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 pieces of furniture left behind that we didn’t want and took those as well (a mattress and bed set, dresser pair, and armoire). This would greatly reduce our challenges the next time we came back to sort through the final items. After a few runs to Goodwill and the Fairfax County Recycling Center, we effectively cleared out most all of my stuff from the basement and the garage. As a side note, we paid $11 for the privilege of pulling up into a dump that had the grossest smell we had every smelled (literally, we were gagging as we were stepping in a brownish slime) to discard our trash. Throughout the rest of the trip, we would occasionally smell a ghost of that smell and instantly lose any semblance of hunger. Side note – if cities make it this filthy, disgusting, difficult, and expensive to recycle and throw away garbage, no wonder there is tons of roadside and public dumping.
Feeling good about accomplishing what we set out to at the rental, we said good bye to Kristan and made a beeline for the mountains and our getaway to central Virginia, where we would be staying through Wednesday of Labor Day weekend. We made good time, leaving Reston around 4PM, and checking in to our B&B in Arrington, CA (30 minutes from Lynchburg) at 7PM. We decided to stay at a place called the Harmony Hill B&B, which was decidedly religious, but still seemed to offer a relaxing stay with beautiful grounds. It was exactly as advertised.
Arriving to the start of our getaway to central Virginia, we were welcomed graciously by Wendy and Jay. While there were traces of religious dogma throughout the house (and their son greeted us wearing an NRA hat), it was not overtly in our faces and we were able to enjoy our stay. We stayed upstairs in the main house in the Sonata room, which was ironically beach themed. It was very comfortable and cozy. The house had central A/C, a king bed, a fireplace, and a wonderful selection of DVDs and DirectTV, but only mediocre Wi-Fi (we were in the country after all.
The first night on our getaway to central Virginia we decided to venture in to Lynchburg, a city I had never been to before in Central VA, to grab some dinner. I had previously only heard negative things – that it was bible thumping and red-neck – and was curious to form my own opinion. Brendan has a client there, Liberty University, and confirmed that observation.
Wendy recommended a place that we had already narrowed in on called Bootleggers Burgers, and suggested we park at the bottom of the hill and walk up the mountain. We weren’t sure what to expect, but after a short 30 minute drive in, we figured out what she was talking about. After a windy back-road that took us on through the abandoned warehouse and industrial area by the railroad tracks, we ultimately would up in a revitalized part of town by the waterfront with a park and pedestrian walkway terracing the side of the hill.
On the top of the hill was the hipster district of Lynchburg, and the path up was lined by lanterns and art. It was charming!
We entered the back-way in to Bootleggers and were welcomed by a college-aged lady with the most delightful Virginia accent. Our waiter, similarly, was charming and was a cross between country and hipster (twang, lumberjack dress, but had gauge earrings!). We ordered way too much food, but managed to eat most of it because it was so tasty, starting with our Bourbon inspired drinks (an Old Fashioned and a Bourbon mule) and pretzel bites, followed by a Caesar salad to share and two house burgers – both very good but with just a little too much mustard. Judging by the clientele, this was very much a college town, and it was a very good scene.
After dinner, we walked around the main street area at the top of the hill (there was nothing much there or open), and ran in to the same drunk people at several different points on the lattice while making our way down the hill. At the bottom, we discovered yet another walking area with neat shops and restaurants, and found an ice cream shop, MaeLynn’s. The ice cream was just OK.
After a good first experience on our getaway to central Virginia , we drove back to Harmony Hill, watched a little TV (First Time Flippers), and were asleep around midnight so that we would wake up in time for the 9AM breakfast. People in the country are apparently all morning people.