Skip to main content

Family, Friends, Sun, Sand and Sea

That pretty much sums up our recent trip to the East Coast. My parents were over for a visit so we flew to Richmond for a week to join them and other members of the family, and admire my brother and sister-in-law's newly acquired house. We arrived to stay a whole three days after they had moved in, which has got to be some kind of hospitality record. Major props to them for making us feel very welcome despite trying to repaint, unpack, do general DIY and deal with their cat having kittens all at the same time!

Virginia is beautiful in the spring, with flowering bushes and trees every way you look. Those cherry trees with their big puffy bunches of pink blossom are my all-time favourites and there were whole streets full of them. We paid a visit to the Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden for extra flower admiration.


Tulips at the botanic garden

The problem with America's size is that a few hundred miles suddenly falls into the category of "just around the corner". We have friends in Maryland, the next state up from Virginia, and North Carolina, the next state down. Knowing we were unlikely to be any closer to them in the near future, we made plans to visit both. It was well worth it, but I tell you, driving 400 miles to get from one to the other is not just around the corner. Especially when your rental car starts making funny noises halfway through the trip but the car company tells you you can't get another one till Monday so you just have to press on regardless. (It survived the journey.)


Graham and me and the Chesapeake Bay

As I said, it was worth it. The couple in Maryland have a house on a little airfield and get small planes landing just outside their front door - how cool is that? They are also close to the Chesapeake Bay, so we got our first taste of the seaside. We walked through some wetlands in a state park, spying turtles and lizards along the way, to a small beach on the bay. Apparently fossilised sharks teeth can be found there, but despite my best efforts I didn't see one. It probably didn't help that I didn't really know what I was looking for.



Maryland wetlands

Coming in to land!

Our North Carolina friends, like us, are Brits enjoying the sunnier life abroad. Unlike us, they managed to include an apartment overlooking a marina and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, a big beach just down the road, and a rather pretty seaside town nearby. The weather was absolutely perfect so we enjoyed all of these to the full; walking along the beach, paddling around the marina in kayaks, and strolling the streets of the seaside town. We were also entertained by their 2-month-old daughter, who can make your day with a single smile (and I got several!)


Marina views


Graham and me and the Atlantic Ocean
Family, friends, sun, sand and sea - what more do you need?

Graham and his new yacht (in his dreams!)

Comments

And major props to you for putting up with the hammering, drilling, sweeping, and boxes! We loved having y'all stay - you're welcome any time!

Popular posts from this blog

Dove Valley Walk: Going round the bend

Somewhere between Marchington and Uttoxeter, the wiggles of the River Dove stop wiggling west to east, and start wiggling north to south. If it went in straight lines, it would make a right-angled bend. As I'm following the river upstream, this was my last section walking west. After this it's north to the Peak District and Dovedale. here the Dove swings north The main walk of this section was all on the south side of the river. But I also did a separate, shorter walk, to explore the village of Doveridge, and the old Dove Bridge which is tantalisingly glimpsed from the A50. Walk 1: Marchington to Uttoxeter I liked Marchington even more as I arrived there for the second time. I parked opposite the village shop - noting the "ice cream" sign outside for later - and near the brick-built St Peter's Church, with a war memorial built in above the door.  A few streets took me to the other side of the village, where I found a path alongside a stream, then across some hay m

San Antonio

San Antonio is towards the south of Texas and feels very much more Mexican than American. The balmy evenings, the colourful Mexican market, the architecture of the buildings, and the number of people speaking Spanish around us all added to the impression. The city, in fact, grew out of a Spanish mission and presidio (fort), built in 1718 as part of Spain's attempt to colonize and secure what was then the northern frontier of the colony of Mexico. Texas was then a buffer zone between Mexico and the French-held Louisiana, and Spain was keen to cement her hold on the area by introducing settlers and converting the natives to Catholicism and loyalty to the Spanish government. The missions in general had no great effect, but the San Antonio area was the exception to the rule, growing into an important city with five missions strung out along the San Antonio river. The first of these, San Antonio de Valero, later became well-known as the Alamo, where 182 Texans died in 1836

Lots of cooking

This week, I have mostly been creating enormous piles of washing up. I thought you'd prefer to see the clean stuff. Occasionally something edible escaped from the mounds of mess and made it to the table. I don't know why it turned into such a cooking week; we haven't been entertaining, and I didn't think I'd added too many new dishes to my weekly menu.  The main problem was that I made several things in advance, which spread out the cooking - and hence the washing up - across a much greater time and area. The star of the menu was undoubtedly the barbeque ribs.  I don't believe I've ever cooked ribs before, but I followed the recipe from Jamie Oliver's Save with Jamie , and they turned out - well, just like ribs should!  Soft and tender, and coated generously with a sweet and tangy glaze.  It's not in any way a difficult recipe - but like I said, it kind of spreeeaaads, until you feel like you've been dealing with these ribs for a very