Dave and I have been on vacation this week. It's been great to relax and take a break from our usual routines. We spent a couple of days in the mountains of southwest Virginia. The photo below was taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469 mile highway that runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The parkway is a narrow, winding, two-lane highway that climbs up and down the mountains. The speed limit is 45 mph, and there are numerous scenic overlooks. So, if you ever plan to drive the parkway, allow yourself plenty of time.
After we exited the parkway, we stopped by Natural Bridge, near Lexington, VA. This natural arch is 215 feet tall, 90 feet across and it supports a segment of US highway 11.
As passed below the bridge toward the Cedar Creek waterfall, I snapped a shot of a dogwood, Virginia's state flower, which grows on Dogwood trees. Dogwood flowers bloom in spring and are a welcome sign of nature's annual rebirth.
Today, we stopped by Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's beautiful mansion and plantation, located just outside of Charlottesville, in central Virginia. Jefferson designed this home and loaded it with many fascinating scientific instruments and inventions. The author of the Declaration of Independence, in which he proclaimed that "all men [sic] are created equal" couldn't figure out how to end slavery in his own lifetime. When he died, he freed five of his slaves in his will, but left more than 100 others in bondage to his family. His accomplishments are too many to list here, so I will just note here that, if you read more about him, you'll probably find him to be a fascinating character.
Stay tuned for more, as we still have some more outings planned for the remainder of the week.