Rediscovering America: Shenandoah

In a long(er) blog post in October, I wrote about the benefits of a career that takes you all over the world, and highlighted the fact that being away often helps us better appreciate the natural beauty of our own country – which, ironically, we don’t get to experience all that much.

After spending some quality time with family on the West Coast, we returned to the National Capital region for some training, but with a week left to kill, we had a choice between paying day-to-day rental rates in our future Arlington apartment, or paying the same (slightly less, actually) to stay in a mountain cabin overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.  Guess which one we chose?

Once we managed to wrestle the Mini Cooper up the gravel road leading up the hill, we spent a relaxing week enjoying the mountain air, often simmering in the jacuzzi out on the deck (a feature of most of the cabins out there, if you consider doing the same), just enjoying nature.

One of the occasional outings we took, however, was to kayak down the Shenandoah River.  Despite the low water levels, the river was a busy place – we saw flotillas of inner tubes, other kayakers, and even a family from our old home in Chennai.  But we also saw lots of wildlife – birds of prey searching for a meal, huge trout pushing against the current, dozens of turtles sunning themselves…and in between rowing and jumping from the occasional rope swing, we even got up close to a snake that swam by the kayak.  I made a video summarizing the experience:

We enjoyed the cabin so much, by the time I got around to writing this blog post, we had come back for a long Thanksgiving weekend.  If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, I definitely recommend this as a tourist destination – it’s just a short two-hour drive away.

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