In honor of me having achieved my goal of visiting all 50 US States, I will post a picture of somewhere I have visited in each state and write a paragraph or two about my experience. There is so much to see in every one of them, so I am just selecting one of my best memories,.
I have always said if you want to understand present-day America, visit Washington D.C. But if you’re going to learn about America’s past, cross the Potomac and go to Virginia. Four of the first five Presidents were born here. The state was a battleground in the American Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War. Virginia is an American History nerds dream come true. Even if history is not necessarily your thing, there are miles of beaches, mountain hiking trails, and beautiful architecture like in Alexandria’s old town filled with shops, restaurants, and nightlife.
Much that there is to see in Virginia is an easy day trip from D.C. You can visit the homes of Presidents George Washington (1st), Thomas Jefferson (3rd) James Madison (4th) and James Monroe (5th). You can visit Arlington National Cemetery and historic Alexandria, several Civil War Battlefields, or take an afternoon strolling through the Blue Ridge Mountains and with favorable traffic, still be back in Washington in time for dinner.
Monticello near Charlottesville was Thomas Jefferson’s home. He designed the house personally, and his genius is widely displayed. He was a creative and intellectual powerhouse.
Some of my favorite memories of Virginia include Mount Vernon, driving through Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive with my family. Marveling at the Battleships in Norfolk, spending a quiet afternoon by myself at Arlington National Cemetery and finally getting to see Monticello. The image on the back of the nickel turns out not to be actual size.
Further South to Tidewater
The area around Virginia Beach and Norfolk are known as the Tidewater region. Several large cities are glommed together in a vast metropolitan area including Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Hampton. Near here you will also find the restored colonial town of Williamsburg, the original English settlement at Jamestown, and Yorktown the place where the British surrendered the colonies to the Americans. If you tire of history, there is also the Busch Gardens Theme Park with roller coasters and various amusement rides.
North and West of Washington are the Shenandoah Valley and the falls of the Potomac River. Both are great for outdoor excursions. Also, close by is the city of Winchester which was the home of singer Patsy Cline and is the site of her grave.
Many International and even domestic travelers who spend much time visiting the United States make a point of coming To Washington, and when you do, make sure to include Virginia on your itinerary. You will be blessed with a glimpse of the people and places that were the impetus of where we are today as a nation.