The next-to-last event on my VA trip was an unexpected trip to the countryside.

Because my BFF was being a PITA (pain in the ass… more on that later), Joey and I spent our last night in a small northern VA town called Lovettsville, with a friend-of-a-friend who is becoming a direct friend to me. She was a warm and gracious hostess – our room was straight out of a bed and breakfast postcard, with beautiful cotton sheets and a plump white down comforter… marshmallow pillows… simple and clean… with every thoughtful detail, down to a glass of cold water on the nightstand.

We got in late on Saturday night, but Sunday morning she took us on an “expedition.” First we walked around her development a bit, which is the perfect middle in between the McMansions on 5 acres and the cookie-cutter homes built so close together you can hand things to the neighbors through open windows. Beautifully laid out, this country neighborhood sprawls graciously in the northern Virginia hills, with a mountain view and crisp, invigorating air that makes you want to fill your lungs to capacity and then bottle some to take home for later.


Joey got to explore the pond, feed a donkey, see some horses and dogs, and run.

We walked into town, through the newly seeded town square, and down a small street full of arts and crafts homes to the community center, where Joey found the playground of his dreams. (Well, maybe the big girls had just as much fun – little kids are a great excuse to take a spin on the swings.)

We went back to her place, sat around the beautiful farm table in the kitchen, and munched on tortilla chips and salsa while we (well, I, really) gossiped about the PITA and talked of various 40-something-year-old women’s topics.

Leaving, I felt refreshed and exhilarated… filled with a new kind of hopefulness that you just never know what little treasures are waiting to be discovered if you dare to venture beyond the beltway.


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