Josh and I recently got back from a whirlwind of a road trip out to Richmond, Virginia. Here’s a recap, with pictures!
Day 1: After Josh left work, we drove from Dallas to Jackson, Mississippi to visit my Grandma and we stayed with her that night.
Day 2: We spent the morning with my Grandma, ran some errands, went to lunch with her, and took her to get her hair done. After leaving her house that afternoon, we drove to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we spent the night in a hotel. Not too exciting. Saw lots of rural Alabama that day. (No offense to people who like Alabama… we just didn’t get too far off the highway at all that day.) Northern Alabama was actually quite pretty.
Day 3: We got up early in the morning determined to see some pretty scenery before reaching Richmond that evening. First, we left Knoxville and drove out to the edge of the Smoky Mountain National Park through a little town called Gatlinburg. To get there, we had to drive through a town called Siegerville, which was frighteningly a lot like Branson. But Gatlinburg was very pretty… and the mountains were gorgeous!
We got back on the main highway and took it into Virginia, and then got onto a famous scenic highway for several miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was BEAUTIFUL. Spring was just only starting to reach some of the hills there.
This picture makes me laugh. Josh was in mid-walk but his pose looks funny. 🙂
We reached Richmond that night and had dinner with my sister Leah and her fiance, Greg. It was a lot of fun and we ate at a place that was kind-of like Panera, but it was a restaurant. I think it was called the Baker’s Crust. Anyway, afterward we met up with good friends James and Jennifer Murphy, who we stayed with all weekend. We met them through Mission to the World in March 2006, and spent a month with them in Brussels in January of this year. They are moving to Scotland in several months to do youth ministry at a church in Dornoch. (Check out their blog!) Their house is a cool historic home near downtown Richmond that they are restoring. They are AWESOME people, and we really enjoyed getting to stay with them.
Day 4: We spent most of the day with my sister Leah and Greg. They both are students at the University of Richmond, so we enjoyed a great tour of the university, which is gorgeous.
Leah and Greg recently got engaged (mid-February) and are planning on getting married next June (2008). We really enjoyed getting to know Greg better. He’s from Minnesota originally and he is super nice. I couldn’t be happier for my little sister. Here is a picture of the happy couple:
Leah and Greg took us to Belle Island, which is a really cool place where you can walk or bike that was a previous location of a Civil War prison and factory. When we were there, a lot of people were coming across the bridge to the island with crazily modified bikes, costumes, and what looked like jousting sticks. James later told us that they were kids that were probably arriving for “Slaughterama“.
We spent the afternoon walking around at Carytown, a really cool street with lots of unique shops and restaurants. A French Film festival was also going on at the time. We finished out the evening at a Tapas restaurant and a cool Jazz Cafe called Bogarts. It was a lot of fun!
Day 5: It was a very busy, but amazing Sunday! Our friends James and Jennifer took us to their church, Stony Point Presbyterian, and I sang “You are Enough” and played the guitar in both of the morning services. We were overwhelmed by the welcome we received from the people at the church and felt so blessed by being there! We met so many people who were excited about what we were going to be doing in Mexico. That evening, we got a chance to share our vision for ministry at the prayer service and at the High School youth group, and talked to a lot of people.
We also went to a service that afternoon that met at a different location near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus downtown. It was an awesome service, led by young people and the pastor of Stony Point. We really enjoyed getting to meet those people and will pray that their church grows. It seemed to have the perfect personality and location for outreach to the diverse students of nearby VCU. We were really inspired and excited by the body of Christ reflected in that group.
It was a LONG day!! We are still amazed by everything that James and Jenn set up for us and were encouraged by meeting so many great people.
Day 6: James and Jenn had to work on Monday, so Josh and I decided to explore a bit during the day. We went to Colonial Williamsburg, a working town from pre-Revolutionary times. It was cool. I had been there when I was about 12 years old, but it was neat to visit again. Here are some pictures:
This is a picture of the woodworking shop where they were making a replica of a colonial table:
We also drove over to see Jamestown National Park. After seeing the area, we were amazed that anyone ever tried to settle there! Much of the peninsula is a swampy bog!
That evening we hung out with James and Jen and had some delicious cheeseburgers that Jenn made and went to a cool pub for some beer. We REALLY enjoyed getting to hang out with them… we instantly got along when we met over a year ago… and now we’re convinced that we’re destined to be friends for a very long time. Hopefully we can see each other sometime before we’re both off to Mexico and Scotland!
Day 7: We left Richmond in the morning, after a quick coffee with Leah and Greg. We couldn’t help but feel sad to leave such a cool city and family and such great friends. It was a long drive to Nashville that day.
Day 8: We spent the day in Nashville, just for fun! We walked around the Vanderbilt campus, which was very pretty in early spring. We also walked around downtown and drove around to sightsee a bit. Josh also spotted this amazing billboard that looked like a giant belt buckle:
Day 9: Nashville to Austin – home at last!!