summer roadtrip

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After our car broke down, my grandparents graciously offered to sell us one of their cars. The only problem was that it was in Florida. So, within a week, we booked our one way flight to Tampa and prepared for a week of travel through the south.

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We spent a relaxing few days in Bradenton at my grandparents house, enjoying Grandma’s beef with Amish noodles and watching a documentary about Florida on TV.  On Sunday, we headed up to Orlando to attend church with Daniel’s mom before caravanning up to St. Augustine to be tourists for the afternoon.

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A pirate ship!

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After spending the night at my sister’s house in Jacksonville, we traveled up to Charlotte, NC. After a day of driving, we were fairly well exhausted, so we ordered takeout and watched trashy television into the evening.

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The next day, we took a self-guided walking tour through Charlotte, admiring the Painted Ladies and modern downtown architecture, visiting a local Episcopal church, drinking delicious coffee, and eating at a local Greek restaurant.

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It was the sort of trip everyone should take in the summertime. We paced ourselves and managed to see lots of friends and family as we snaked our way back to Charlottesville. I’m grateful that fate forced us to get down to Florida this year. Being with people who have known you forever is quite grounding.

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skyline drive with mary

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Mary and I have been friends for nearly 10 years. We met our junior year of high school, attended college together, and were roommates for a year and a half. She came up to visit last month, so naturally we went to Skyline Drive. It’s one of the most impressive parts of this state and I’m lucky to live so close to it. I especially love the foggy haze and flash storms that visit the mountains in summertime. It’s like exploring a primordial rain forest.

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at the skyline

blue ridge moutains love queen anne's lace frolicking girl in wildflower fieldbee on wildflower skyline drive mountain overlook yellow swallowtail butterflymountainsTaylor and I became fast friends this summer. She’s moving to Georgia at the end of the week and I wanted the chance to meet her husband, newly arrived from Wales, before they departed. I took the day off and we all took a trip to Skyline Drive.

We saw wildflowers galore, dozens of butterflies, bees harvesting nectar for Wildflower Honey, deer, a turkey, a groundhog, and panoramic mountain scenes. We even got the chance to stop in to the Visitor’s Center to purchase some memorabilia; while perusing the gift shop, we witnessed a Junior Ranger excitedly – and somewhat bashfully – getting sworn in. We clapped for the new ranger, exchanged group photos with a family parked at one of the overlooks, and marveled, once again, at the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains.