We made it - we're in Damascus, Virginia, for the next four days.
As the girl behind the ice cream counter asked me this evening, "Why would you CHOOSE to come here?"
Well, honey, because it is breathtakingly beautiful. And because once you make the eight hour drive, you don't have to get in the car again to do anything else. Most of the time, if you are interested in staying in the mountains you drive eight hours to a cabin. The next day you drive an hour to good hiking. The following day you drive an hour and a half to good rafting - and your trip to the mountains becomes very tedious. Here, the Appalachian Trail runs through the middle of town, as do biking trails and good kayaking. There is even a bus shuttle that drives you the eighteen miles up the hill, so that you can ride your bike downhill, and through the small towns in between (that's a biking excursion even I can handle). It's a whole little town whose livelihood depends on through hikers from the Appalachian Trail, which means, generally speaking, it is the most laid-back, greenest, peace-loving-est place you can imagine.
In short, Damascus is our idea of vacation.
And we made it.
We're staying in a bed and breakfast (of course - there are no hotels in Damascus). Our hostess is Mrs. Jenny, who is 86 and full of life. Her philosophy on longevity is to keep working. She says when you stop working, you get old. Fascinating lady.
Good night all.