Richmond, VA -> Tugaloo State Park, GA

Richmond, VA Hostel

I started the solo road trip portion of my trip the week before Easter. I headed out of Winchester, VA toward Tugaloo State Park in Georgia where I was spending Easter weekend with my sister Franny. It’s a one day drive I was stretching into four. It was surprisingly easy since I stayed 3 nights at my first stop – Richmond, Virginia.

They have a great new hostel that is less than 6 months old. This is their slow time, so I practically had the place to myself. I parked my car and just walked around the city. There was a ton to see and there was no way I was going to get through it all. Plus, I had work to do – see my post before last for proof. They don’t just write themselves! Nor do the book reviews I needed to finish (ahem, I mean start). Here’s what I managed to see despite my obligations. 🙂

First I went to Belle Isle because walking to an island sounded fun. Turns out is wasn’t so fun for the union soldiers who were prisoners there during the Civil War. All I wanted to do was walk to an island and here I was learning stuff. I circumambulated (great word, right?) the entire thing which had all sorts of old buildings and machinery from an old power plant. Plus all the trappings of an urban park – graffiti and trash. On my way back I saw a huge cemetery (as many of you know I cannot pass up an interesting cemetery) and entered using an unorthodox method. It was a fascinating place. I later learned I was in the very historic Hollywood Cemetery. Look they even have a website! www.hollywoodcemetery.org. In my wanderings I stumbled across the burial spot of Jefferson Davis and then the very imposing Monument to the Confederate War Dead. Looking for a way out I walked and walked and walked and walked and walked, before I found an open gate. During that long search I saw a chain link fence topped with barbed wire separating me from what appeared to be even more cemetery. I am still wondering who they were trying to keep out.

I also went to Maymount Mansion which is a 100 acre Gilded Age estate donated by James & Sallie Dooley to the city in 1925. The grounds include a Japanese garden, Italian garden, farm buildings, the mansion plus a mini zoo & nature center that have been recently added. I saw every single thing except for the nature center and totally needed a nap, not a 2 mile walk home when I was done. Guess which one I got? The whole thing was super well done. I especially enjoyed the mansion tour which included an entire below stairs (literally) look at the servants duties, outfits, rooms, lives, etc. Certainly worth a second look the next time I’m there.

I had to save historic downtown for my next trip. (TES kids – WHY is Richmond so chock full of history??) Verdict: I really liked Richmond and look forward to a return visit!

Hey, did you remember I was on a trip and not just hanging out in Richmond?? After my three nights there I took the highway to South Mountains State Park in Connelly Springs, NC. I gotta say NC has some really nice rest areas. I lucked out at the SP and got the very last camping spot available that Friday. Who knew Easter weekend was such a big time to go camping? I do now! In the morning I trekked up to see the waterfall which was a great way to start to start the day. An uneventful drive brought me to Tugaloo State Park in Lavonia, GA where my loving sister had already arrived and hauled all her stuff (including tons of yummy food, crock-pot, hot plate, etc. When you camp with Franny, you do it in style!) down to our yurt. For those of you not in the know, I’ll wait while you look up what a yurt actually is………. Cool, right! It was especially awesome when it started raining Sunday. We spent a lovely weekend visiting, reading and walking up a very steep path every time we had to use the bathroom. It may have been the only exercise I got, but it was breathtaking each time.

Stay tuned for what I learned about Eaton, GA! Discover what happened in Nashville! Find out where I was too creeped out to camp! Plus, I’ll reveal what farm animal I saw that made me squeal with delight! All this and more in my next post!

Also if you have suggestions about things to do in Hawaii (Big Island, Kaua’I, O’ahu) or inexpensive places to stay or rent a car – I am all ears! Will be there for the month of May.   🙂

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