Virginia 2013: Michie Tavern

Monday, February 29, 2016


After visiting Monticello, Josh and I were going to head straight to our next destination, Ash Lawn-Highland which was just a few miles past Monticello.   However, we were starving and needed to eat before doing another tour.  We had passed Michie Tavern on our way up to Monticello and it was just 1/2 miles down the road.  I had also picked up a flyer for Michie Tavern while at Monticello.  We decided to give it a try and I am sure glad we did!!


Michie Tavern was built in 1784 by Corporal William Michie and provided food and lodging for travelers during this time.   It was open and active until the mid-1800's when stagecoach travel began to diminish.  At this time, the tavern become Cpl Michie's private residence. 

A tour is offered but we decided to just eat lunch.  If you eat lunch at the tavern, the tour is only $2 per person!  Part of me wishes we did do the tour and part of me was OK with just eating there.   Lunch is buffet style and includes southern foods made with 18th century recipes.  There is also a server who will bring you more food if you wish and desserts.  I also loved that all of the employees were in Period attire! 


Obviously, it was self seating.  We chose to sit on the enclosed porch area so that we had a nice view. 


 This was my lunch.  I was in love!  Mashed Potatoes, Biscuits, Green Beans, Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork.  I also got an apple cider along with the water that is pictured.  It was all delicious and I would eat there again in a heartbeat!


Of course this homemade peach cobbler was the best part of the meal!  Josh and I ordered two but the server suggested that he bring out one and then decide.   That was an excellent suggestion because there was no way we each could have finished one!  We barely finished it while sharing!




 Pictured above are the areas for seating.  Our table is in the top photo and the others are indoor dining areas. 

I absolutely loved this place!  It was a little pricey at $17 per person plus extra cost for any drink (other than water) and desserts that you order, but in my opinion it was totally worth it.  The food was absolutely to die for if you like a good southern meal!   The service was impeccable!!  Everyone was so nice and I loved that they stayed in character! 

If you are ever in the Charlottesville area, I would HIGHLY recommend Michie Tavern.  Please note: The Tavern is open specifically for lunch, the hours are 11am to 330pm.

* Obviously this vacation was pre-vegetarian days.

Virginia 2013: Monticello

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Due to wedding planning, our vacation this year was pretty low key.  Josh and I both love history and that is basically what this vacation was about, learning American History.  And what a great week to do that, the week leading up to Memorial Day. 

Our first stop (history wise) was Thomas Jefferson's Monticello which is located in Charlottesville, VA.  Monticello was TJ's home until he died on July 4, 1826.  He was one of three founding fathers to die on July 4th, the others being John Adams (who died the exact same day), and James Monroe who died 5 years later.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside of the house but I will share some interesting facts as well as my pictures from outside and from the grounds.


The picture above is from the front of the house where we first walked in.  Before modern roads were built, it was rather difficult to get to Monticello.  People would have to actually circle the Mountain 3 times before arriving at the top.  It was too steep to go straight up, especially with a horse and carriage.


If you know anything about Thomas Jefferson, you know that he was pretty much interested in EVERYTHING, and I mean everything.  This house was built by Jefferson with his knowledge of architecture.  He began building at 26 and continued to expand Monticello throughout his life.   He lived at Monticello throughout his retirement years.


Jefferson had quite the collection of books.   A large sum were donated to the Government in what is now known as the Library of Congress but a good bit of books remained at Jefferson's home.  It was written that at one point the Library/Study was so filled with books from floor to ceiling that the only way to walk through the room was by a narrow passageway.



During our tour, we were guided through the first floor of the house.  The rooms visited include the Bedchamber, Dining Room, Cabinet, Library, Entrance Hall, Tea Room, Octagonal Rooms and Square Rooms.


Jefferson was a slave owner, as was typical of wealthy families at that time.   However, Jefferson did oppose slavery and was actively involved in legislation that he hoped would abolish slavery.   Jefferson pretty much predicted that if slavery were not abolished that states that had slavery and that states that didn't would not be able to live peacefully.  As we all know, that was definitely the case.




Above are photos from the Plantation including crops and the Path along Mulberry Row.  Mulberry Row featured a blacksmith shop, joinery, nailery, storehouse and textile factory (all of which are no longer there).  There were many different crops produced at Monticello including tobacco and wheat/grains.




