Do you have cabin fever? As we enjoy cooler Fall weather, more people have been venturing out by driving to a local retreat or getaway destination for a break. Here are a few recent excursions from some New Town residents. Live vicariously through your neighbors or try one of these locations yourself!
Virginia Mountains with the Kavitz Family
Jim, Janice & Lisa Kavitz recently ventured to the Virginia mountains for a brief getaway trip. Their trip included stops in Roanoke, Va and the Peaks of Otter Lodge located by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Beautiful!
One of the two Peak of Otter mountains shown overlooking Wallace Lake
from the lawn of the Peaks of Otter Lodge.
They also visited Bedford, Virginia and toured the National D-Day Memorial honoring those who fought and died on D-Day in June, 1945. Bedford hosts this memorial because Bedford lost more soldiers per capita than any other town or city in the USA during the D-Day invasion of occupied France.
Besides sightseeing the Kavitzes loaded up on fruit and honey from a local orchard. Then on to Blacksburg, VA and Jim’s alma mater Virginia Tech. Per Jim, “We also viewed the small duplex we rented while we were there. Every place we have lived, Janice has planted a tree. In the yard of this duplex was the now 50-foot tall tree Janice planted some 50 years ago.”
Their final stop was Abington, VA and the Martha Washington Inn which is over 180 years old and served as a women’s college during the Civil War. Abington is also the home of the Barter Theater, the longest operating equity theater in the United States. This theater was started during the depression by unemployed New York City actors and was based on a “barter” system of trading crops or a hot dinner for a ticket. The Kavitzes enjoyed a varied trip well worth the 6-hour drive back to Williamsburg.
New Bern, North Carolina – Mary and Ric Cheston
A 3-hour drive away through rural North Carolina on the banks of the Neuse River lies the city of New Bern – city of bears and the birthplace of Pepsi Cola. Although the ability to visit Atlantic Beach motivated our getaway, New Bern proved to be a charming mix of quaint shops and local restaurants. For history buffs, Tryon Palace in New Bern was the first capitol of North Carolina and home to their general assembly after the American Revolution. New Bern’s historic district features an array of architectural styles including Victorian mansions, Georgian and Greek revival homes.
Eating fresh local seafood was definitely a highlight for us. As part of its Covid-response, the city of New Bern closes two main streets on Friday and Saturday evenings for outdoor dining, adding to the festive Fall scene. Their Covid protections even included this cow at the Cow Café (see photo) known for its homemade ice cream and bovine themed gifts.
The New Bern area displays a variety of lifesize fiberglass bears designed by local artists and initially installed for the city’s 300th anniversary in 2010. This attraction was so popular that about 50 bears remain and you can find them using a Bear Tracks hunt map from the Visitors Bureau. Saturday morning New Bern hosts a Farmers Market with produce and crafts from throughout Craven County. Although smaller than Williamsburg’s, it is a popular market and provided some great butter beans and tomatoes for us to enjoy on our return to New Town.
Getaway.house – Standardsville, VA/Shenandoah National Park - Bobbie & Alan Falquet
An article in the Washington Post about getting away during this crazy time peaked our interest. We certainly were feeling the need for a change of scenery. Someplace not too far away, within driving distance, private, safe, close to pursuits that offer a change of place and pace….we found that through Getaway.house. Their location near Shenandoah National Park in Standardsville, VA, only 30 minutes from Charlottesville, was perfect for our mini-break. The Scandinavian style cabins are nestled in the woods. Ours was cozy, spotless, and private and the amenities were fantastic. We took our own food, cooking steaks on a grate over an open fire, and heated up chili on the two-burner stove.
We spent our days exploring and hiking. The trail along the Mooreman River (see photos) was beautiful and the view after reaching the summit of High Top Mountain was spectacular. Evenings sitting around the campfire, sipping wine, and making s’mores was the perfect way to end the day. It is pricey but well worth it, plus it was an excuse to stop at Carter’s Orchard in Charlottesville for cider donuts!
High Top Mountain
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia – Kay Grady and Cary Garnet
On Sunday, October 4th, after being in sequestration for 206 days, Kay Grady and Cary Garnet took a "brave" pill and hit the road to Berkeley Springs, WV with a car full of household items and childhood memorabilia to give to their daughter and her spouse who had purchased their first home in Pittsburgh, PA earlier this year.
It was a pleasant and easy 4 hour drive from Williamsburg, with scenic views of leaves just beginning to change, beautiful farmland in Fauquier Co. and roadside Pumpkin Patches filled with families searching for that perfect Halloween pumpkin.
Upon arrival around noon in Berkeley Springs, we met up with our daughter in a bank parking lot to unload our car and load theirs up. The hardest part for all of us was that we could not HUG! Then we took a stroll through the historic downtown area looking into the many store's windows displaying lots of treasures like artwork, jewelry, blown glass, crafts and clothes. In addition to being a historic spa town, Berkeley Springs is an art town!
We also decided to have lunch there and chose Tari's Cafe since we could eat outside on the sidewalk. It was the first outside restaurant meal we "retirees" had experienced since March, so we were taught by the younger generation how to eat and have a conversation while dealing with a mask! It was fun to people watch (a guy with a parrot on his shoulder), see the traffic flowing by (lots of motorcycles in and out of town), eat good food and of course, to have a conversation in person with our young'uns! (We Zoom every Sunday afternoon.)
After lunch, we parted ways and headed home. On the way back, we stayed on Highway 17 past Fredericksburg instead of taking I-95 and it added another 45 minutes or so to the trip. Berkeley Springs turned out to be a good day trip meet up spot for our family and we hope to go back again to see more things this charming town has to offer that we didn't have time for this trip - the Ice House Gallery, the Cat Cafe, Cacapon State Park, the list goes on......