Virginia and Washington, D.C.



I recently spent some time around Virginia and Washington D.C. due to the wedding of a friend of mine.  I turned the trip into a vacation and spent some time exploring North-Eastern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The people there prompted me to do a write-up about the area. 

The major problem the area has is definitely related to its drivers.  As near as I can tell, people can simply not drive in that area of the country.  I should mention that I live in an area of the country where the average rainfall is 61 inches per year (for the North Americans reading this) or approximately 155 cm per year (for everyone else), and we take aggressive driving to be a badge of honor.  You stop and rubberneck for an accident here, and you may get shot.

 In Virginia (and Washington D.C, you can take my comments for Virginia to cover D.C. for the remainder of the typing), the drivers simply come to an almost complete standstill on the interstate at the first drop of rain.   That's not the only problem with them by any stretch of the imagination.  Virginia drivers are obviously related to cats, in that they can obviously see things that I cannot.  This is the only possible reason they have for coming to a complete stop on the interstate (and I mean complete, put it in park and have a drink type stop) for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  No apparent accidents, no bad weather, no aliens landing in the middle lane, nothing.  I am aware of the "slinky" effect of traffic, but these people propagate the effect ad infinitum.  And don't get me started on merging lanes of traffic.  That simply blows their minds.  This amazing lack of ability that the general driving population seems to have is simply beyond my comprehension.

Besides the actual drivers, the roads are very nice.  Very scenic, very well kept, and they have topography there (something we are lacking in the southern United States)

Food - Well, if you have read my stuff, you know that I love food.  I try and eat anything that is local to an area.  That seems to be a problem around Virginia.  Asking many locals, I couldn't really find anything that was "local".  And the few things I did find were nothing to write home about.  The closest thing that was "local" and good was a 17 mile drive down a beautiful country lane to a seafood house on the edge of the Potomac (on a dock over the water, once you stepped from dry land, you left Virginia, and entered Maryland).  This quaint little place came on the recommendation of a local barber.  Hey, at least one person has the sense to know how to eat there.

D.C.  - Ok, D.C. deserves its bad reputation for traffic (see the rant above).  But its looking a little run down.  The touristy areas are in need of sprucing up.  The mall had large patches of bare ground where there should be grass.  I am almost certain the reflecting pond shouldn't really be that shade of green (or any shade of green), and the construction and fences around all the monuments is an eyesore.  Crank it up, get it finished, and get it pretty.  Come on guys, its embarrassing.

History - You can't beat the place for historic value.  The Smithsonian has wonderful exhibits (the ones that are open.... hint, hint...), Jamestown is where it all started (landing, actual government, the first tax, you name it), Yorktown, Williamsburg.  If your into history, your set in this place.

Something really cool in the area we did (thanks to our friend whose wedding we were attending) was gforce karts.  These are super fast go-carts that you can hop in and drive.  Seriously cool, but I admit that it is probably the fastest I have ever blown $20 (8 minutes of race time).  You can probably blow that much money faster, but its probably not on anything legal.

Worth a visit to the area?  Definitely.  In the summer?  Probably not.  I would recommend a cooler time than August (that's summer in North America) to visit next time.

This site was last updated 08/10/04