Last, we visited TJ's grave site.  Jefferson, along with all of his family were buried on the property.  Jefferson had the following etched on his Tombstone:

Here Was Buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of Independence
of the Statue of Virginia for Religious Freedom
And the Father of the University of Virginia.

I definitely enjoyed visiting Monticello.  I enjoyed learning about the President how his ideas shaped this country.  The grounds were beautiful and our guide was great.   She talked as if we were back in the late 1700's and the family was still living there.  I am sure I missed a lot of information but it is not hard to find on the internet if you are interested in learning more.

Also, one last interesting fact.  Monticello is the only Presidents Home which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Reverse Bucket List

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


When Annie put out this post a few weeks ago, I knew I would be accepting her challenge and making my own reverse bucket list.  A Reverse Bucket List is just a list of things you have done in life as a reminder of how much you've actually accomplished or experienced in life.  It's a way to be reminded of how great life is!


Some people live their whole lives and never travel out of their home state, much less out of their home country.  I feel so blessed to have been able to travel to Europe!  I traveled with an amazing company (People to People) and made some incredible friends who I am still friends with 10 years later (10 years, what!?!).   We visited Italy, France, Spain, Monaco and The Vatican.  This trip was such an incredible experience and I can't wait to share more about it.


I was fortunate enough to go to two colleges that offered an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.  Basically it's a volunteer trip over spring break.  In 2008, I traveled to Northern California to be a counselor for fifth grade science camp at the YMCA of the Redwoods.  Such a great experience!  I do get gray hairs thinking about the fact that my fifth graders are now the same age I was when I went on that trip!  I'm friends with a few of them on Facebook.  In 2009, I traveled to Costa Rica, which still holds the title of my favorite country.   In Costa Rica, we worked at a biological station and also spent two days helping out at a local school.  Both experiences were unforgettable.


Growing up I was one of those fiercely independent people and I was not going to get married and let a man hold me back.  Obviously I grew up a bit and realized that this didn't have to be the case.  I ended up meeting Josh when I wasn't even looking.  I had just gotten out of a long term relationship (no bad blood, we just weren't right for each other and parted as friends) and wanted to be single for a while.  I met Josh about 4 months later, and 8 months after that we were dating.  We started out as friends which I think was good for us.  He really is my favorite person and people still tell us how sickening we are, but I take that as a compliment.   He really is the best husband I could have ever wished for.  You can go vomit now, I'll wait.


I already talked about how Josh and I met JDF, Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell (my other Husband) at Comic Con last year, you can read about that here.  We were supposed to meet Nathan Fillion, too, but he backed out for personal reasons.  I also met Brantley Gilbert back in 2010.  This is a random and pretty awesome story which I will definitely tell in greater detail sometime soon.  All I'll say for now is that I have the best and coolest friends on the planet!  Also, I may have to tell you about the time my Mom made me think I missed out on meeting Brittney Spears.  My 12 year old self still hates her guts for that and she knows it.


The tattoo above is actually my fourth and most recent tattoo.  I've loved tattoos ever since I was little.  I think I was between 8 and 10 when I first told my parents that I would be getting a tattoo when I turned 18.  My Mom took me to get my first tattoo on my 18th birthday.  I have a treble clef with flowers and bubbles on my upper back/neck, flowers on my right foot, and an Autism Ribbon for my Brother on my hip.  The one picture above is the one I got with my Sister.  Yes, I have plans for more, unfortunately my Money tree disappeared so it may be a while ;)


This was by far one of the most incredible experiences of my life!  You can read more about that here - where I babble about how awesome scuba diving is and overload you with photos.


What is on your Reverse Bucket List??

Political Tuesday: Marco Rubio

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Last week when I announced that I was going to start this series, I said that I am not at all quiet about the fact that I support Marco Rubio.   When I first started watching the debates, I had my eye on a few candidates - I started narrowing it down and by time the New Hampshire debate came around I was convinced.   I had done my research on his positions (as well as the positions of the other candidates I was watching) and was fully convinced that he is the best choice for President of the United States.   So, before I start sharing my opinions on each issue, I figured I'd share why I support Marco Rubio.

He Can Beat Hilary Clinton: Marco Rubio is young, smart, and well spoken.  I think he is the only candidate that will be able to bring those in the middle over to the republican side.  His Hispanic heritage and his willingness to discuss the racial issues in this country helps, also.   I despise Hilary Clinton - there is no nice way to say it.  Like, I can't even watch the democratic debates because I can't even stand the sound of her voice.  She is a criminal and I don't want to see her become President, so when I was deciding on which candidate I wanted to support I was looking for someone who I believed could beat her.  Since, lets be real, Hilary is probably going to be the Democratic nominee.  I think Marco Rubio is that candidate (actually polls have proven that, too).

His Immigration Plans are Most Practical:  I know everyone loves Donald Trump because he is so radical, but that's not good enough for me.  Trump wants to deport between 11 and 30 million illegal immigrants.  Last time I looked at the numbers, that would cost about 500 billion dollars (see here). Rubio's plan is about gaining back the trust of the American people.  He wants to get illegal immigration under control first (you can read more here and listen here) and then see what the American people are willing to accept as far as the people who have been here for a long time with no criminal record. His plans are far more practical than "just deport them all".

 National Security: National security is probably the biggest issue for me, it is the one I pay attention to most.  Despite what President Obama may think, Isis is a huge threat - bigger than Al Qaeda.  So, I think the way in which the next president will handle our military and national security is the most important issue.  There are a few candidates such as Jeb Bush, who I think also have a good understanding of national security but I think Rubio surpasses them all.  Plus, as a military wife, I am all about building our Military because the stronger and more prepared they are, the less dangerous wars are for our soldiers (relatively speaking of course; war will always be dangerous).

Second Amendment: I think every Republican candidate is against President Obama's ridiculous crusade against guns.  However, I loved this response from Rubio (here).   I like that Rubio intends to get to the root of the problem of gun violence, and it's not the gun - it's mental illness in this country.  You have to be living in a bubble not to realize we have a mental health issue in this country.  That is what needs to be looked at, the why - not the tool to carry out the crime.  We have guns in my house now (I sleep with one under my bed) and also when I was growing up.  Hell, my Dad used to shoot targets in our basement.  My Grandfather had a gun collection worth thousands and thousands of dollars.  None of us have ever committed a crime (with guns or otherwise).  Read more about Rubio's position on this here.

There are a lot of other and more in depth reasons why I support Marco Rubio, but I'm not trying to be here all day.  These are the issues that are most important to me.   Over the next few weeks I will be going more in depth with my opinions of each of the issues I've mentioned here as well as some others (including Common Core and Economics).   So, stay tuned!

The Virtual Life

Friday, February 19, 2016


I had nothing planned to for today but I had to share this video.  I was literally crying from laughing.  I have no words for this.  Happy Friday!


Virginia 2013: Luray Caverns

Thursday, February 18, 2016


In 2013, Josh and I were originally planning to go to NOLA for our vacation.  However, with wedding planning in full swing, we soon discovered that NOLA was not a fiscally responsible choice.  So, we decided to keep it close to home and do some exploring in nearby Virginia.

Our first official stop on our VA Vacation was Luray Caverns.  Luray was right on the way from our house to Harrisonburg; about 45 minutes before Harrisonburg, which is where we were staying.  I always wanted to visit the caverns while I was at JMU, but sadly never got the chance.  Josh had been there once before but he was very young.  This was one thing that we definitely knew we wanted to do on this trip and it didn't disappoint.

Luray Caverns was discovered in 1878.  The formations are mostly made from limestone and a mildly acidic mixture of water and carbon dioxide and formed over millions of years.   These formations form really slowly at about 1 cubic inch per 120 years.  The formations that form on the ground and work their way towards the ceiling are called Stalagmites and the formations that form from the ceiling down are called Stalactites.  When these two meet, they form columns.


This is Dream Lake an this picture is actually of a reflection.  The bottom part is a very large but shallow pool of water which reflects the top part.  It really does look like there is formations growing from the bottom.  The guide shined a light into the water to show us how shallow it really was, 20 inches at its deepest.



The formation that is glowing is called Pluto's Ghost.  This is because the men who first discovered the caverns saw this formation 3 different times, and each time they saw it, it got closer.  So, they believed it was haunting them.  We also saw this formation three different times.


That little ball there is actually what happens when people touch the formations.  The oils from your hands will actually stunt the growth of the formations.  However, when the caverns first opened, they did not know this.


This formation is called the cave bat.  There are no real bats in this cave because of the way is formed, there is really no entry and exit points for bats.  So, they say that this is their cave bat.




They called this one the Shaggy Dog for obvious reasons.  It is huge.


The Camel


National Geographic called this one of the most beautiful drapings in the world.  It is located in Saracen's Tent.  


