Operation Vacation

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
—Anita Desai

Aside from the occasional trip to Georgia for a socially distanced visit with family, I honestly didn’t think my husband and I would see much outside of our city for a long while. I was absolutely fine with this during the summer because I detest the heat and humidity. The idea of having to stay indoors and in the air conditioning was hardly a burden on my introverted heart.

But fall is upon us. This is my time. You can keep your beaches and margaritas. Give me a cozy cabin surrounded by trees with golden leaves, a comfy sweater, and a cup of something warm and I am a happy girl. And while it isn’t quite sweater-weather yet, fall is definitely creeping in on us early this year and I am the last to complain about it.

I know it’s a cliche, but damn I love fall.

Add into this the fact September 17th was our 15th wedding anniversary and, pandemic be damned, we wanted to do something besides sit on the couch and order takeout. (Keep that in mind, class.)

A while back, my husband said he would take care of everything. Then a couple of weeks ago he started teasing me with his plans. He said he was going to take me back in time, that we were going back to the beginning.

Truth be told, I thought he’d planned a day trip to revisit some of the places we’d enjoyed during our courtship. We each have trouble containing surprises for the other. I always have to buy a buffer gift for me to give before an occasion so I don’t spoil everything. So, he wound up telling me everything: He knew I was mulling over a future story set in colonial America, so he wanted to take me to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown.

Needless to say, I was in awe of his thoughtfulness and excited to go. So very much excited…but in 2020 fashion, nothing is easy.

We have two dogs. Two elderly dogs, at that. One of which has just developed a form of epilepsy that causes seizures when she’s startled. A pet motel was out of the question. My mother normally dog sits for us, but with my father being totally bed bound, she has enough on her plate.

Yeah, they’re *totally* not spoiled at all. The one with seizures is on the right.

One of my sisters-in-law volunteered to keep our dogs for the week, solving all of our problems…until she suffered a health emergency of her own. She’s okay, but watching the dogs was not an option. So, everything was cancelled.

Until my mother-in-law volunteered to drive down from where she was staying at her brother’s house in Tennessee to take care of the dogs. This meant we could go, but instead of a whole week we only got a few days.

Let’s just say it is an act of futility to try and cram a week’s worth of activity into a three-day trip.

1046 miles and six states in three days. We went to Bristol, VA where I got to see Sullins College, where my main character in The Harlot of Blue Ridge attended school. We went to Harpers Ferry, WV where we saw absolutely nothing because it was dark when we arrived. We went to Mount Vernon where we had a great time and I learned so much and have a new fascination. Our trip to Mount Vernon was the 16th, which happens to be my husband’s birthday.

On the 17th, we were going to get up early and leave our hotel in Petersburg and go to Williamsburg and Jamestown for some sightseeing on our anniversary.

Except, again, 2020 keeps launching hurricanes in the gulf and Sally took an unexpected turn east and her remnants scooted right up to us in Virginia. We woke to a torrential downpour on our anniversary, so we decided to forego Colonial Williamsburg after everything that took place to get us there. And we drove for five hours in a monsoon, seeing nothing, doing nothing.

So, anyway, we got home around 6:00 that evening and you know what we did? We sat on the couch and ordered takeout. Unfortunately, this means no pictures from our actual 15th anniversary.

But, here are some pics from Mount Vernon.

It really was a lovely trip, despite having to rearrange plans last minute, despite the rain…it was just my honey and me.

So, screw you 2020 and all your plan-thwarting shenanigans.

I feel I should end this with a little PSA about traveling during a pandemic.

First and foremost, it isn’t advisable. We were both well aware of the risks, and decided to do what we could to lessen our exposure as much as possible. We took more snacks than we would ever need and a cooler of drinks so we wouldn’t need to enter any gas stations for any reason. We exclusively filled up our tank at Sam’s Club. We brought a ton of hand sanitizer and used it religiously. We brought Clorox wipes and routinely wiped down the surfaces in our car as well as heavily touched surfaces in our hotel rooms. We brought a week’s worth of disposable face masks for a three-day trip. Social Distancing at Mount Vernon could not have been easier. The first thing we did when we got home was empty our laundry bags into the washing machine and washed clothes. We did everything we could think of doing to lessen our exposure.

♥ Please be safe out there, no matter what. ♥

I feel we were probably more cautious traveling than we are at home, to be honest.

Anyway, we’re back home so I guess it’s time to get my nose back to the grindstone. Hope you’re all healthy and happy out there. ♥


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