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gadfly homepage on the road home notes on places last contact: 7/2007 first contact: 1/2001

VA Trip Stats (7/07):


Counties visited: 31

Last visited: 7/2007

Best county: Albermarle

Town visited most: Arlington

Places slept in: Arlington (Rosslyn) 2x, Staunton, Charlottesville

Most impressive town: Alexandria

Least impressive town: Hampton

Biggest town: Arlington

Most scenic area: The hills along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Most scenic spot: Cumberland Gap overlook.

Three Words: historic, classic, America

Best Food: the place Katy took me for some seafood on the Potomac


Road Trips: Appalachia Trip (2005), Patriotic New Year (2006-07), Jefferson (2007)


Neighboring States: DC, NC, WV, TN, MD, KY


Areas throughly explored: Suburban Washington, DC


Future Plans: I hope to visit the Shenendoah NP. It was closed due to mudslides last time I visited.



First Contact: I first stepped foot in Virginia when my plane from O'Hare landed at Reagan International Airport in Arlington. I remember seeing the Mall from the cab as I sped along to my destination in Alexandria. I was there to represent NEIU at the inauguration of President George W. Bush  and particpate in a Washington Center seminar. I stayed one week, but made the most of every day. (For the record, this state did shut down when there was a dusting of snow one night. A good sign.)

Arlington Co. (1/2001)

Arlington. Each of the two times I have stayed near Washington, I slept here in the busy neighborhood of Rosslyn across the Potomac from Georgetown in DC. The rest of the city is dominated by the national cemetery and a diverse community of suburbanites. It is the home of Washington's skyline since it seems tall buildings are banned near the Capitol. Second-tier corporations seem to occupy the area near Rosslyn which has far less character than the neighborhoods to the west. The over-planned monstrosity that is the Crystal City neighborhood was cursed by me to hell. The Washington Parkway, operated by the NPS, is a fine way to see the city. (Arlington is the only town in America where I have witnessed Sacagewa dollar coins being used as real currency!) Arlington National Cemetery. Has very strict rules and outrageous parking fees, nevertheless it is a beautiful place and it makes me happy to know that the Lee family plantation is now a place of remembrance for the Union dead.

Fairfax Co. (1/2001)

Thanks to cousin Katy for showing me her home county in 2000. Alexandria. The city where I saw fireworks ring in the new year in 2007 at the imposing Masonic Temple. Alexandria is a well-to-do suburb that reminds me of Chicago's North Shore. The city includes some very old colonial buildings and was quite pleasant despite the wet winter weather both times I have visited it. Mt. Vernon. George Washington's home and birthplace is the most beautiful spot I saw during my first trip to Virginia. It seems the man really did know his real estate as the history books say he did. My favorite part of the house was his personal office with all the books on the wall and inventions laying around. He is buried on his old farm, which is far better than the similar site at Jackson's Hermitage plantation near Nashville.

Lee Co. (3/2005)

Cumberland Gap NHP. Crossed the state line on US-58 into the county before entering the park commemorating the passage of Daniel Boone and friends across the Appalachians, adding fuel to the fire of the American Revolution. A 4,500 foot-long tunnel was built in the 1990's to preserve the natural historic views at the gap. 

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I am looking over the Cumberland Gap where Daniel Boone crossed the Appalachians into history. (3/05)

A cannon guards the battlefield at Yorktown where America won its independence. (1/07)

The Blue Ridge Parkway winds around the mountains that Jefferson called home just west of Charlottesville. (1/07)

The James River flows past rebuilt pallisades at Jamestown NHP, the site of the first English colony in America. (1/07)

Stepping into Jefferson's headquarters at Monticello is like stepping into his brain. (7/07)