Fall in Virginia: A Photo Look Book

I know, I know. It’s December. But as fall has officially wrapped up and as we are moving into winter and all the joys of the season, I wanted to share some miscellaneous pictures I took! No story to be honest, just pictures of fall from around Virginia.IMG_7363

 

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A Lady Told Me a Story and it Kinda Changed My Life

Yeah, but actually.

Story time: I took a day trip to Historic Petersburg the other weekend. Well, I meant to go to Virginia Beach to dramatically run in the waves at sunset*, but I ended up in Historic Petersburg because I got pulled over and it sent my anxiety into orbit so I opted to spend the day in Historic Petersburg instead. It was literally 15 minutes away from where I was so I decided to forget the beach and go there instead since I hadn’t been before.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

I have this thing about romantic situations. And I mean that both romantically in terms of relationships, and romantically in terms of situational. Think the romance that movies set up for every day situations, or situations that seem to happen organically and are stunning and meaningful. Someone working on a blog at a coffee shop (ahem ahem), taking a walk through the woods during fall and listening to the silence, taking steps into freshly fallen snow outside of a cabin in the mountains. I seek these moments out and I revel in the beauty of situational romance. So when I say I was driving to Virginia Beach to dramatically run in the waves at sunset, I legitimately was driving 2.5 hours so I could stick my feet in the ocean and run at sunset.

I was well on my way when I discovered I hit a seemingly un-scalable wall in my plan. I was pulled over. It’s taken care of, nothing serious. No lasting damage done. But at the time it was a spike in the side of my anxiety which had been bubbling over the past few weeks due to stress at work. Frankly speaking, being pulled over was the last thing I wanted or needed. I wanted a relaxing, situational romance filled day that I could record in my memories and my Instagram. (me.rose12, btw.) So I’m pulled over, my anxiety goes into orbit, and I decide it just isn’t worth driving to the beach. For whatever reason I just felt, “done,” and I wasn’t up for the drive. On the way to the beach I had passed an exit to Historic Petersburg. I had never been, and frankly was kinda, “meh” about it, and wasn’t really into going. But now? As I sat in the parking lot of a Dollar General shivering from the after effects of anxiety? It sounded just fine to me. So, I turned around, and mosey’ed over.

At this point in the day, I didn’t know what I was really gonna do, but I figured I would walk around and maybe treat myself to some lunch. Take some pictures. Live the life.

My first stop was this antique mall.

I’m wandering around, and find myself a nice wool blanket for ten dolla. (Hell yes.) So I go downstairs, head to the register to pay, and am talking to the two ladies at the front desk. Turns out, one of them had survived breast cancer. This woman almost died.

And she told me something;

“You realize that nothing really matters.”

She went on to talk about how that boy you had a crush on but didn’t like you back, doesn’t really matter. That all of the stress and worry that you are accumulating now, doesn’t really matter. That in this life the most important thing is being alive, and how when she was sick she took a restock of her whole life and re-evaluated what was really important to her, and came out stronger, more grounded, and more thankful for life itself.

This really struck home with me. Like I said, I was upset for being pulled over and for the stress I’ve been having at work and just in general. Growing up and being independent is tough, my dudes. It’s a tough road of preachy self-help crap and learning personal responsibility and self respect. (sorta.) And this woman, she just kinda tore down all those perceptions of importance that I had been building.

Fundamentally, she made me realize that I am young, and more importantly, I am alive.

I have so much to be thankful for, and so many people in my life that I can go to for love and support. I have a great sense of humor and two working legs, and while I fight I fight for me and for my OWN dreams. That is beautiful.

And I dunno. She made me sit down and shut up to the reality of the beauty of life. And it is beautiful.

I walked out of that shop with my blanket with a humbled perspective and soothed ego and sense of being. I legitimately believe that this woman, in five minutes, told me exactly what I needed to hear, and changed my life.

So, after this life lesson, I decided to go eat lunch. It was good. I was simple. I took pictures.

Afterwards, I kept walking. I walked around this entire small Historic District. It was mainly empty, but the people were nice. I totally made a new friend, too.

