"To be, rather than to seem."
Yes, I'm spending quite a bit of time in North Carolina this year as a family wedding in Raleigh-Durham is directing my itinerary for most of the month of May. I headed to Clayton for its proximity, but also to ride the Neuse River Trail. I'd secretly hoped it was going to be another charming little town and while it certainly was in years gone by, the sprawl has killed its personality. When I wasn't riding the Greenway or spending a half-day seeing what used to be, I was in purgatory (yes, I know what my purgatory feels like).
At last, time for the event of the spring season! I'm not only excited about the wedding as I adore my great-nephew Matthew, but it's also the first big social event in years. I'm meeting the bride and her family for the first time, sharing an Airbnb with my sister and niece, and seeing other family members from various states after three or more years. Let me just say that it was grand!
Thankfully, I had the foresight to plan relaxation nearby for a few days. In less than two hours, I returned to the countryside and tent life and that was great planning. In fact, this county campground, in a town called Pleasant Garden, exceeded my expectations with woodsy tent sites, a few ponds and very few people, for a startling $15/night.
It was then onward to the big city of Greensboro -- population 300,000. Called "Gate City" because of its historic railroads, it retains the name as a transportation and manufacturing hub. I was drawn here for its history, its greenspace, and out of sheer curiosity. After a few days, I realized how much it felt like Portland, Oregon when I arrived there more than 30 years ago -- a small city that feels like a small town of neighborhoods, and it's a little funky. There are 5 colleges here to influence the culture, but Greensboro also has a symphony orchestra, a ballet company, theater, museums, and the Grasshoppers. I believe this city is a well-kept secret and the people are unpretentious.
That nearly wraps the month of May and in the early morning I roll to West Virginia for a week.
Alas, I am sort of residence bound! State of residence at least. It's actually been more than a year since my last visit to friends and stuff, and a couple of years since preventive healthcare appointments. Lots of catching up to do.
With the masses now out and about, Easton was a bit shocking. Route 50 and the Easton Parkway (parkway, ha, ha!) felt like summer traffic to me every day, with biking and walking about the county now a very cautious activity. The growth continues.
That aside, I had an opportunity to experience "independent senior living" with an invitation to stay with Lois. While I continue to resist indoor dining, the ready-to-brew coffee every morning was just glorious, as well as the hospitality! What a treat to spend 10 days near the Tred Avon River with a dear friend. Of course, this wasn't my only reunion as five gal pals inked me on the calendar for face-to-face visits. Old home week.
Eight years living in Easton and I've never visited the western shore of the Bay. So, as I hover in the Mid-Atlantic for an upcoming social event, it's certainly a good time to put it on my agenda. The destination is St. Mary's County for its history, affordability, and bikeability. A peninsula surrounded by the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, as well as the Chesapeake Bay, it boasts of a 500-mile shoreline. It's also Maryland's birthplace, with St. Mary's City the state's first capital.
My home base for the week was a room in a villa in Lexington Park, a busy, small town due to the Naval Air Station on the Patuxent River. And, while I was running and biking about most of the time, I still have a list of places to visit in the area. It was a great choice and I hope this small selection of photos do it justice.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover