Friday, March 26, 2010

The Natural Bridge in Natural Bridge, Virginia

What started out as a beautiful day on the island has now turned to windy and rainy – ych.  The best thing you can do at this point is to kick back and dream of where you want to go on your next vacation.

So what is higher than the Niagara Falls and one of the seven natural wonders of the world?
We’ve traveled lots of places (the main reason I started this blog) but I was kicking back, looking through pictures and I came upon a few pictures of The Natural Bridge in which my family and I visited on our way back from the Smokies a couple of years ago.

The Natural Bridge is unique in that it’s 20 stories of solid rock carved by nature.  It’s really awesome to see.

According to Wikipedia, The Natural Bridge (located at Natural Bridge, Virginia) was a sacred site of the Native American Monacan tribe, who believed it to be the site of a major victory over pursuing Powhatans centuries before the arrival of the white people in Virginia.  What’s really neat is that it is believed to be a fact that George Washington visited as a surveyor.  In 1927, they found a stone engraved with “G.W.” and a surveyors cross and so they accepted that as proof that he indeed surveyed the bridge.

Hundreds upon thousands visit The Natural Bridge every year.  We hadn’t planned on stopping actually because we had so far to travel, but you know how it is on the way home, you want to get in as many sights of interest as you can despite the fact you’re tired and weary from whatever you’ve been doing in the last few days or week or whatever, but somehow adrenalin or something kicked in because we had a blast.

Natural Bridge
Here is moi standing at the entrance.  Tickets include admission to Natural Bridge, Cedar Creek Nature Trail and Monacan Village, Wax & Toy Museums and Drama of Creation Show (dusk) are $18 for adults and $10 for children 5 – 12.  You can buy advance tickets online here.
The Natural Bridge 2
And here are my babies…
The Natural Bridge 3
You actually start out by purchasing tickets in a big brick building then veer off to your right coming out and begin the trail.  It’s almost as much fun getting to it than being there.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of steps.  That’s my son who refuses to keep up with a woman who insists on taking pictures of every single thing.  But it was a beautiful walk.
The Natural Bridge 4
And here it is in all its splendor.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Historic Lighthouses: Assateague Lighthouse

One of the things I find so incredibly wonderful about living on Chincoteague Island is the fact it’s right next door to Assateague.  The story goes there were people living on Assateague many years ago but due to everyone moving to Chincoteague, living conditions got pretty bad over there.  They never had electricity but Chincoteague did and that was one of the reasons for moving.  Today, Assateague is home to the wildlife refuge, the once beautiful Assateague Beach (we had a couple of bad storms this past winter and it took away much of the beach but they’re trying to restore it before the 2010 summer season) and this wonderful old lighthouse that was built back in 1867.  The story goes there was a lightkeeper that had to lug heavy containers of kerosene (remember no lights) every single day up to the top of the lighthouse to keep the light burning.  Today it is preserved and maintained by the Coast Guard.  The picture below was taken in the summer of 2009.
Assateague Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Thompson
The lighthouse is only available for tours from March to November.  Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children under 12.  Proceeds go for restoration.
Assateague Lighthouse 2
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Thompson
This is a picture of my daughter standing in front of it last spring.  And here’s one as she sits down for a bite to eat.
Assateague Lighthouse 3
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Thompson
One word of advice – make sure you go early early spring or wear plenty of mosquito spray if you are brave enough to make the hike to the lighthouse in the middle of the summer.  We hit it around the end of April or beginning of May which was perfect.  We brought repellent but didn’t need it.
If you’re a lighthouse lover like I am, you’ll love to stop off at the Assateague Lighthouse for it’s qaintness and historical charm.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New York? New York?

It has been a rough winter here on the island.  I’ve never seen a winter as rough as this one!  Started out with flooding, then snow, then snow and then…more snow.

I’ve only been here three years but I’ve never seen it so bad.

So it doesn’t surprise me that my daughter comes into my office and tells me she wants to go to..of all places, New York.

New York is about five hours from here by car, but one hour by plane, and of course, she chose plane.
The last time I was in an airplane was when I was eighteen years old and I had to fly solo to Ft. Lauderdale to pursue a modeling career.  Terrified.  And the old fart next to me wants to carry on a conversation and all the time I was thinking he had ulterior motives so it was an uncomfortable ride to say the least.

Then, there’s 911.

Six months after 911, we did go to New York, this time though was by bus which I didn’t think I was going to like but I rather enjoyed it (beats being blown up in an airplane).  Slept most of the way but I liked the fact I wasn’t  millions of miles in the air.  Took us 5 hours to get there, but once we were there, this little country girl was definitely in awe.

New York 3
We had 10 hours to do what we wanted before we were supposed to load back up and go home, but we saw nearly everything Manhattan had to offer.  Climbed the Empire State Building, walked through Central Park, browsed the NBC studio at Rockefeller Center and ate at the famous Hard Rock Cafe.  Life was great.  This picture to the left was my daughter and I when we just arrived at Times Square.

But the most memorable part of the trip was returning to where terrorists flew 2 airplanes into the World Trade Centers and well the rest is a haunting history we’d just like to soon forget.
New York 1
I remember when we walked up to the disaster area (now it’s been six months since it happened mind you), you could still smell the smoke and in fact you could still see smoke coming out of piles that the fire department was still trying to get out.  Crews were still out clearing things but it was the most eerie place you’d ever want to go.  You could actually feel death.  You could smell it; you could feel it.
New York 2
Now this picture has an interesting story.  There were signs everywhere saying no pictures allowed.  Not quite sure unless it was just in case someone didn’t want to capitalize on the fact they could get some good pictures and sell them?  Anyway, the signs never stopped me.  I wasn’t going to walk away without getting some so I whipped out the camera, took a few shots, and put it away real quick.  I’m not altogether stupid.  This picture to the left is the memorial that was placed at the disaster site.
It was an experience to say the least.  I’ll never forget it and the fact I could see a little bit of history firsthand was worth millions.