I walked into this cute little grocery store, and there was this 6 year old chilling with his aunt. This little boy decided I needed a friend, and showed me his toys and invited me to sit down and eat lunch with him. So I did. His aunt just smiled and went about her business, and when the little boy’s dad showed up I was super awkward in introducing myself to him. ‘Cause it felt weird. Like, I’d want to know who my kid was hanging out with and I’ve literally never been in town before. I shook this guy’s hand and just sort of stuttered through a self introduction about not wanting to be weird (TOO LATE.  CONGRATS MEG YOU’RE AWKWARD.) He told me I didn’t look like a creeper. I bought soap and left, fam. I hope this kid gets a story when he’s a teenager about how he invited some blonde chick to have lunch with him.

I’ll never forget you, kid. Godspeed.

So. Another life lesson. Don’t be awkward. It makes it worse. (ha.ha.ha.)

And also? Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Vietnamese Food and Old Town Alexandria!

One of my favorite things to do, as we all know, is to take solo trips to places and just spend days taking pictures and eating good food. It’s not fancy, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and I can go at my own pace and do whatever it is I want. I mention this again because I got my friend Melissa into the grind! We went to Old Town Alexandria in D.C. and took a day to just take our time and really enjoy ourselves looking like tourists despite having lived in the general area for awhile. I’m pretty sure at some point she said, and I quote,

“OMG Meg your lifestyle is insane I love it you’re the bestestst you’re so talented.”

This is 100% a real quote.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. It’s worth it.

Here are some of my personal favorites from the trip! Lots of pictures, not a whole lot of narrative for this post. But as a general sum-up, here is a printable map of the city taken from their website: MAP

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The thing about Old Town is the fact that it’s super duper old, and that it’s also right next to the Vienna/Alexandria Metro station in D.C. so it’s easy to park here, wander around and then take the train into D.C. If you haven’t been, I would deff recommend a day trip. The majority of the city is oriented around Kings Street, where there are a bunch of shops and restaurants. This leads straight to the water which is a whole other thing. Along the water there are trails and art studios. there are museums and historic houses along the way, but in all honesty I haven’t been in any. I have too good a time wandering around the city and popping into the shops. There are some really pretty vistas near the courthouse closer to the water.

Old town has this sort of aura of being scholastic and classic without trying. Think old money Washington, D.C. You walk around, and you find yourself unconsciously slipping into this casual saunter with nowhere really to be as you walk by in your tall leather boots and peacoat, coffee and camera in hand. The crunch of the leaves on the street contrast with the slow drip of traffic from the street and you are glad you found free parking. You smile and wave to the driver of the Audi as you cross the street and follow the flow of people to the pubs and restaurants. You pass by the hub-ub of Kings street and find a nice side street and find a Vietnamese restaurant called Bahn Ami. Inside the flooring is hardwood and management only accepts one credit card per table. Tea is unlimited for 3 dollars. You don’t know what kind of tea it is, but it is good, and you have two cups. Also, they know how to marinade their pork chops. You don’t know how they do it, but they do it well.

Old town is one of those places that I find myself returning to, and I really don’t mind it at all. I’ll probably go back soon. It’s all very romantic, to be honest. Like the whole old town area has this sort of romance to it. The rest of Alexandria is meh and is an apartment complex disaster, but this part? this part is nice.

The Deal with Pumpkin Patches

Hello.

I, like many, many other individuals out there, adore the seasonal pilgrimage to local farms and country lanes on the pursuit of locally grown produce.

I guarantee that through the entire month of October you were all informed on all platforms of social media that your friends, family, and that one weird girl from high school you still follow cause it makes you feel better about your life, have made the trip to a pumpkin patch. These photos and status updates will include, to some degree, a photo of themselves in a reasonably fall outfit (while it is still 78 degrees), a slightly disgruntled and bored looking partner, and one or two images of the produce. See below for examples.

 

Now. You, like many before you, may be wondering what exactly the, “big deal” is with these goddamn squashes. It’s not like anybody on earth wants pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread in July. It’s literally just the months of September-November. So. What’s the deal with these gourds.

I have a two fold theory.

