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Posts from the ‘Virginia’ category

South Carolina Vacation: Warren PA to Surfside Beach SC

We left home shortly after 6:30 am on Monday, February 20th, en route Surfside Beach SC via Wytheville VA.

We vacationed in Surfside Beach last year at this time, as well. Last year, when we left en route South Carolina, snow was falling, possibly mixed with sleet or freezing rain.  The temperature was 19 degrees.  There was snow on the ground from home and all the way past Pittsburgh.  This time there was no precipitation whatsoever; there was no snow on the ground; and the temperature as we are leaving home was 42 degrees.

We stopped for breakfast in Franklin PA, at Linda Lou’s Family Restaurant.  This was our first time eating here.  The restaurant was recommended to us years ago.  We kept saying someday we would eat there.  Bob ordered a 3-egg Scrambler that contained home fries and bacon.  The Scrambler filled his plate similar to a large pancake. 

I ordered a light Western omelette, made with two eggs,
with fruit cup and wheat toast.

Bob said he was sorry that he didn’t order the same as me, as he wasn’t able to eat his entire meal.  The food was good, no better no worse than other breakfast eateries.  It was noisy, though, with the majority of the noise coming from the kitchen and wait staff.  This isn’t a restaurant that you go to, if looking for a peaceful meal!  We were on the road again shortly before 8:45 am.

We arrived at Comfort Suites in Wytheville VA shortly before 3:30 pm.  The drive there was uneventful.  We did see some rain, but it was spotty.  The most persistent rain occurred, as we approached Wytheville. 

We checked into our room and, then, we left for dinner.  We ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is located about 2 miles from the hotel and easy to drive to.  Bob ordered a 1 piece catfish dinner with hash brown casserole and broccoli.  I ordered grilled chicken with a smoky seasoning, accompanied by hash brown casserole and fried apples.  My dinner came with two pieces of chicken, but I could eat only one piece (the smaller of the two pieces).  Our meals came with biscuits or corn muffins.  Bob chose biscuits; I chose corn muffins.   We each ate only one of our selections.  As we left the restaurant, we talked about sharing our meals in the future.  We are both eating less, and it would be less expensive to share meals.

We spent the night in Wytheville and continued our drive to Surfside Beach SC the next day.

I awakened at 4:30 am on Tuesday, February 21st. We took our time getting showered and dressed.  I read online newspapers and did my Bing searches.  I scrolled quickly through Facebook.  I checked email.  We went downstairs for a complimentary breakfast.  Bob had an omelette and sausage.  I had a waffle and a fruit cup.  

We departed Comfort Suites Wytheville around 7:15 am, en route Surfside Beach SC, after I had photographed that morning’s sunrise.

Sunrise at Comfort Suites Wytheville

We arrived at our Airbnb rental, “Nanny & Pops” around 1:15 pm.  The rental was as described at the Airbnb site. 

After getting settled into the Airbnb, we went for a walk on the beach.  The beach is only 0.10 miles from Nanny & Pops. It was an easy and quick walk to the beach. 

In the background is the Surfside Pier, which is under construction.
The construction is supposed to be completed this year.

We walked only a short way on the beach.  We walked south, until we encountered a small “river” running the width of the beach.  A man told us there is a lake about 4 blocks from us, and the lake is where the water flows from.  There is a way around the river, but we chose to end our walk on the beach at the “river”.  

From the beach we walked to River City Cafe.

We ate a late lunch / early dinner at River City Cafe.

Bob ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger.  I ordered Buffalo Chicken Bites with BBQ sauce.  We shared a side of cheese fries.   Dinner was tasty. 

From River City Cafe we walked back to Nanny & Pops, where we spent the evening relaxing.

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 3 – Waynesboro VA to Maggie Valley NC

We got up around 5:00 am on the morning of Monday August 22. We showered and got dressed.  We went down for breakfast shortly after 6:00 am.  Breakfast was a little different in that, instead of scrambled eggs and bacon, a hot egg in a bagel was offered. I wish I had passed on the egg in a bagel and got a waffle instead.  I especially had this thought, as I watched several people open the warming dish and close it, without taking out an egg in a bagel.  I added orange juice and tropical fruit in a cup and tea to my breakfast choices.  

