Horseraces and History – Kentucky to Virginia

Due to new jobs, wine harvest, and a little neglect, we haven’t shared anything from our travels lately. Hopefully this post with a few more of our favorite stops gets you caught up a little further.

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs in the midst of setup for opening  day.

Lucky for us we arrived in Louisville right before Opening Day and about 9 days before the Kentucky Derby, so Churchill Downs wasn’t yet crawling with thousands of people. For a small fee we took a tour of the grounds, getting to see the 1.5 mile race track where horses have been racing the Kentucky derby for hundreds of years now. In the museum you get to experience a 360 degree video telling the story of the Kentucky Derby: what it takes to be a jockey, the thrill of the race in both the stands and on the track, the bets that are placed, it’s all so exhilarating that you leave with a racing heartbeat that’ll have you planning a trip to return for the next Derby. Unfortunately, James and I weren’t able to make it to this year’s as our travels needed to continue, but it’s on our travel bucket list.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

Stretching hundreds of miles along the eastern states the Blue Ridge Parkway leads you through some incredibly gorgeous landscapes. We only got to drive the last 50 miles or so of the winding roads, but we’re glad we did (despite it being a bit tight for even out small motorhome). The parkway overlooks the green rolling hills of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.  We caught the bit that runs through Virginia cruising at around 45 mph while motorcycles zoomed past. We completely lucked out and happened to be on the parkway on a gorgeous sunny day without many clouds. When we would stop and look out from the viewpoints, we could see nothing but rolling hills covered in verdant forest for miles and miles.

 

Mt Vernon

George Washington’s former estate that now runs tours and allows visitors to wander the grounds. You get to see the original buildings and see how George was running an environmentally conscious farm and estate well before it was really something people considered as good practice. Workers of Mount Vernon would collect fallen trees for lumber and fence building as opposed to cutting down trees. The estate had a large compost pile that collected food, animal and timber waste to be repurposed as fertilizer in the fields. Washington was a brilliant man and it is hard to fully appreciate him and what he did until you’ve stood where he once stood and until you’ve read, seen and heard about how he lived his everyday life. They still have livestock on the property (though only as pet and not to be eaten) and Danielle had a bit too much fun watching the little baby sheep run around if you ask me.

 

Billy goat trail

James and I stayed with some family of his in Manassas, Virginia (Thank you, Chris & Suzanne! We had so much fun!!). They suggested a great hike along the Potomac River. Billy Goat Trail A is about 2 miles long and is called Billy Goat Trail for a reason! It’s a hike that takes you up, down, and over boulders and you truly feel like a billy goat, sure footed or not, hopping from one rock to the next. We absolutely loved it. The main trail that the Billy Goat trail runs off of runs along a section of the Potomac that’s dotted with Locks that were once used to move large ships up and downstream. Today, the locks aren’t in use, but there are plenty of really cute little goslings, turtles, and fish that call the waters home!

We’re doing our best to get back on track with blog posts! Reliving these adventures has been a lot of fun and we’re glad we get the chance to share them with you.

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