Occoquan, Virginia

Mill Street

Occoquan, Virginia, a little village on the Occoquan river only about a 30 minute drive from Washington, DC, is the perfect place for a quick day trip. This historic town of 900 people is hidden below a busy highway bridge (Route 123), nestled at the river’s edge. It is situated downriver from the rapids caused by the geological feature called the Fall Line, the subject of several of my other blog posts for Fredericksburg (VA) and Great Falls in Potomac […]

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Front Royal, VA

Hollin Farm sunflowers in Virginia

An unintended guest The black fuzzy mark moved slowly out of the white plastic bag on my kitchen counter. Its little black legs worked in unison as it peered out across the kitchen and craned its thick neck upward to get its bearings. I noticed it in my peripheral vision at first. When I looked a little harder, I realized it was  a caterpillar that must have hitched a ride on some collared greens that had I picked myself at […]

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Middleburg, VA and Apple Picking (again!)

Stribling apple picking virginia

Stribling Orchard Emily and I continued our annual tradition of fall apple picking this weekend, heading with our dogs to Stribling Orchard in northern Virginia. Our newest, Annie, is a 1 year old whippet or italian greyhound mix–we think. We actually have no idea. She had a broken leg when we adopted her (from Capitol Canines), having been hit by a car in North Carolina. Poor thing, the pin the vet had placed in her leg was too long and […]

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Mason Neck State Park (Virginia)

Mason Neck State Park Virginia

I love to hike, but having been in the DC area since 2008, I’m running out of parks to try. It’s gotten so dire that I’ve resorted to using Google Maps to spot areas that are colored green, then zooming in close enough to where the name of the park shows up. It’s not the most efficient process–sometimes the green spaces are just golf courses. But I used this technique today to discover a park, about 45 minutes from DC, […]

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Old Town, Alexandria, VA

Alexandria is one of the East coast’s best preserved colonial cities.  Its historic architecture, walkable street grid, wide selection of restaurants and bars, and accessible riverfront all make this city a great place to spend a few hours. Itinerary For those DC-based travel junkies not feeling up to traveling very far, Alexandria is a great option for a short-term travel fix. You can take the metro there (which oddly drops you off nowhere near tourist sites of Old Town) or […]

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Fredericksburg, VA

Fredericksburg Virginia

Trip Summary: About an hour’s drive from DC, Fredericksburg’s walkable, historic downtown of quaint streets lined with shops and restaurants is a good place to spend a weekend afternoon. Itinerary Like many historic towns in the Mid-Atlantic region, Fredericksburg has an old historic district that is separated geographically from a suburban strip mall district surrounding it. After going through a decline in the 20th century due to suburbanization, Fredericksburg’s old downtown, about the same size as it was during the […]

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Monticello and Charlottesville, VA

Monticello UNESCO Charlottesville

I saw quite a bit of Virginia on this trip; I was tired when I got home. My 9 hour trip included a visit to a wooded Civil War battlefield complete with remnants of trenches, Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, and his other creation nearby, the University of Virginia. This trip took me and Ollie through huge expanses of farmland and rolling hills on a meandering path through the Virginia wing of America’s Bible Belt. The Wilderness (part of Fredericksburg […]

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Manassas, VA

Manassas Civil War Bull Run

I had a vague idea before my trip to Manassas why this town holds an important place in American history. I knew it was the site of the first major land battle of the Civil War, when the people realized for the first time that a nasty war was ahead. I remember reading somewhere that the fashionable set from Washington DC came out for the day to to watch the battle for entertainment. My first stop was to the city […]

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Fairfax County, VA: Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

Waterfall at the end of Scott's Run

After learning about Scotts Run Nature Preserve on one of my favorite websites, Hiking Upward, I took my dog for a hike down one of its several trails leading from Route 193 to the Potomac River.  Scotts Run has to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the DC area, and it’s is only a 20 minute drive from my apartment.  The turn-off on Route 193 is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention though.  Even on a […]

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Loudon County, VA: Leesburg

Leesburg Loudon

Leesburg, VA Leesburg is a city with about 40,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Washington DC, on the edge of Virginia’s wine country. The city is not named after Robert E. Lee, as I thought, but after Thomas Lee, a political figure from the 1700s. After reading a story in the Washington Post about how the smaller cities around DC, such as Leesburg and Frederick are in the midst of a resurgence after going through an emptying-out of their […]

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