We checked out of Best Western at 7:25 am, en route Maggie Valley NC. We followed Interstate until Buchanan VA, at which time we decided to “avoid highways”. Even though it is slower avoiding highways, the drive is more relaxing and scenic.  As we drove through Buchanan, we recognized the swinging bridge over the James River.  We walked across the swinging bridge in April 2014.

Our “avoid highways” travel took us through Independence VA, where we stopped briefly at Powerhouse Falls.

Powerhouse Falls (or Peach Bottom Falls)
View from Powerhouse Road

Powerhouse Falls is the site of early power houses servicing the Town of Independence.

Powerhouse Falls is a picturesque site.
A mill used to operate on the site. The rock columns that held the water wheel are still there.

We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s Restaurant in West Jefferson NC.

We decided to return to interstate travel north of Asheville NC to save 30 minutes from our “avoid highways” route.  We were getting tired of being in the car.  We were ready to be in Maggie Valley!

We arrived at A Holiday Motel around 4:30 pm.  Rob checked us in and gave us Room 11.  “Skid” and Sandy are in the room next to us, Room 12.  The room on our opposite side is a storage room. Arriving before us were “Skid” (Jim) and Sandy, “MT” (Tim), Brandon and Garrett. The Texas gals (Debbie, Vickie and Kay) arrived soon after our arrival.

We ate dinner at Cafe Italiano Restaurant and Pizzeria, which was a short walk from A Holiday Motel. We were a group of eight — “Skid” (Jim) and Sandy, “MT” (Tim), the Texas gals (Debbie, Vickie and Kay) and Bob and me. I ordered spaghetti and meatballs; Bob ordered cheese ravioli with a meatball. Bob finished his meal; I didn’t. I took back to A Holiday Motel what I didn’t eat. Both meals were delicious.

When we returned to the hotel, we kicked back and socialized.

Sandy, Bob, Kay, Brandon, Garret, Debbie, Vickie, “Skid” and “MT”

This is why we are in Maggie Valley.  We have made lots of friends, who are like family, via the Vulcan Riders Owners Club (VROC).  We enjoy seeing our friends whenever we can.  We are gathering for the Southeast VROC motorcycle rally.  More friends will arrive tomorrow and through the week.

Today’s map

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 2 – Front Royal VA to Waynesboro VA

Skyline Drive was a 1.4-mile drive away from Woodward House on Manor Glade B&B, our accommodation for the previous night. We hopped onto Skyline Drive, via the Front Royal entrance, at 8:43 am on Sunday August 21.

Within a short period of time we saw lots of squirrels on the road.  There were so many squirrels scurrying about that Bob remarked “someone might be tossing peanuts out the window”.

What a difference a day makes!

Little Devils Stairs Overlook
Milepost 20.0 – Elevation 3,120 ft.
This was the view on Saturday afternoon.
This was the view at Little Devils Stairs Overlook on Sunday morning.
Marys Rock Tunnel
Milepost 32.2
Tunnel Overlook is located just to the south of Marys Rock Tunnel.

When overlook views are not visible because of rain and fog, attention is paid to what is closer to you.

Hazel Mountain Overlook
Milepost 33.0 – Elevation 2,770 ft

We stopped at the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center (Milepost 51), located across from Big Meadows.  I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp, a rubber ink stamp that records the name of the national park and date of your visit.

Turk Mountain Overlook
Milepost 93.7 – Elevation 2,720 ft

Besides squirrels we saw six deer … a group of four and two more.   One deer was  on one side of the road and another deer was on the other side of road. We saw turkey and poults too.

This was our first time on Skyline Drive in the rain and fog. We drove all 105 miles of the drive. If this had been our very first time on Skyline Drive, I believe we would have been disappointed in what we couldn’t see. We may not have even made the drive, opting to do something different instead. I am happy that we drove Skyline Drive even in the rain and fog. What could be seen was still beautiful.

