Monday, April 30, 2018

Pigs, Strawberries, and Peanuts

We had been waiting for a monthly site to open up at the campground where Nicolas lives, and while we were in Charlottesville, we got the call that one was available.  We had paid for a week there, so we planned our move for last Thursday.  That worked out well, as we had quite a bit of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, but Thursday was a beautiful day.

We had a peaceful drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains,


and then through the peanut fields as we got closer to Suffolk.

Peanut fields

I’ve never seen peanut plants before – I had to google it to confirm that’s what they were!

We arrived at Davis Lakes RV Park, and got set up in the monthly loop,

Davis Lakes RV Resort

just two sites away from Nicolas!


Nicolas was on 24-hour duty on Thursday, so we didn’t see him until he got home on Friday afternoon, but we did visit with a few of the other residents that we know from last fall.

He was off on Saturday, so we took a drive up to the historic town of Smithfield to check out their Farmers Market and the shops in town. 

Smithfield Pigs

Pigs are the theme in town –

Painted Pig

that makes sense since it’s the home of Smithfield Meats, well known for ham and bacon!

Wisdom to live by!

The Farmers Market was small, but nice, and there were several cute gift shops in town,

Art at the General Store

along with some antique Shops and a few restaurants, including the Smithfield Cafe.  We had a big breakfast at home, so we skipped the restaurants on this trip. 

Smithfield is a historic town, with many remaining historic buildings and homes.



Many were colonial in style,


and Victorian, too.

Painted Ladies


This one was really interesting, with its round room on a post, and the round chimney.

Round room & round chimney

The flowering trees and the gardens were beautiful – Spring is in full bloom here!

Bicycle in the Garden

Blooming dogwood

I had seen on Facebook that there were several U-pick strawberry farms in the Hampton Roads area, and one of them was in Smithfield, so when we had walked through all of downtown, we set out to find some strawberries.

Just a few minutes from downtown, we found the farm, and the strawberries were very plentiful!

Strawberry fields

I love when the strawberries plants are in these weed barrier fabric covered rows – it’s so much easier for picking!

Picking strawberries

We got to work (at least Nick and I did; Tom was just eating), and before long we had a full bucket of yummy, beautiful strawberries!  They are so sweet!


After picking berries, we took back roads back to Highway 460 and the little town of Wakefield – the peanut capital!

We had passed through here on our way to the campground on Thursday, and it looked interesting.  We stopped first at the Wakefield Peanut Shop,

Wakefield Peanuts

and picked up a few goodies . . . but not a giant bag of peanuts!


We were ready for lunch then, so we tried the buffet at the Virginia Diner.

Virginia Diner

It’s been a roadside cafe since 1929, offering ham & biscuits, soups, and fried chicken to travelers.  The menu is more extensive now, but still very good!


Back at the campground after our early dinner, we got a few little projects done at Nicolas’ camper and I started his laundry, before we went to church at 5pm.  Nicolas was scheduled for 24-hour duty again on Sunday, so he stayed home Saturday night, and we all watched the new Jumanji movie (we’ve seen it already, but it’s a good one).

We had a full moon this weekend, and we were out walking Casey as it rose over the motorhome.  It’s nice to be here for a while, hanging out with Nick!

Full Moon

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekend in Waynesboro

Leaving Damascus, we took I-81 northeast through the Shenandoah Valley to the little town of Waynesboro, where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. 

Our destination for the next week was the Waynesboro North 340 RV Park.

Waynesboro North 340

We got set up on site 315.

All set up in Waynesboro

Nick's here!

It was a nice little RV Park, one that we knew Nicolas would like – it was close to the mountains, and Charlottesville, and lots of wineries and breweries!

Nicolas had a 3-day weekend, and we were looking forward to him joining us.  Casey was pretty excited when he showed up, too!

We didn’t have any definite plans for the weekend, but we thought we’d check out Charlottesville and some of the other small towns around us, and visit a few wineries and breweries.

We drove through Waynesboro, but there wasn’t much to see.  They were setting up a bunch of tents in the park by the river for Riverfest the following weekend, but there wasn’t anything going on while we were there.

In Charlottesville, we drove through the bustling UVA campus and into the historic downtown area.  In the center of downtown is the Pedestrian Mall area – several blocks of restaurants and shops, with patio dining areas in what used to be the street.

Catching history while it's still there

We found a parking spot a few blocks away, and while walking to the Mall, we happened to pass through the park where the rally and confrontation happened last year.  We didn’t even realize that was where we were until later – just stopped to take a picture by the historic statue in the park.

We walked through the shops, and had lunch at a little diner on the Mall.  Charlottesville is a pretty typical college town – it reminded us a lot of Ann Arbor.  

After lunch, we took a little drive through the country and visited a couple breweries.

Country Church

Another barn


Sampling some craft beer

On the way back to the campground, we passed by the Waltons Mountain Museum – I would have loved to stop, but it was already closed.

On Saturday, we took a drive on Skyline Drive.

Skyline Drive

It was a beautiful day for a drive, and not crowded even though it was a free entry day at the national parks.

Waynesboro is the point where Skyline Drive goes north, and the Blue Ridge Parkway goes south, and we had a birdseye view from the first several overlooks.



It was a beautiful day!


A beautiful day for a drive

We drove the southernmost 35 miles of Skyline Drive, stopping at the overlooks,


checking out the Appalachian Trail,

Appalachian Trail marker

On the Appalachian Trail again

and enjoying the view.


Capturing the view


Massanutten Mountain

Nicolas even got in a little rock climbing!


Nick on the rocks

At this elevation, though, there wasn’t much sign of Spring yet, and most of the views looked basically the same,



so at our first opportunity, we exited the drive and headed down into the valley.

Driving through farmland, the scenery was actually much more interesting!


Can't get enough of this countryside!

Crossing the creek


Along our travels, we stumbled onto a winery high up on top of a hill.  We stopped for a wine tasting – what a great view!

The view from the vineyard

We wound our way back towards Waynesboro,

Church and cemetery

and stopped at one more brewery.  This one was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon!  They had a huge outdoor tasting area and dining area, with picnic tables, a firepit, and a large grassy area with lawn games and areas for kids to play.  There were lots of families around, and lots of people with their dogs.

Blue Ridge Brewery

Tom and Nick tasted a few beers, and decided each had a beer while we relaxed at the picnic table.

Another day, another brewery

Back at home, we had ribs in the crock pot for dinner, which we finished up on the grill with some smoked sausage – and enjoyed our dinner outside by the campfire.  A nice way to end the weekend!

Enjoying a campfire