  1. I blame LLBean. It all begins with marketing. Imagine- you’re back in elementary school. It’s the end of August. School is going to start soon. What’s this in the mail? A catalog for LLBean? Sashaying their wares in front of your eyes? What’s this? A well priced and long lasting back pack and lunchbox? Warm winter jackets? But most importantly, images of happy families doing outdoors activities including hiking, pumpkin carving, bonfires and overall smiling? Oh, that makes sense. School = LLBean = new backpacks = fall = leaves = pumpkins = family activities and overall sense of seasonal contentment. Remember, you’re still imagining you’re a kid at this point so stay with me. So you get this new backpack and maybe you’ve got a new fall jacket for school. You look just like the kid in the catalog! That’s so wild! Your mom is starting to pull out the fall decorations, and your house is filled with the smells of various baked goods, and the banister on the stairs is covered in this multi-colored leaf garland. Dad starts spending more time outside in his beanie doing lawn things you don’t particularly care about. Things are going swell, you’ve got that freshly-cleaned school and new pencil smell in your nostrils and you’re off to do that learnin’. (Stay in school, kids.) Awesome. Next thing you know you’re off to the scholastic book fair, and what’s this? A fall festival? Best thing ever! You get to bring home a volunteer slip to mom, who whips up some rice crispy treats and some leaf garland to bring to the festival. You skip into class and show your teacher, who smiles and tells you to tell your mom, “Thank you.” Karen’s mom brought plastic forks. Nobody likes Karen’s mom. Right, so you skip off to the fall festival. It’s everything you could hope it could be. There’s candy and games, and there is even a pumpkin carving contest! You won!  Golly! You grow up a little bit, and the fall festivals morph into more Halloween-centric activities. You hang out with both your family and friends, but in separate doses. Your mom still likes doing more crafty-baking things, and frankly you like eating so you’re on board. Your friends and you like to do things solo, but you’re like 12 so your parents are skeptical but allow you to run free at the local orchard and pumpkin patch to go do whatever it is that you do. As you get older things change but also fundamentally remain the same in regards to this transitional season. The trip to the pumpkin patch becomes less of a family outing so you can win the pumpkin carving contest again, and more of a trip that you and your friends pretend is for the nostalgia. Ie, you’re in college and, “Omg, remember when we went to the pumpkin patch as kids? Like, we should go again just because. Lol.” And you go. You and your friends go to the pumpkin patch and pretend you’re in the 5th grade again, and you pick out the ugliest gourds you can find and go home and carve them on the back porch with cider and boxed wine somebody had in the back of their pantry. This continues every year. Then, next thing you know, you’re in your twenties. You haven’t done a lot in terms of decorating this year- work has been wild and you literally don’t remember what you’ve done for the past two months. You pull on a jacket, go out to get the mail, and what’s this? No, literally what’s this you never signed up for catalogs. After the initial shock of getting junk mail, you look again.
    It’s an LLBean catalog.
    You flip it open.
  2. The novelization of pumpkins keeps their industry alive. Nobody wants a winter squash in July. It’s gotta be a government conspiracy to make sure that the farmers get subsidized.

Solo Adventure: Williamsburg

Hey y’all!

Wouldn’t you know it, I went on another solo adventure. This time, I went to Williamsburg! I’ve been plenty of times, but I’ve never been a solo adventure there before so here we go!

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I went to Colonial Williamsburg which is one of my favorite places. You have the option of just wandering around taking it all in and doing some shopping, or you can pay for various tours which are fantastic. I personally opted for the, “taking it all in and doing some shopping” route. There are tons of ways to walk in. In all honesty, just find a parking spot and go for it. I wandered in around halfway down the main strip, and stopped at a little farmhouse with a full garden. There were these huge sunflowers and an adorable farm stand with books, candles and knick-knacks for sale.

 

If you looked through the flowers you could see part of one of the buildings in the downtown area.

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After hitting that up I found myself wandering up and down the lane just really enjoying the overall atmosphere. Colonial Williamsburg kinda has this air which is a nice mix of local, student, and tourist. Like, there’s a nice mishmash of individuals which just really creates a refreshing and freeing environment that blends history and modernity. Which sounds like a tourism pitch, but it’s really accurate. It’s like the city itself is a sort of live in adventure park for history dweebs. (Guilty as charged.)

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As a heads up, though, keep an eye out for the horses.

