Jefferson Memorial + Dead Cherry Blossoms, 2005
Larry and I have recently been discussing The Future. As in, where do we want to be one year/five years/ten years from now? That's a lot of big decisions and while we don't really have a plan mapped out, one thing that we do know is that we don't want to be in the DC area forever. We'd like to live somewhere else and explore a new town/city/state. (Or country? I'd welcome the opportunity to live abroad, but we don't have a lot of opportunities like that coming our way.)
Except for five years in college (Syracuse, New York plus a summer in Spain and a semester in Italy), I've lived in Northern Virginia my whole life. Larry grew up in western Maryland - about three hours west of the DC area, though he's been in the DC area for the past 13 years. I don't think either of us ever intended to stay so local (I wanted to live anywhere BUT the DC area after I graduated from college), it's just one of those things that happened. And while we love being close to family and the great group of friends we have here, we hate the cost of living, the traffic, and the competitive and fast pace of life in the DC area.
Our talk of a future move has me excited, but also has me reflecting on the things I like about this area along with some things that I still haven't done. We've definitely taken a lot of weekend adventures and explored Virginia, Maryland, DC, and West Virginia, over the ten years we've been together. We've enjoyed that both the beach and the mountains are within easy driving distance from our house. We like that the Virginia countryside is especially beautiful in the fall, and yet we still have easy access to all the activity in the city. Throughout the last decade, we've tried to take advantage of living in this area as much as we can: we've stayed in modern and traditional cabins, visited local wineries, hiked in numerous parks, picked berries at local farms, explored several Civil War battlefields, toured the West Wing, visited museums, witnessed the space shuttle flyover, eaten at too many delicious restaurants (and food trucks!) to count, enjoyed live music and theater, photographed a field of sunflowers, and rooted for our local sports teams.
But there are some things we've missed, too - things that have been on our someday list for way too long. So I perused my brain and my out-of-date Life List and started making a DC/VA/MD Bucket List - a list of things that it would be embarrassing to leave the area without doing (can you believe as a lifelong Virginian I've never been to Williamsburg or Jamestown???) and some places I went to long ago, but are worth revisiting (I have happy childhood memories of kayaking the Shenandoah River with my Dad and of visiting Chincoteague and Assateague Islands):
DC/VA/MD Bucket List
+ Climb Old Rag
+ Go sailing at the Eastern Shore
+ Visit Smith Island
+ Visit Tangier Island
+ Return to Chincoteague/Assateague
+ Have more summer winery days with friends
+ Restaurants: Komi, Restaurant Eve, Two Amy's Pizza
+ Go kayaking with Larry
+ Visit Williamsburg
+ Visit Jamestown
+ Hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain and visit Sugarloaf winery afterwards
+ Explore Charlottesville
+ Visit Dinosaur Land
So here's to the next chapter (whenever that may be) and to taking advantage of the DC area while we're here! There are still plenty of old favorites to revisit and new places to explore...