As I was growing up, my family would always take a summer vacation to destinations around the U.S. For the past few years, each summer, my mom has gotten assignments to travel to different cities for a week. My dad usually goes with her and sometimes my sister and I tag along. A little over a year ago, we all traveled down to Virginia to visit historical sites, explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, and relax on Virginia Beach. Here are some images from our first day!
On our first day we packed up the car and headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew that we would be in car most of the day as it is basically a scenic route through Virginia (and North Carolina), alongside the Blue Ridge mountains. In other words, a road trip! Supposedly the views are amazing, but it was extremely foggy most of the day. I think my dad was a little disappointed, but I was in favor of the fog. It created such a mysterious, but beautiful atmosphere. I’ve never been so in awe of fog before.
The coolest part about the Blue Ridge Parkway (well, Virginia in general) is that you can make your way towards many cute, historical towns. My dad and I are history buffs and nerd out about any historical site. Seeing something we learned about in History class in real life will never cease to intrigue, excite, and inspire me.
Our first stop was in Lexington, where there are many Civil War historical sites, including the only house that Stonewall Jackson, a civil war general, ever owned. For me standing in remotely the same place that a notable character in history did many, many years ago is so amazing. I think it’s the passage of time, how things have changed, and seeing a glimpse of the past that makes experiencing historical sites like this memorable and significant.
For a town filled with historical sites, I was surprised by how small the town of Lexington is. The place where Stonewall Jackson and his family are buried is only a short walk from his house!
You may be wondering why there are lemons at the base of the monument. Visitors bring lemons as a tribute to Jackson because he was concerned about his health so, he ate many fruits and veggies. Apparently his favorite fruit was peaches, so I am still wondering why there are lemons as well….
We also learned that while Stonewall Jackson is buried here, his amputated arm is buried in a different city. Yup, it’s these little interesting facts that make visiting burial places of Civil War generals so fascinating to me. #nerdalert, I know.
On our way to the next site, we stopped at this cute, little burger and donut joint, called Pure Eats. Burgers and donuts for lunch? Yes, please. Mint Chocolate Chip donuts at that -just yum!
A short distance from Pure Eats is Washington and Lee University and Lee Chapel, where another Civil War general, Robert E. Lee and his favorite horse, Traveller are buried. Lee, who was the president of the university, had the chapel constructed. Inside is a interesting museum which includes Lee’s office that has been preserved exactly the way it was the day that he passed away as well as a history of George Washington and Lee’s family and of the university.
Though Lee and his family are actually buried below the chapel (pretty much below this sculpture), his horse Traveller is buried outside of the chapel, where students toss pennies in hopes of being granted with good luck on their studies.
After spending late morning and afternoon in Lexington, we hopped back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway without any plans, but to just wander about and enjoy nature…and the fog!
We ended the day watching the sunset on Mill Mountain, which overlooks the city of Roanoke. Standing over the city, watching the lights sparkle, I thought of all the new places we experienced that day and how throughout my life my parents, had instilled in me the beauty and power of exploration.