We arrived at Best Western Plus Inn & Suites in Waynesboro VA at 1:00 pm.  We had hoped to check in early.  Unfortunately no rooms were ready for check in.  The hotel clerk took my telephone number and said she would call me, when our room was available.  Normal check in is at 3:00 pm.  The hotel clerk called 15 minutes later, while we were at Walmart.  We checked into our hotel at approximately 1:45 pm.

I think it was 4:00 pm that we walked across the parking lot to The Fishin’ Pig.  We ordered BBQ platters.  Bob ordered a brisket platter; I ordered a pulled chicken platter.  Both platters came with coleslaw.  We added two additional sides — baked beans and macaroni n cheese for me and macaroni n cheese and potato salad for Bob.  We left the restaurant with full stomachs.

After dinner we returned to our hotel, where we relaxed for rest of the day.

Today’s map

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Woodward House on Glade Manor B&B

Our first night accommodation was at Woodward House on Manor Glade B&B in Front Royal VA.  We arrived around 4:00 pm on August 20th. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly giant — a Mastiff named Lucky.


Lucky barked at us, as we approached the entrance door. Before we reached the door, Lucky lied down with back to us and could care less if we entered the house or not.

Our host, Joan, showed us to our room. On our way upstairs she pointed out the bowls of fresh fruit and chocolate candy in the common room and the beer on tap in the bar.

The Beautifully Decorated Julia’s Suite

In addition to the bedroom with a king-sized bed, there was a small sitting room.

Julia’s Suite Sitting Room

Joan explained that she had just replaced the flapper on the toilet, but it was not yet working properly.  Bob has plenty of experience with toilet maintenance and made the flapper work properly.  As Joan was showing us our room, she discovered that the TV remote was missing.  Apparently the previous guest accidentally took the remote home. The power button on the TV wasn’t obvious, but Bob found it. After turning on the TV, Bob programmed a universal remote to turn on / turn off the TV and to change channels.  Bob brings the universal remote with him, whenever we travel.  

After checking in, we drove to Castiglio’s Italian Restaurant for dinner.  The restaurant was a little over a mile from the B&B.  Bob ordered spaghetti and meatballs.  I ordered lasagna.  Our meals were accompanied by tossed salad and bread.  Our meals were delicious and filling.  Bob was able to finish his meal; I wasn’t.

When we returned to the B&B Joan gave us a breakfast menu from which we chose our main breakfast entree.  Bob chose an omelet.  I chose a waffle with blueberries. 

Joan offered us complimentary beverages — free beer on tap (Bob) and a soft drink for me, which we drank while sitting on the front porch. 

Complimentary Beer on Tap
Front Porch Sitting
The view from the Front Porch

Joan and her sister, Cathy, sat on the front porch with us.  The conversation was free flowing.  We talked about recent vacations, the B&B, Front Royal, restaurants and pets.   Joan and Cathy were friendly and engaging.

We sat on the porch for about an hour before retiring to our room for the night.  In our room we found freshly made cookies (delicious) and a small basket of snacks.

The next morning we were both up by 5:45 am.   Tea, hot chocolate and Keurig coffee was available in our room.  I made myself a cup of hot chocolate. 

Before breakfast, we sat on the front porch and watched the sun rise.  Our hosts, Joan and Cathy, joined us for a short time.

Front Porch Sitting at Sunrise
Front Porch Sitting at Sunrise

Breakfast was served from 7:30 am until 9:00 am. While our breakfasts were being made to order, we had the following available to us: Orange Juice, Fruit in Season, Hot and Box Cereals, Hot Spiced Apples, Tea, Coffee, Milk, Hot Chocolate, Sodas, and Water.

Our starter dish was fresh fruit —
pineapple, blueberries, strawberries
and a small orange portion.
Our next dish was an almond muffin,
hot from the oven. 

Then came our main entrees — an omelet for Bob and a waffle for me. 

My waffle was topped with blueberries,
banana slices and whipped cream.

I was only able to eat half of the waffle.

Breakfast was so very good!

I would LOVE to stay at Woodward House on Glade Manor B&B again. Joan and Cathy make you feel like family. The B&B feels like home too. Hey, Bob, when can we go back?????