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Tons of the shops are set up in houses and town house looking structures like they would have back in the day-day. What’s great is that each shop has it’s own wares, so you won’t find the same kind of souvenirs in each of the shops. Like, okay. You’ll find the same root beer and pins, but there’s enough variety to keep you on your toes and interested. I’ve frankly been to Colonial Williamsburg more times than I can count but it’s still fun to look through the shops and see what’s new.

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It’s also fun just to wander up and down the lanes looking at the houses. Be careful, though. Some of the houses belong to actual families and not the city.

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Ok, so when you’re done with the strictly historic, the lane sort of naturally veers towards more modern shops. I of course wandered through those and eventually hit up the outlets (terrible idea for my bank account). I didn’t take a ton of pictures of that, but I did of one of my all time favorite candy shops. Ignore the terrible shot and focus on the name cause you’re gonna wanna go when you visit.

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Look at this super pale individual. I live in Virginia. You’d think I’d have a tan or something.

Alright! That’s it for a super quick post about a super quick trip to Williamsburg. I’m planning on going later in October, so until then Williamsburg, I’ll see you later!

Solo Adventure! Charlottesville, Virginia

Hey Y’all!

One of the great things in life is having the freedom to take yourself on personal road trips. When I moved out of my parent’s house I decided that being solo doesn’t mean jack shit in the big scheme of things and that taking personal adventure days is the absolute fucking best.

I went to Charlottesville in the beginning of September for a day. I woke up and decided it sounded like a fine idea and went with the flow and ended up having a grand time.

Charlottesville is located in around the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia and is gorgeous. Home of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello and UVA the town is flush with tons of young people, nature and history.

Which a whole lot of hooplah in reality and sounds startlingly like a tourist add. (Hit me up agencies I’m available.)

But, fundamentally Charlottesville has a cool, sorta academic vibe which I can get behind. I decided to go to the downtown area called the Mall to explore.

The Love sign is in the middle of the downtown area and is like a huge welcome to everyone who comes to visit. Families and couples were taking pictures in front of the sign so I, of course, did so too! Like why not? The Love sign is everywhere in VA and is a great tourism attraction and is a great way to unify the state.

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The Love sign is everywhere in VA.  

There recently has been a lot about Charlottesville in the news, but as I wandered into a shop, I think that the MLK quote really encompassed how the city was dealing with the protest. The protest may have been over, but I think that the town really banded together and was putting forward its best intentions for a loving, peaceful community. I was just a visitor, so I really can’t speak more than what I observed.

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Considering all that’s going on in the world, I think this quote was really appropriate.

I wish I took more pictures encompassing how lively the downtown area was, but I was too preoccupied living in the moment, and wasn’t paying too much attention to trying to take pictures. But, I of course took a few and am throwing them in for you guys. 😀

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Some of the shops had flowers and plants in the windowsill and we all know I’m a sucker for taking pictures of plants haha

Wandering up and down the Mall can take awhile and there is a ton to see. The main center is filled with tables for the nearby restaurants and the entire area is sectioned off as a pedestrian space only.

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I love giraffes! There were tons of cool pieces scattered around but this was my favorite.

Outside of the downtown area things sort of quieted down. There weren’t as many shops or people, which meant to me that there were more secluded things to find. At this point in the journey I was more into the main square and its shops and people so I just sort of wandered back to that after taking a picture of the railroad.

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This was taken a little off from the main downtown area

 

The one thing I thought was fascinating about the city was that there wasn’t a huge tourism-logo-slogan grab. Like, Richmond has the RVA logo, DC is just DC, it seems like everywhere has a, “Thing.” Charlottesville really doesn’t. I asked a lady at a shop and she said that the closest thing that Charlottesville had in terms of the whole tourism thing was a heart with, “Charlottesville” in the center. Good thing I was on the case and picked one up at the train station! Gotta keep up my souvenir addiction.

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I try to collect something from everywhere I’ve been whether that be a map, a bumper sticker, or a pin. It’s just a thing I picked up from when I was little. Thanks, mom and dad!

My dudes, I really liked visiting Charlottesville. There are apparently a ton of wineries around the area and a lot of hiking to do, so I will definitely be returning! Till next time!