Sages Trip To Virginia

Virginia BeachThe following report was submitted by Bobbe Moutray, a member of Epiphany Sages.

VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS…..

….as a goodly number of Epiphany Sages and their friends quickly found out! It’s for lovers of history, of nature, of people, of ocean waves, and of just downright FUN!

This particular tour was, in fact, a “maiden voyage” for our carrier Diamond Tours. Williamsburg, VA had just opened up on the list of destination cities for the company, and the Sages were more than willing to “take the plunge” and, as we quickly learned, it was a memorable trip in so many ways!

Once again, in an attempt to put as many miles behind us as possible on our day of departure from Louisville, we watched movies relative to our trip and played fun games of Bingo and Fly Swatter Derby (our touring Sages’ version of “the fastest two minutes in racing”). That made our arrival time in Roanoke (after dinner) very reasonable.

MontecelloThe next morning, we headed for Charlottesville and Monticello – the infamous home of our third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. What a beautiful site! Originally set on 5,000 acres of rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, the area is rife with history, and our Monticello tour guide shared information (some previously unknown ) into the creation of the site and about Jefferson, who was the architect not only of his prestigious home, but of the University of Virginia, where he is known as “the father or founder of” this magnificent center of education. On a clear day, the dome of the university can be seen from Monticello. We walked the paths formerly tread by the slaves, especially Mulberry Row, as they tended to the many household, gardening, and other needs related to the upkeep of Monticello.

Later in the day we arrived at Virginia Beach and were delighted to experience one of the best perks of this trip – everyone had an oceanfront room with deck!!! We arrived at a time in the evening when one could still sit on their deck enjoying a glass of wine while watching people walking the boardwalk (which is actually concrete), folks riding on the bike trail (some bikes having been built for as many as 6 passengers!), Navy F-18 fighter jets in training mode, and the lights of huge ships passing in the night. Daytime reflected the pristine sands, azure water, waves crashing, and very well maintained surroundings.

We visited the Virginia Beach Aquarium and Marine Center where sharks, stingrays, and many species of aquatic life swam overhead. Giant sea turtles looked at us curiously from within their tanks, and it appeared the playful seals were inviting us to join them in their fun.

One of our evening meals was enjoyed at the Four Point by Sheraton. A solo guitarist with electronic back-up music for dancing entertained us after dinner. Needless to say, there was “a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on”, including with some of the server personnel (since dinner was finished and they were in “clean-up” mode. We hated to leave all the laughter and frivolity!

Did we mention that it was really, really warm? It was sunny and hot when we left Louisville (90 degrees) and by Wednesday the daytime temperatures continued to hover near 88 degrees. Additionally, brilliant sunshine and humidity assured us that summer had definitely arrived in Virginia.

Touring Colonial Williamsburg was really interesting. We learned about carpentry, millinery, and other trades, and the challenges of the tradespeople in that era. The streets are still very much the same as they were when the colonists walked them – cobblestone, some of crushed rock, brick, and even straw. They were filled with museums, pubs, shops, and a beautiful church. We wished we had more time to visit there.

Next on our itinerary was the Yankee Candle Village Flagship Store, where it “snows” every 4-5 minutes in their Christmas Shop. What a treat in comparison to the daily reality. Some of us even stopped to buy a refreshing ice cream cone and sat in the Christmas Store to enjoy it.

After dinner and our return to our hotel, we paused to take a group photo in front of a huge statue of King Neptune (a key tourist attraction on the boardwalk), before going our separate ways for the balance of the evening. Live music from various venues along the boardwalk and the nighttime temperatures were most conducive to a leisurely stroll or just sitting on benches - living in the moment. Seemingly sorrowful strains from a solo trumpeter wafted over the sounds of the waves as they made their way to the awaiting welcoming shores.

Finally on Thursday we caught a break from the unrelenting heat – it was 84 degrees and cloudy (having rained the evening before), but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits as we made our way to the Norfolk Naval Base where we saw the Battleship Dwight D. Eisenhower and two new aircraft carriers, one of which will be commissioned in a few weeks (name had not yet been determined).

After lunch we departed for the Nauticus Museum and a tour of the Battleship Wisconsin. How Navy men/women can live in such tight quarters for as long as a six month deployment is absolutely mind-boggling. The passageways were very narrow, the stairwells very steep, ceilings very low, and halfway adequate sleeping quarters nonexistent. God bless the dedicated people who do this all in the name of keeping our country safe, strong, and free!

Our final event in Norfolk was a dinner/dancing cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk. A really great DJ played upbeat music and, of course, you just can’t keep some of us off the dance floor. What a great way to wind up our stay in this area.

As we began our trip toward home, we took time to stop at the Virginia State Capital Building for a truly informative tour and some great “Kodak” moments. This building, too, was designed by Thomas Jefferson – he was definitely one very busy man!

Then on to our final overnight stay in Roanoke, followed by Home Sweet Home - Louisville!

Just can’t wait to get on the road again!