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 1 – Warren PA to Front Royal VA

Our 10-day Virginia and North Carolina vacation began on Saturday, August 20th.  We traveled by car. We departed home (Warren PA) en route Front Royal VA at 7:15 am.

Within 1 1/2 hours we saw five deer.  One deer ran across Route 219 in front of the car ahead of us.  A short distance later, just after we turned onto route 153, on a bridge crossing the Little Toby Creek, we saw four deer in the water. That would have been a good picture. Bob turned around and drove back over the bridge. As we were stopping, the deer got spooked and ran off.

At 9:00 am we stopped for breakfast at Dutch Pantry Restaurant in Clearfield.  This is our go-to breakfast place, whenever traveling through this area.  Bob ordered eggs and corned beef.  I had a Western Omelet.  As always, breakfast was good.  

Our plan was to make it to Virginia, before getting fuel. In West Virginia we were running on empty. We had never left the gas tank get so low. We didn’t want to risk the fuel gauge being inaccurate or mess up the fuel injector if we did run out of gas. At 12:07 pm we purchased 2.132 gallon of gas at Sheetz in Berkeley Springs WV. Fourteen miles later, at the Liberty Fuel Station in Cross Junction VA, we filled up the gas tank.  Why didn’t we fill up the tank at Sheetz? The price of gas at Sheetz was $3.96/gallon. The price of gas at Liberty was $3.69/gallon.

We arrived in Front Royal VA at approximately 2:00 pm. We drove past the B&B that we had reserved for the night. Check in wasn’t until 3:00 pm, so we decided to get a head start on seeing the sights of Skyline Drive. We planned to drive the entire length of Skyline Drive the next day.

We entered Skyline Drive from Sperryville, via the Thornton Gap Entrance Station. We drove north.

Thornton Hollow Overlook
Milepost 27.5 – Elevation 2,460 ft.
Jeremys Run Overlook
Milepost 26.5 – Elevation 2,410 ft.
Hogback Overlook
Milepost 20.7 – Elevation 3,385 ft.
Little Devils Stairs Overlook
Milepost 20.0 – Elevation 3,120 ft.
Marshall Mountain Overlook
Milepost 19.0 – Elevation 2,850 ft

We stopped at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.  I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp, a rubber ink stamp that records the name of the national park and date of your visit.

We left the visitor center at 3:30 pm and made one more stop on Skyline Drive.

Shenandoah Valley Overlook
Milepost 2.8 – Elevation 1,390 ft.

We, then, drove to the Bed & Breakfast in Front Royal that we had reserved for the night. The Bed & Breakfast will be the subject of my next blog post.

Today’s map

Chincoteague VA Vacation (4th post)

We got up around 6:00 am on Monday, April 18th and saw another gorgeous sunrise.  

Chincoteague Island Sunrise

My breakfast was two bowls of oatmeal in a cup.  I included sliced peaches in one bowl.  I also ate an orange.  Bob ordered from McDonalds. With the exception of Bob’s McDonalds breakfast, we ate breakfast at our AirBnb “Tranquil Shores” throughout our vacation.

We ate lunch at “Tranquil Shores”.  We had plenty of leftovers to put together a very filling lunch.  Leftovers included grilled ham steak, macaroni and cheese, two hush puppies each and three shrimp each.  For dessert we had applesauce.

For dinner we ordered delivery (free anywhere on the island) from Famous Pizza and Subs.  It was our first time ordering from this restaurant. Our order was for two baked spaghetti with garden salad and garlic toast.  We added meatballs to one spaghetti order.   We shared the meatballs.   

Baked Spaghetti Dinners

We are happy that the restaurant delivered, as it was a chilly, windy and rainy day.   Dinner was delicious.  We could have easily split one spaghetti dinner with meatballs.  I couldn’t eat all of my spaghetti.  It will not go to waste, though.  I placed it in a storage container, and we will carry it home with us in the cooler.

So, this was a stay-at-home day. It was a relaxing day.  We read, surfed the Internet, and watched TV.  Bob played the ukulele. We packed for our drive back home.


We departed Chincoteague at 7:30 am on Tuesday, April 19th. It took us longer to get home than it took to get to Chincoteague because we told the GPS to avoid highways on our way home.

