A Quick Trip to North Carolina and Virginia

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I’ll be the first to admit that I can get a little “bouncy” sometimes and that means I feel drawn to the slight adrenaline rush that comes from zooming off in another direction after already having “zoomed” for a while. I smile when people say “wait…where are you now?” ๐Ÿ™‚ So, when I had the opportunity to piggyback a three day adventure onto my seven days of training, I was like…”yep”.

I finished my training, took an afternoon ferry trip over to Vashon Island, went through airport security around 7:30 and boarded my red eye flight around 9pm. Bragging rights? Or do you think that’s just too much? I’m still figuring out my boundaries and limits. I was pretty tired upon arriving in Raleigh, but managed to jump right into a 30 mile bike ride and driving my rental car 3.5 hours over to Virginia Beach. Maybe it keeps me young? Maybe it will age me prematurely?

In any case, I enjoyed the adventures I was able to have on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before making my journey home [arriving at midnight]. I would probably do it all again, given the chance. Here are the highlights:

I rented a mountain bike from The Bike Guy, conveniently located right next to the Neuse River Greenway trailhead. It was a great experience all around — not expensive, comfortable bike, friendly customer service. I opted for a full day rental [11-5], but returned the bike a bit early because riding 32 miles was enough for one day! I turned around at mile 16, but could have continued to the end of the trail and back for a total of 69 miles [but we all know that would have been a mistake and I don’t think I could even ride that far in six hours].

The trail was REALLY nice, rolling and paved, with bridges and river views, and sometimes little deer in the woods or even right next to the trail! There were a good amount of other walkers and bikers [it would have been creepy if I was alone the whole time], but the trail didn’t feel crowded by any means. I had an awesome experience.

Visiting the beach early in the morning was another great choice. The sky was peachy pink and baby blue and the air wasn’t super thick yet [it’s pretty humid in this region]. The sand was really soft and there were cute little birds bouncing around eating some sort of creature found in holes in the sand! There were lots of surfers watching for perfect waves and I saw several DOLPHINS swimming just past the waves. This is a cool place and probably deserved more of my time.

But since I’m bouncing around [yeah, that’s me…I’m Laura and I have trouble staying still…hi Laura], it was time to drive across a very long bridge that some call one of the seven man-made wonders of the world!! The Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel[s] is really long! It took more than 15 minutes to drive across/through! I have heard others say that it’s more exciting during a big storm, but I enjoyed my experience! There is a toll [$14 one way], so you might not think that is worth it [in that case, just watch my timelapse!!], but if you want to visit Cape Charles, you have to cross the bridge. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cape Charles is a small, unassuming yet cute little town, but it has a nice calm, shallow swimming beach. I probably should have stayed here longer too.

So, I forked over another $14 to drive back across the bridge over to Norfolk, parked the car, and walked around downtown, exploring the old neighborhoods [cobblestone streets!!!!], riding a passenger ferry, visiting the Hill House Museum and MacArthur Memorial, and taking lots of pictures. The sections of Norfolk and Portsmouth that I saw were really pretty! The historic houses are so impressive.

My last adventure was to Umstead State Park, which is pretty close to RDU [Raleigh-Durham International Airport]. I had a picnic, wandered around a little bit [worrying about snakes], took a look at the lake that was pretty, but wasn’t somewhere I would swim, and finally figured out how to get to the “chainsaw log” without hiking more than a mile [there’s a road that gets you pretty close]. I do love the woodland creatures that have been carved into this log.

And with that, it was time to return the rental car and make my way through security and to my gate. This was a whirlwind trip and I was definitely feeling ready to be home with my family, enjoying a much drier climate [I’ve had a solid dose of humidity lately]. I’m grateful for the experiences I was able to enjoy and I have a stronger appreciation for North Carolina and Virginia! They are beautiful states with fantastic sunsets. ๐Ÿ™‚


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Hi, I’m Laura

I’m based in Washington State and will definitely be showcasing local destinations, but this girl loves to fly all over the world!! If you love adventures and frugal travel, stick with me!

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