4 August 2012

Golden Virginia...

Another Day, Another State! Yes, I have been clocking up the mileage when it comes to discovering another new American state. Virginia was no exception, a definite surprise if nothing else. Whilst away taking some time out in Washington, D.C I looked at my tourist map to naively discover that another of the fifty states lay undiscovered just over the Potomac River. Go!

At first I did not have a clue that another state was so close to where I was staying in Washington, D.C. Without further ado I checked out of my Marriott hotel and took the first Metro bound for the Pentagon. I know I have a habit of visiting unusual places, but the Pentagon and the Pentagon Memorial Site were well worth the visit. I wanted to take the chance to visit such a landmark that has experienced such terrible sites from the tragedies that took place on September 11th, 2001. It's forbidden for any photos to be taken in and around the Pentagon so it was really difficult for me to abide by this rule, how can I be the intrepid blog explorer if I can't capture the location? It was a very sobering experience to see another location that was blighted by the attacks around September 11th. Positively, it was nice to see that the memorial that was a peaceful place that remembered served dignity and respect V!

Why did I call this blog 'Golden Virginia?' Yes, my day in Virginia was golden and 'Golden Virginia' was one of my Great-Grandad Tom's preferred choices of tobacco. I'm sure if Tommy A read about this reference to the blog title he would find it amusing, yes I'm very sure. So, I guess this blog is dedicated to my late Great-Grandad Tom! The previous day I was on the Washington Metro going about my presidential ish, sneakily on the map I saw that Ronald Reagan National Airport was actually in Virginia rather than D.C. With such a close connection I checked out of my hotel early on that morning, boarding the metro from Metro Center to Alexandria in less than 35 minutes, I was ready for the main street. What was I going to see? I love those days that aren't planned, there's so much to learn from them! I would be going back to New Jersey that evening on the Bolt Bus, I needed one more day to get Virginia in my life. With the officialness of the Mall I wanted something less formal. Stay golden.

After walking down King St. for a little while I discovered the banks of the Potomac River. In actual fact I was facing three states, standing in Virginia and overlooking the borders of Maryland and District of Columbia. I loved the small town feeling of King St. that set Alexandria apart from the large scale and sterile feel of the Pentagon, considering that it was only a few stops away from this lovely sight. The weather was a complete scorcher by the time I was a the waterfront, it would soon be time for a refreshment break before pushing ahead further. Taking enough time to admire the small-town charm that this lovely place had to offer before making my way to the next phase of my discovery. I didn't want anything over the top, the chilled and uncomplicated vibe of Alexandria made me feel at ease for one. I didn't feel the need to look inside the shops along King St, I need to be mindful of the time. Get it V!

I even saw an ice cream parlour that was called 'Pop's' that pleased me because I call my paternal grandfather Pops! I do now wish I had waited a little bit longer to take this trip as the Nando's restaurant on King St. had not opened yet, but how was I to know such a thing before I decided to even visit this town? Really? I was just comforted by the familiar logo, I don't like that fake chicken brand because my Portuguese chicken from Ferry Street is from an independent and it tastes damn good! I had all I needed from King St, I loved the waters of the Potomac River as those three invisible state lines stared me in the face. I pinch myself, this American adventure humbles me but I must never take any of it for granted! Where would I go to next? I had heard that JFK, John F Kennedy the 35th president of the United States of America was buried in the nearby Arlington Cemertery. I was feeling hungry but with a McDonalds located at the nearby Rosslyn interchange, it was going to be fine! Yes!

As my Virginia adventure unfolded just that little bit further I was hungry for more to see and to do, being ever mindful of the time was something that needed to be considered. My Bolt Bus back to Newark Penn Station would be leaving that evening from Union Station at 6:15pm. I think it's time for a change of scenery then I suppose. Zipping back towards D.C. whilst staying in Arlington County, VA. I decided to take it easy by taking a stroll around the Arlington National Cemetery to wake the dead. It was a first for me as I've never gone out of my way visit a graveyard. I guess that a visit to this side of town would be on the cards from the moment I saw the sign for Arlington County the previous day as I was making my way to Georgetown, I just knew I was meant to be seeing something special this side of the Potomac River. One thing I did see was the gravestone of John F Kennedy, talk about a random celebrity discovery.

I don't think I'll be making a habit of visiting cemeteries in the future because they aren't the happiest of places. Considering I didn't know the Potomac River ever flowed before my presidential weekend, I had my tracks well covered. Getting over the state-line one more before I returned to the UK, I knew that my 'golden' Virginia would pull through. Geography is really a blessing with its borderlines, allowing me to make no mistakes. Washington, D.C. was wonderful but Arlington County, VA allowed me to take things down a notch. The final day of that weekend away from Jersey had me schooled and centred. I was ready for the madness of the airport, I had work some more hours and build up my Industrial Placement work assignment together. Grateful for the metro system, that compact and crafty transportation link had me back to Union Station for the drama of all coach boardings. Where's next? I'm feeling a hop over the City of New York will suffice! Kosher coverage, baby! 

Golden Virginia!

Joseph Harrison

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