I've been pretty much all over Virginia at this point--north, east, west, tidewater, you name it--but I'd never made it down to Virginia Beach before. We rented a house in the adorable Sandbridge section (which, if I understand correctly, is sort of the southern, slightly more rural stretch of beach--at least in comparison to the northern section which has the magnificent boardwalk and Neptune statue). I won't bore you guys with the details of the drive down, but man. Delaware. What is in Delaware? Do people live in Delaware? I think we drove the entire length of the state and there was very little to see. Delaware, you are the land of my ancestors! You were the first state! You have Wawas! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!
(* Other interesting observations: NJ rest stops are named after famous people, so when we were trying to locate the other car, the conversation was almost always "Well, we just passed Grover Cleveland..." and "I think we were just at Molly Pitcher?" and "We were at Clara Barton an hour ago!" while we were on the Turnpike. Hardee's [otherwise known as Carl's Jr. to the West Coasters] is basically the only fast food joint after you leave Jersey. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is FREAKING AMAZING.)
We mostly bummed around our house, which was named Five O'Clock (love it) and out on the beach, which was a hop, skip, and a two second walk away. The weather held up for the most part. It can be a little dicey in that part of Virginia in August (as the ten thousand thunderstorm/tropical storms at W&M taught me), but there were really only two days of heavy rain. Unfortunately, one such day was the first full day we had there, when we all planned to go to the beach. It was actually pretty tragic--we were all up fairly early and eating brunch, and the hot second we got out there, right around noon, there was a massive thunderstorm. From that point on, I'd just get up early in the morning and go down to the beach by myself, on the off chance that happened again (of course it didn't). I really loved my peaceful little mornings! I saw a guy catch a baby shark, a pack of dolphins (that I thought were sharks) swimming close to the shore, and a million dogs that I got to pet and play with for a little while. I also did a ton of reading!
Another rainy day was the one we had planned to go to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. Alas! But, as I told everyone, as bad as the rainstorms can be, they tend to pass pretty quickly--and BG won't close unless it's seriously thunderstorming. So we ended up having the park pretty much to ourselves for the first half of the day... and, surprise, surprise, it cleared up a few minutes after we got there rendering the super classy brightly blue ponchos we bought kind of irrelevant (except for when we went on Escape from Pompeii, in which case they were awesome and worth it).
The bonus was that my friend Carlin (she of Brightly Woven birthday present fame!) was able to drive down and meet us for the day. We hit up the Cheese Shop and Sno-to-Go in Williamsburg and I got to see my presh William & Mary, but the group was... not super inclined to doing anything history-related, so we didn't even get to walk through even part of Colonial Williamsburg. Their loss! Ye olde 'Burg is hilarious and wonderful. I'm still a little bummed no one wanted to see Jamestown or Yorktown (or even visit the adorable Yorktown beach)--but I'm trying to accept the fact that not everyone is a crazy planner when it comes to vacations. I like to keep a pretty full agenda and really get to see the sights/the area, but some people... just want to go to the beach.
Other highlights included:
Seeing my friend Mike (VA Beach native) and forcing asking him to take me to see the Cape Henry Lighthouse(s). Did not realize they were on an active military base, which involved Mike having to show his insurance, registration, ID, and getting the whole car checked for bombs. Yikes. But the lighthouses are really beautiful and worth the trip out if you're in the area. The blue and white lighthouse is the modern one, the old stone one was the first federal construction project after the Constitution came into effect. They've restored it so you can climb up inside. Totally forced poor Mike to climb up all 190-something steps so we could bake in the extreme heat at the top of the lighthouse.
Going to see the Virginia Aquarium, which, for whatever reason, had a Komodo Dragon (not complaining):
Anyway, I'm happy to be back in the city and I'm definitely ready for autumn. This wasn't much of a summer for me since I spent about three quarters of it in a mad dash to finish book 2. I've been giving myself some time off writing-wise, really only scribbling down random scenes from random books I'll never write. But I've kept myself busy doing a number of other things--in particular, finally organizing the crap out of my room and giving it a good scrubbing down. I donated two huge laundry bags of clothing, and my karmic reward from the Universe was discovering a block on the Upper West Side that had TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Michael's all next to each other. Check out these cute luggage-style storage chests:
I feel a little bit better about life now that I have everything settled and organized again, which I know sounds silly, but it goes a long way in making me feel like a capable adult. As soon as I have my editorial letter from my editor, it'll be back to writing every free chance I get (and planning book 3!), but for right now... I'm really enjoying my real vacation.
How was your long weekend? What did you guys do?