Saracen's Tent is one of the most perfectly formed stone draperies in the world.


This column fell during in earthquake thousands of years ago.


This area is refereed to as Totem Pole area for obvious reasons.


This is the Double Column located in Giant's Hall.  This formation is 74 feet tall!  This is the largest room in the Caverns.



This is the Wishing Well.  People make wishes and toss their coins in and then Luray Caverns Drains this water and donates all of the money to Charities.  The water is discolored due to the copper in the coins.


These are the Fried Eggs, another example of what happens when people touch the formations.

That is the end of the Tour at Luray Caverns.  We had a really small group on our tour which made it so much better.  The tour was a little over an hour long and requires about a mile of walking with frequent stops.  Our tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable (and super nerdy, which I loved).  There are also other small museums right next to the Caverns which are included in the ticket price but we decided to skip them.   I would definitely recommend a trip to Luray Caverns if you are ever in the area, it really is very beautiful.

P.S. It is really chilly in the caverns as you are underground.  I didn't think of this and went down in a tank top and shorts.  I wasn't freezing but I would have been more comfortable had I worn a sweater.

Mid-Month Update

Tuesday, February 16, 2016



* Normally I only do these updates once per month but I have a few changes on the blog that I want to share and I don't want to wait until next month to share these things.  (Also, I am writing this on Valentines day and everyone seeing Deadpool is making me super jealous, so I am trying to ignore them).

* I wrote this post last week about the shooting of two Sheriffs Deputies in my town. Their names have been released since I wrote that post and I hope that you'll keep their children and their families in your thoughts. Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon died serving the people of Harford County, and their sacrifice and service has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  It's been so inspirational to see the county (and State) really come together and support the HCSO during this time.  It's also been so encouraging to see our Governor, Larry Hogan, supporting the HCSO and personally coming to their offices and offering his condolences and help.  That is true leadership.  And this community has definitely reminded me what community is all about.


* When I restarted this blog, I had originally planned on doing posts about specific things that I had done that are on my Bucket List board on Pinterest.  However, the more I thought about it, the more it just didn't make sense to do that.  So, I am still keeping my Bucket List tab, but now I am just adding the little photo to the bottom of the post it applies to and writing that this was a bucket list item.  Here is an Example.  So go check that out if you so desire.  I think I'm completely caught up on what I've already posted about.

* As everyone is aware (I hope), it is an election year and the debates are starting to get heated.  I'm usually not very political on this blog but in real life ... lets just say I have a lot of opinions.  Lately, I have become a bit obsessed with keeping up with all things elections because I think this is going to be one of the most important elections in our country's history (if not the most important).   I am a Republican - I make no secret of that.  I will lean a little left on social issues such as gay marriage, but for the things I consider most important such as National Security and Economics I am 100% right wing.  I also make no secret about the fact that I support Marco Rubio.  The point of this is that every Tuesday (appropriate, I think) I will be getting a little political on the blog.  I will post about why I support Marco Rubio and what my opinions are on certain issues.  I'm going to say this now and I'll probably repeat it on each post; I will not be name calling and being a dick about my opinions so I expect everyone who decides to comment on this series to be respectful of me or any other commenters.  I'm writing this series because it's something that interests me, not because I want to fight with people.  That's not to say don't disagree with me, just be an adult about it.  My hope through this is to maybe educate people a little bit about the issues.  Not everyone likes to watch debates, so if I reach you through this blog and get you thinking, even if you don't agree with my opinion, I'm happy with that.  If I turn anyone into a Rubio supporter, well that's just a bonus ;)


*  I only have March and February 2015 book reviews left to do and then I will be all caught up.  From then on, I will only be doing book reviews once per month (maybe twice depending on how much I read).  I'm kind of sad about it but trying to review each book individually just didn't work for me. 

* I think on Thursdays I am going to start doing Throwback Thursday, Travel Edition.  I have so many past travels that I want to share so I think I'm going to designate Thursdays to that (I actually kind of started that this past Thursday).  Since Josh will be living in the Williamsburg area in Virginia for a few months starting in March, and I will be able to visit (!!) I figured I'd start out with throwing back to our Virginia Vacation back in 2013.  

* I think that's all that I have for today!  I'm really excited to start being a bit more consistent with what I post on the blog, at least on some days.  Hopefully between that and the link-ups I can keep this blog going and growing! :)  Thanks for reading!!
Hayley Larue Design