A Travellerspoint blog

Richmond VA

semi-overcast 15 °C

My morning walks included Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery and walking trail by the CSX railway, where they haul hundreds of cars of coal.

And Belle Isle, former site of a notorious civil war prison

In the afternoons, we walked a self-guided walking tour found on their tourist website called the Liberty Trail. Unfortunately, some of the sites have been moved and others poorly marked, so we didn’t see as much as planned. We did join a guided tour of the house of Maggie Lena Walker who was the first African-American female bank president - an immense achievement. We also saw the White House of the Confederacy.

And took a canal tour, which was relaxing, but not really worth the 40 minutes as you couldn’t really see many of the sites from the canal; however, sailing through the huge flood gates was interesting.

And interesting art
Including Mr. Bojangles

Posted by Deb Godley 01:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Cape Charles to Richmond VA

Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia Air & Space Science Center, Holiday Inn

sunny 14 °C

Lovely morning walk, sunny and light wind. Today, i took the left at the beach and, with a low tide, walked to Kiptopeke State Park. Lots of birds, in flight, wading in the calm waves, leaving footprints in the sand.

Beach access for the houses I can’t see…

Nice little park for fishing, $5/rod

Immediately after leaving the KOA, we paid the $14 toll and crossed Chesapeake Bay on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. First opened in 1964, it spans 17.6miles with two tunnel sections.

We stopped at the Virginia Air and Space Science Center. At $22pp, it felt a bit overpriced, given much of it was closed or not operational. We arrived in time to see the IMAX about asteroids, but I thought I already learned as much from the Bruce Willis movie, Armageddon. The ad for the Oceans movie looked more interesting, but the timing doesn’t work now. Planes and NASA space stuff on display. Lots of kids on class trips. So, busy and loud.

We checked in at the Holiday Inn Downtown, centrally located for seeing civil war sites tomorrow. Executive King room, with lots of room, comfy bed, fridge & microwave. Internet seems good as well.

Feeling like pizza, we walked down Cary St to the Bottoms Up Pizza restaurant, which boasts a sour dough thick, crispy crust. It did not disappoint. Steve ordered a large meat lovers with mushrooms and I ordered a Chesapeake - parmesan-white sauce with crab and onions. Really excellent. Half of the large will be lunch tomorrow.

Nice walk to/from as well. Not sure the significance of the guys hoisting the sail, but I liked it.

Posted by Deb Godley 23:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Cape Charles & Savage Neck NP

sunny 9 °C

Morning walk around the KOA and to the beach. This is a large park, with several hundred sites. The lowest number sites, 1 through 29 are mostly permanent seasonal residents, I think. Big rigs, fifth wheels, trailers with bump-outs in lots with little posted signs claiming the space and welcoming visitors to “The Smiths” or “The Jones Summer Place”. Wooden patios with wooden deck chairs and tables, heavy enough to stay put despite the strong winds, little fenced yards, ATVs and golf carts covered with heavy tarps. These were permanent, but almost no one was here yet; the season hasn’t started yet. The restaurant and pool don’t open until April 30.

Other sites are filled with alternating yellow and blue cabins, much nicer than the KOA Kamping Kabins we booked two decades ago as a splurge when it was raining hard or we’d driven long hours with more hours the next day and no desire to put up a tent in the wet, dark evening. There are a few RVs and young families playing on the bouncy pad by the closed pool. There’s a parking area for the golf carts you can rent if you don’t want to walk from your site to the showers at the end of the row.

We drove the 20 min to Cape Charles and walked around the historic district and local beach and pier.

Lunch was seafood chowder and pretzels for me and chicken fingers and fries for Steve. I had hot water and lemon in a lovely cup.

The Savage Neck Dunes National Area Preserve is another 20 min north. I imagined a large dune area like the Oregon Dunes NP based on the title and despite the lack of info on their site. Anyway, it’s a very small preserve with no evident “dunes”, although the paths were sandy. I knew there were walking trails, but couldn’t find any distance info. We were disappointed that the entrance signage also didn’t provide trail info, but we set out anyway on the beach trail.

