing bowl, mixing, and distributing in to the muffin tin nearby), elderberry jam, blackberries, bacon, grape juice (which was surprisingly delicious) and eggs from the farm. It turned out great, except for overcooking the bacon slightly to burn off the fat. After breakfast we set out for Luray Caverns, the highest rated caverns in the Shenandoah’s. It took us an hour to get there and the scenery was splendid. Moreover, being a Tuesday, there was very little traffic and no crowds at the caverns (and very few children). The entry fee was steep ($28/per person), but we were also paying for natural air conditioning for 2 hours which helped ease the pain. Luray Caverns….
The next morning, Labor Day Monday, the plan was to check out wineries, since we learned about Veritas Vineyards from some people in the glass-making class. Given our challenges with mornings, we asked Wendy in advance to wrap up our breakfast since the only time that was offered was 8AM. We ambled down around 10AM and ate our delicious breakfast sandwiches and blueberries at our leisure. We decided to take it easy and spend our Labor Day enjoying the fruits of other peoples’ labor. What better way than to take in some wineries? We painlessly checked out and made our way for Veritas Vineyards in Afton, but got sidetracked on the way by Bold Rock cidery where we stopped for an interlude. Brendan had some of this cider the night before and really enjoyed it, and randomly, here it was again! It was universe telling us to drink cider, clearly. We enjoyed the Disneyland-esque approach up a long windy, tree-lined walkway, greeted at the top by an exuberant and friendly blind man who welcomed us loudly to the cidery. We were primed with magic. We ordered a cider sampler from the bar and found a spot in the large, multi-roomed….
We had an awesome night’s sleep after only 5 hours for the previous 2 nights, and both being sick – so it felt good to get some rest before our big Monticello day. We started the day with a breakfast of waffles, bacon, and fruit – very tasty. We met some nice couples also staying at the B&B from North Carolina and Hampton, VA, respectively. The older couple was from Durham, and the lady worked at Duke University, although the typical bifurcation between the community and the school was evident after I told her I graduated from there (she preferred UNC!). The guests were very pleasant, but it was clear this God-fearing inn attracted a certain type of clientele, the kind two atheists can only tolerate in small doses. That said, even Brendan admitted that it was not so invasive that it was bothersome. Our first full day we decided to set out to Charlottesville to experience Monticello, UVA, and…some glass craft magic (more later). After some debate, we made Monticello our first stop – only to learn that the house tours were being scheduled two hours out. This put a bit of a wrench in our plans, as it….
Our Labor Day getaway to central Virginia and the Shenandoah mountains started with a few days of tedium in Reston, dealing with my rental property. We decided to ship the last vestiges of furniture back to Denver (save two couches, a dresser and side table) and once and for all remove my personal property from the premises. We got in from Denver on a non-stop United flight mid-day on Friday, rented a Nissan Rogue SUV from National, and started clearing out the owner’s closet in the Reston rental starting at 4PM. Our renter, Kristan, graciously allowed us a few days to take care of our business. We finished up around 7PM and headed to the Dulles Hilton for a quick shower, and then to Vienna to meet Brandon for dinner. We had a lovely night catching up with an old friend and started the Reston property sorting anew Saturday morning around 830AM. By 1030AM our movers (hired through Suburban Movers) arrives and packed up everything we had planned for them to take (with a few less boxes than anticipated by 1PM). We also felt like we got the better end of the deal when the guys also spotted a few….