My new favorite place

So, I’m home after 54 days on the road. No, not a full 54 days of driving, but sometimes it did feel that way.

My fourteen-year-old daughter and I drove approximately 7500 miles from our home in the Pacific Northwest to Washington DC and back. Actually, we went as far east as Ocean City, MD. Any farther east and we’d have fallen into the Atlantic Ocean.

We visited my father’s family in Nebraska, a good friend in Wisconsin, in-laws in Ontario, Canada. We soaked in the history of Gettysburg, took pictures in front of the monuments in D.C., and visited Jamestown, America’s birthplace.

Even though I loved the history, could have spent a month in these areas reveling in the past, my favorite places were western Virginia and West Virginia. I didn’t have long enough there. We simply drove through, only spending one night in this gorgeous locale, but I know I must, someday, go back.

We took back roads, avoiding the highways, using the America’s Byways maps. (I highly recommend this Web site: We had to have driven through some of the most beautiful places in the world right there.
I’m from Alaska, and I live in British Columbia. I have always maintained that the Pacific Northwest was God’s country. I’ve added the Virginias to my idea of perfection.

We drove over the Shenandoah Mountain Pass,

into the Shenandoah Valley teeming with Civil War historical sites, then went a bit farther south to the very tip of the Blue Ridge Parkway(see the picture above), and then took the Midland Trail to Charleston, WV.

We visited Amish stores and restaurants—Oh, the food was delicious!

There is a peacefulness to this area, which to me seems odd knowing the battles raged through here a couple of hundred years ago. I sat atop the Shenandoah Mountain Pass, looking out on thickly wooded hills—I am from Alaska and do have a hard time calling these mountains!—and stood in awe of the beauty, the silence, the color. My camera did not do it justice. There is a green I cannot even begin to describe.

I’ve never seen it before, yet we were surrounded by it. A brilliance. A calming influence on my entire being. And best of all, the air was crisp and cool and sweet after we’d just been dying of heat and humidity and polution on the overpopulated coast.

I am home now from this once-in-a-lifetime roadtrip, I hope my daughter has a lot of happy memories of the time we spent together, and I’ve got a new goal to work toward—a trip just to the Virginias to explore the mountains and valleys…and restaurants. *wink*

Anna Leigh Keaton


5 responses to “My new favorite place

  1. I had the great pleasure of taking a road trip once with my late father. Over the years, it returns to me and always makes me smile. Rest assured the same will happen to your daughter at unexpected moments—perhaps because of something a friend says or because of something she sees or smells. Trust me, Anna Leigh, when I say this trip will remain in her heart forever. You will find it is one of the best and wisest things you’ve ever done. 🙂

  2. Great pics, Anna, thanks for sharing. I think Raymond is right that your daughter will probably remember this trip for many years to come.


  3. Sounds like the two of you had a ball! A time together for both of you to keep and treasure the rest of your life. And Thanks for sharing it with us.


  4. What a wonderful trip! I live in the Shenandoah Valley and it is a beautiful piece or real estate! Come back anytime.

  5. Sounds like so much fun, Anna! I’m jealous! 🙂


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