We ate breakfast at Dayton’s Restaurant in Salisbury MD.  This appeared a popular restaurant. There was seating available, but not much! It seemed the waitresses knew most of the patrons by name. The food and service were both great.

Early afternoon we stopped at Sheetz in Lancaster PA for a bathroom break and to pick up a light lunch/snacks. 

Our route took us over two mountains — Blue Mountain and Second Mountain — via seven-mile long Gold Mine Road. Gold Mine Road begins in Union Township PA off Route 443 and ends on Route 325 south of Tower City in Schuylkill County, near the Dauphin County line. 

We are on Gold Mine Road,
crossing over Second Mountain.
GPS indicated that we were in Jonestown PA.
We are on Gold Mine Road,
soon after crossing over Second Mountain.
GPS indicated that we were in Tower City PA.

It really was surprising where our GPS took us, when we told it to avoid highways.

The GPS directed us onto the Quehanna Highway,
near Karthaus PA in Clearfield County.
It was snowing, as we approached our hometown of Warren PA.

The next time we travel to and from Chincoteague, we will not avoid highways (unless we split the travel time into 2 days). We returned home at 7:14 pm, approximately 12 hours after we had left Chincoteague!

This concludes my account of our Chincoteague VA vacation. We are already making plans for a return trip next Spring. We plan to go in May next year. Perhaps the weather will be more consistently warm a few weeks later.

Chincoteague VA Vacation (3rd post)

As we had done each morning, while on vacation in Virginia, we got up around 6:00 am on Easter Sunday, April 17th.

We didn’t see the sun actually rise today,
as it was hidden behind clouds.

The temperature was around 50 degrees at sunrise.  The sun did break through the clouds later in the morning and gave us sunny skies.  It was a chilly day, though, with a high temperature of 58 degrees. The weather in Chincoteague was better than back in our hometown of Warren PA.  At sunrise the temperature in Warren was 31 degrees, with some snow on the ground!

Bob prepared Easter breakfast.
We enjoyed a breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs, toast and orange juice.

Late morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and parked in the Wildlife Loop parking lot.  We rode our bicycles from the parking lot, alongside Beach Road to the seashore. 

We passed by the Assateague Lighthouse.
We passed by Chincoteague ponies.
We saw a Snowy Egret.
We saw a Mallard Duck.
We rode our bicycles to Assateague Beach.

Back on Beach Road, near Toms Cove Visitor Center, a few birds held our attention for a while.

We saw seagulls in flight.
We saw another Snowy Egret.

The Snowy Egret was alone, until …

A second Snowy Egret arrived on the scene.
The first Snowy Egret chased the second Snowy Egret away.

We returned to the parking lot via Black Duck Trail and the Wildlife Loop (with a detour to Swan Cove).  The wind was fierce at times.  We rode flat ground but, even in first gear, I felt as though I were pedaling up a hill.  We rode 7.85 miles, and that was a wrap for riding our bicycles this vacation. The next day was chilly, windy and rainy.

Bob captured video with our GoPro7 camera, during our three bicycle rides. He prepared a video recap from our bicycling adventures.

We bicycled a total of 17.89 miles, while on vacation.

Our lunch was ice cream at the Island Creamery.  We visit the Island Creamery each time we vacation in Chincoteague. Bob had two scoops of Java Jolt in a cup.  I had two scoops of ice cream in a cup too — one scoop of Cadbuy Crème Egg and one scoop of peanut butter cup.

After “lunch” we returned to Airbnb “Tranquil Shores” and relaxed.

Around 4:00 pm we prepared Easter dinner –  grilled ham steak, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake. 

Early evening we returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and drove to the seashore.  We returned to “Tranquil Shores” via downtown Chincoteague. We stopped briefly at Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park. This is a lovely waterfront park, located on Eastside Road. The Park has tennis courts, basketball courts, playground equipment, fishing/crabbing pier, ball field, boat ramp, skate park, pavilion and restrooms. 

Back at “Tranquil Shores” we watched an episode of “Vera”, before going to bed.

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