Went to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Took the ski lift to the top of the mountain and checked out the view. Gnats were deadly, and I sweated so much my hearing aids shorted out. The good news was that, unlike ski season when the lift never slows down to load and unload, they stopped the chair so old fogies could sit down and get up without fear of being dragged to their untimely death.
Went to a pottery studio near the Shenandoah. Blue Ridge Pottery is just down the hill from Skyline Drive, on Goose Pond. More deadly gnats at the pottery studio, but I loved the pottery tree stump amid an unkempt garden.
The old Civil War Inn adjacent to the studio is undergoing yet another renovation to make it into yet another bed and breakfast where rich white people can visit between "antiquing" ventures. If I lived in that climate, this is what my yard would look like. We did a lot of eating and drinking and talking of politics, with predictable results: nobody changed anybody else's mind about anything.
Despite the gnats and other wildlife, we enjoyed seeing deer in the woods near our luxury condo. My brother tried to run them down, being a resident of Virginia where deer have overrun the suburbs, including his yard. Despite looking like Bambi and his doomed Mom - quite exotic to my Californian eye - deer apparently have no natural enemies in Virginia except serious gardeners.
Although I didn't make the day trip, the progeny went to Monticello and brought back a picture of Thomas Jefferson's garden. Not terribly impressive this time of year. Back home, I'm already late starting my lettuce and other cool season seeds. Planting an entirely new vegetable garden twice each year has become such a habit to me, it's hard to imagine living in a climate like Tom, where you can only plant once each year.
Kicked back and enjoyed nature. I liked the fauna, and the flora...
...and I should mention, I liked the beer. We toured a brewery, ate at several brew pubs and soaked up a great deal of the atmosphere along with the beer.
We went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. I loved the tropical rain forest because it wasn't quite hot and humid enough walking along the harbor in the drizzle in Baltimore to make me homesick for the dry air of California. The dank furry thing amid the tree branches looked to me like a piece of old torn shag carpet that had been left out in the rain, although a docent insisted it was a sloth who had just become a father. She insisted that the mom and the new baby sloth were hiding somewhere nearby. More old carpet most likely.
The best part of my vacation? I sat on the porch one rainy morning and read a book.