In an effort to catch up an increasingly behind blog, I’ve lumped the rest of our time in the “northeast” (term used very loosely) into this catch all post. As the next couple posts will reveal, our October and November were largely spent bouncing between friends/family and nature. We are lucky to have such a community on the east coast and to be able to spend time with friends we don’t see very often. Our time after leaving Boston and New Hampshire included:
- The REAL New Haven style pizza. Pizza has also become a theme of this trip, as it is the only meal out David can immediately talk me into. We spent an evening at a farm just east of New Haven (through Harvest Hosts*) and decided we would be crazy not to take the opportunity to have New Haven pizza. My favorite pizza place in Portland is Scottie’s and I’ve always considered New Haven style pizza my favorite. However, the real deal was slightly too burnt for even me, although still very tasty! We shared a small pizza with the intent to hit a second pizza place, but found ourselves too full after Frank Pepe’s pie.
*When we returned to the farm after pizza, we saw another van that David just happened to recognize from Instagram. He messaged them and we met up in the morning to swap van tours – what a small world! The van owners are potentially moving to Portland after their year off traveling, so hopefully more shared van time is in our future!
- Many friends. We visited college friends of mine in DC and Philadelphia and our friend Jamie (David’s friend from college and mine from Portland who introduced us) and her boyfriend in Brooklyn. We had so much fun (especially me) visiting the new babies of two different friends of mine in DC and got to spend a day in the life of a parent to a 6 month old (thanks for letting us tag along all day, Jeff!). We also met the cutest puppy my friend Kayle in Philadelphia had just adopted. Jamie and Mike showed us all around Brooklyn, but we really just wanted to play with their cat 🙂 We still enjoyed exploring Prospect Park, touring the amazing co-op they belong to (a real one where you have to work shifts every couple weeks), and eating delicious food.
- Two many breweries to name. We were persuaded by my friend Sara’s husband to make a stop in Richmond to check out the growing brewery scene. He did not lead us astray and we were super impressed by the hazy beers and sours.
We (I) also loved walking around the Maymont property in Richmond and touring the mansion. If old homes of rich people are your thing, check it out! The home is particularly interesting as Mrs. Dooley (who died a few years after Mr. Dooley) bequeathed it to the City, given they had no heirs. Therefore, the home is unusually complete and reflective of a Gilded Age estate from the late 1800s/early 1900s.
- Many old favorite spots around Charlottesville. David has only been to Charlottesville once, and it was with a broken elbow on the way to my family reunion in North Carolina years ago. I was so excited to be back with him and revisit some spots from my college days. Charlottesville is a beautiful location, filled with tasty food, beer, wine, running trails, and hiking. We did my two favorite hikes: Old Rag and Humpback Rock. Near the end of Old Rag we ran into an old friend of mine from cross country – what an amazing coincidence! Colleen and her mom were visiting from Northern Virginia and we had so much fun chatting for the last few miles of the hike. We also did a double dinner of dumplings and pizza, ate Bodos bagels and Crozet pizza, walked around UVA, and toured Monticello. Charlottesville is just as beautiful as I remember with even more breweries. I can’t help but get a little wistful for college when walking around UVA, of course remembering the best parts of college – running on the many trails, living with so many friends, biking everywhere, carefree nights out. I’d never go back in time and it is easy to idealize the college experience, but sometimes I do miss it.
I’d visited Monticello once during college but hadn’t done a complete tour. It was fascinating and informative. In addition to a house tour, you can walk around the grounds and view exhibits in the wings of the house and outlying buildings. We went on an additional tour focused on slavery during Thomas Jefferson’s lifetime and some of the questions that can’t help but come up – namely how could a man who called slavery “moral depravity” own slaves? You can read more about this on Monticello’s website. It certainly isn’t an easy topic to wrestle with but an important one to think about.