“Fall back”: falling for VA all over again

They don’t call it “Virginia is for lovers” for nothing. Here are some of  my faves from our time back home.


The extra hour from daylight savings time’s end was the perfect opportunity for me to look back on my recent trip back to Virginia.

Alex and I have been so focused on doing well at work and establishing our new life here over the past year. An initial plan to attend a close friend’s wedding turned into a week-long getaway. This trip was a welcome break that allowed us some quality time with some of our favorite people and some much-needed self-care.

With a week that already included a wedding weekend that Alex was a part of, we barely had enough time to hit all of our spots. We prioritized spending quality time for some R&R and to be with our loved ones on this trip, though we hoped to try more “touristy” stops that Alex and I have not done together. Still didn’t to do them due to time-constraints. Funny how that works out. The only thing we do regret was not having enough time to go to Virginia Beach this time around. So we will be back another time for sure!

We could have dropped our pins practically all over the metro DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) map: Potomac, MD for my birthday brunch; Leesburg, VA for a wedding; DC for the after-party; Fairfax, VA for a reunion brunch; Bethesda, MD for another reunion. Then we headed to Richmond, VA for some of our dearest friends before continuing on to Massanutten, VA for our family vacation.

I tried to capture our trip in photos (above), and here are some of the highlights:

  • DAY 1: DMV Area | Birthday Brunch at Old Angler’s Inn: would certainly recommend. Francois, our server that day, knew how to make a girl feel special. There were plenty of patio seating on a nice day out, a garden (when open) and it connects to a trail at Great Falls park should you prefer to make brunch your destination after a rewarding hike. Even when our al fresco brunch got rained on, the crew swiftly moved us indoors without much of a hiccup.
  • DAY 2: Leesburg, VA | The wedding we attended was beautifully set at the Rust Manor House which is managed by the Northern Virginia Parks and the Audobon Society. Lots of happy tears and love all around. Our venture into DC post-wedding with the party was a time warp. We’ll have plenty of timeless stories for future reunions. Let’s just put it at that.
  • DAY 3: DMV Area | Brunch at Ovvio in Merrifield with my girls (and 2 hubbies) was wonderful! We saw signs for a pizza and wine special that seemed like a bargain for locals. That area has totally transformed since the last time I was there and is now SO hip with other cool places to try. The remainder of our day, Alex and I simply recovered back at home in Fairfax, and met with an old boss in downtown Bethesda, MD – another place that keeps going up in wow factor.
  • DAY 4: Richmond, VA | We had our first (of many) classic BBQ dishes at Buz and Ned’s for lunch after a leisurely drive to Virginia’s capital. We planned to have some time to wander about the Virginia Museum of Art closeby before meeting with a couple of our good friends in the Churchill neighborhood.
  • DAY 5: Massanutten, VA | We had our first fam day in Massanutten which we started off with a hike on the Massanutten Ridge Trail.  We probably could have planned this hike better – either go out and come back in, or conditioned ourselves for the lengthy train and coordinated our ride, but we made it work! The views were absolutely worth it. Our post-hike lunch at Base Camp was yummy and had a great contemporary outdoor vibe. We easily could have gone back there for a drink or two on a longer stay.
  • DAY 6: Virginia Wine Trail | Since Alex and I went to school in Central, VA, we’ve also become familiar with the wineries and vineyards in the area. We set out to take my parents to some fool-proof places with a built-in lunch stop on our way to Charlottesville, VA for Alex’s birthday dinner. We started at Veritas Vineyard and Winery since they opened the earliest, then took our time in Afton Mountain Vineyards thanks to their inviting decor and panoramic mountain views. It naturally led us to lunch at Blue Mountain Brewery and held us over until we made it to King Family Vineyards.  We had to stop into UVA of course and visit the re-opened Rotunda before Alex bid adieu to his old hang-out spot St. Maarten’s Cafe on the corner.
  • DAY 7: Massanutten, VA | We took advantage of the resort amenities one more day before grabbing our last meal with the fam at Log Cabin Barbecue. It was delicious and inexpensive. Our 3rd full barbecue meal of the trip to make up for all that we’ve missed and will miss as we journey on back home.

We had Luray Caverns and Skyline Drive on our packed itinerary, too, but had to take a raincheck. By the end of our trip, we were happy to have a few days in our apartment to soak it all in before going back to work.

Virginia will always be our first home, the place we first met, and where we got married (twice!). Now we get to make new memories in our home here in Mass.



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