There and Back


The five days spent on the Outer Banks was, as you might expect, perfectly wonderful!  For those not familiar, the Outer Banks is a 200-mile (320-km) long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina.

Outer Banks

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Each year, the GOAs (Girls of August) reunite for food, fun, and fabulous times, and this year our destination was Nags Head.

The 420 mile ride to the beach took me through the small town of Warrenton, NC, where, once they recovered from the shock of “it’s a girl under that helmet”, they pumped my gas for me.



I rode through rain for some of the trip (check out this blog post to read about riding in the dark), but it felt so good to be on the bike for a good, long ride that I didn’t even care.  It also felt great to be able to have time to use my camera once I arrived.

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One of the reasons that I have always loved the Outer Banks is because it is a more low key, less developed beach community.  It is more about the ocean, the wildlife, and nature, and less about shopping and dining out (although you can find that, too, no doubt!)


Clearly, I need to purchase another lens (AFTER the election), but I very much enjoyed seeing this pod of dophins.


Each morning, after coffee and breakfast, we’d load up the cooler and head to the beach.  What a treat to put my chair right in the surf, and read my book (the first since starting the campaign!) with cold beverage in hand.

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It wasn’t until the last day that we saw a few drops of rain, which of course allowed us to have fun playing Rummy and Charades.


The view of the sunset over the Roanoke Sound was pretty even with the power line.


Despite starting for home in the rain, once the sun came out I enjoyed the colors along the way.

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After 30 weeks on the campaign trail, this short visit with dear friends was just the breather that I needed.

I’m so glad that I was able to find a moment to write a post.  With any spare time that I have this week, my goal is to visit all of you!

Inside Keswick: The Pampering Continues

When you left us last, Jan and I were enjoying a bottle of champagne and yummy chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room by the incredibly attentive and caring staff of Keswick Hall.  Restored and refreshed after our snowy ride to the resort, we set out to explore.

When I made the reservations, I did not realize that the Hall was originally a private residence.  “The seventeen-room Villa Crawford, the north wing of Keswick Hall, with it’s original fireplaces, ornate ceiling molding, and grand staircase, was built in 1912”.


“Designed to resemble an Italian villa, the 8000 sq ft, two-story, stucco clad, slate roofed home originally cost $100,000”.


We enjoyed a delicious dinner in Fossett’s Restaurant,


and then wandered down to Treble, the wine cellar named after Thomas Jefferson’s use of the word:

“I have lived temperately….I double the doctor’s recommendation of a glass and a half of wine each day and even treble it with a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The cellar features a glass entrance door framed with handmade wrought-iron gates and lanterns reminiscent of old-world European wine cellars that were kept– like prison cells or bank vaults– under lock and key. Two adjoining rooms offer both informal and more formal dining. You’re also surrounded by 600-700 labels, at least 5,000 bottles in all” (

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Treble is a wine lovers paradise,

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and a photographers challenge.


Our nightcap in the Villa Crawford Bar, the original family dining room, was happily interrupted by the engagement announcement of one of the employees.  We felt a part of the family and joined in on the celebration.



The staff of Keswick completely pampered us and their kindness and care added so much to the experience.

How’s this for a view while eating breakfast?  Those of you who checked out Monochromia yesterday may recognize the two chairs off in the distance.


 Here they are again from another angle.


The weekend was coming to an end and it was almost time to begin the journey home.  In a couple days, I hope you’ll join me for one final post about Keswick.

Keswick Hall


The destination was Keswick Hall, a 100 year old resort just outside of Charlottesville, VA.  The purpose was a long planned reunion with a dear friend from college.  Jan has been a big part of my life through the years, and was instrumental in my recovery from the motorcycle accident.

The drive to get there?  Near whiteout conditions (cell phone image)


I left early in the morning, hoping to beat the snow but instead spent almost 5 hours driving through it (the drive would normally take 2 1/2).  It was certainly not the deepest or the worst, but driving through any snowstorm is challenging.


You know me though.  I am nothing if not up for an adventure, and oh, how glad I am that we didn’t reschedule this 24 hour getaway to Keswick Hall.


“Built in 1912 as a gorgeous Italianate-style estate, the property was converted to a country club in 1948, and restored in the early 1990s as part of the world-class hotel that now graces a most beautiful piece of Virginia countryside”.

Keswick, at least for us, is one of those once in a lifetime type places to visit.



An historic home, beautifully renovated, Keswick is a place where “guests feel as though they are visiting a grand country estate rather than a hotel”.


Our plan was to take a tour of 4 of the 30 wineries in the Charlottesville area, but once we arrived in safety, we decided to nestle in.


What an incredible place in which to ride out a snowstorm!


In the next post, I’ll share some indoor images of Keswick Hall.


Cheers to a fabulous reunion!


Military Brats Reunite at Jefferson Vineyards

If you lived in the Northern Virginia area in the 1970s, you may very well have been part of a military family.  My father, a 30 year Naval Officer, was stationed at The Pentagon during that time and we lived in a neighborhood that, while not a military base, was full of other Navy, Army, Marine and Air Force families.  Being raised a Military Brat  is like being a part of a unique culture that only those who lived it understand. 

Military families move frequently and friendships, often made quickly, endure.  Many of the friends of my parents were like Aunts and Uncles to me and I remember them as fondly as I do some of my own extended family members.

This past Sunday, two former military families (Navy and Air Force) met for a reunion at Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The Buchwald and Maddox families became friends in the 1970s and have shared many of life’s good, and challenging, moments.

Virginia boasts over 220 wineries and has become known for wines made from the Viognier and Cabernet Franc grapes.  The Charlottesville area, a central location for most  members of the 2 families, has over 25 wineries.  We chose to meet at Jefferson Vineyards.





Fittingly, our celebration was held one day after Mr. Jefferson’s 270th birthday.


It was a gorgeous spring day and some of the flowers were starting to bloom (at least those that survived the snow storm last week were blooming).



The trees were starting to leaf as well.


We enjoyed a private tasting followed by a picnic lunch.


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I’m confident that it wasn’t just the wine that had us laughing.



And the wine casks (which my sister kept calling caskets) provided excellent seating for group pictures.




It was the perfect place for a reunion!  Check it out if you’re in the area!



And no … I didn’t ride the bike … wine and motorcycles just don’t mix … at least for me!

This last photo is from the Jefferson Vineyards website.