The loblolly pine

Returning to the car parking lot, which is restricted to a maximum of 8 vehicles (all others will be towed), we saw that the back of the entrance sign had a map of the preserve and trails. Why wasn’t that on the front???

Dinner in the room bought from the FoodLion.

Posted by Deb Godley 02:21 Archived in USA Comments (0)

West Haven - Cape Charles VA

Trader Joe’s, REI, Microcenter, non-toll roads, bad weather

storm 5 °C

This was planned to be a long driving day - 7.5 hrs, leaving early, short breaks and arriving late afternoon. None of that actually happened. We started latish with an 8:30 breakfast, on the road by 9:15. We decided we wanted to check out Trader Joes, to buy some recommended items - unexpected cheddar, honey moon wine, dark chocolate peanut butter cups. The first TJ’s was in NY and didn’t sell wine, so that necessitated a 2nd stop at a Trader Joes in NJ.

Also, Steve had lost his toque. We think he left it in the restaurant when we met with Brian and I’d lost my headband from Iceland (damn!). I think it fell out of the car when we stopped for the Thai lunch. We’d tried the Walmart but they had no winter headwear, so decided on a quick stop to Dicks and then to REI. We did find toques for both and a warm headband/ear cover, so productive stops.

We had planned, also, on a stop to a Microcenter Computer store to look at laptops.

That was 5 stops, without even counting gas and meals. Yikes.

Then, there was the toll roads. The tolls were all electronic - no stopping and passing over change or a credit card at a booth. You are required, it seems, to arrange payment in advance. There was a ** 3-digit number to call to set up the toll payment but it didn’t work from our phone. So we decided to use the avoid toll route option. That added more than an hour to the driving time.

Next, and worse of all, there was a relentless pounding visibility-impairing rain. Not only did the rain necessarily reduce speed, but also increased the accident rate, with several times where all the lanes merged into one and we crawled along.

in all, we were on the road (including stops) for 14 hours. The prolonged and multiplied stops, toll-avoidance, rainstorm/accidents, and late start had us arriving finally at the Sunset Beach Resort at 11:30pm.

We passed the time listening to the Killing Floor (when we could hear over the rain) and snacking on bread and unexpected cheddar, dark chocolate PB cups, and mandarin oranges.

We pulled in, hoping the checkin was still open - my email from the road went unanswered. There was no problem, though, as the desk and shop are open 24/7, even in this off-season.

The resort is actually a motel and KOA. We didn’t see any of it last night, though. Just stumbled into our room and straight to bed.

Posted by Deb Godley 15:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

West Haven

Day 3: exploring West Haven, Long Island Sound


Very windy day, so bundled up for a morning walk to the water. Easter Sunday, so not much traffic between 6 & 8 am. The walk was pretty quiet, on back streets and in Savin Rock Park on Long Island Sound. A few families had been out on the beach and pier to see the Easter sun rise and now walked back to their cars or homes.

Later, we had a late lunch at a Thai place. Our first choice had been the #1 West Haven restaurant per tripadvisor - Zuppardi’s Apizza, but it was closed for Easter. We spotted Sri Thai and were glad we stopped. The service was good, the food tasty and hot and a good menu. I opted for won ton soup and then mango chicken and Steve had a chicken fried rice. All very good.

After breakfast (included with the room - good hot omelettes and bacon; waffles with whipped cream), we asked if the garbage could be picked up from our room. The front desk said “they’d try, but we needed to give 24 hours notice for housekeeping service”. We would have had to call ahead before checking in to let them know we might need the garbage removed the next afternoon. Ridiculous. Other than the nonexistent housekeeping service (the garbage was all but overflowing when we left), the hotel was nice: comfortable beds, good internet, yummy breakfast. There was a gym and a indoor pool available as well, although we didn’t use them.

The late Thai was filling enough that we didn’t go out again. I finished reading the Thursday Club Murder Mystery by Richard Osmond. Very lighthearted, amusing, and British humour. Loved it.

Posted by Deb Godley 14:40 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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