We will be leaving on Tuesday, November 25th, spending a night at the Embassy Suites in Herndon, Virginia, right near Dulles Airport, and then renting a car and driving to Rockbridge County. I had some trouble picking our lodging for the Rockbridge part of our trip. For many years, my family stayed at the Natural Bridge Hotel. My uncle used to run it and we got insanely cheap rates. In the years that he ran the hotel, it was in fairly decent shape, even if it was also a bit dated. In the years after he left, the hotel sort of fell into disrepair.
The last time I stayed at the Natural Bridge Hotel was in July 2007, when my 100 year old grandmother died. I booked a room there because it was pet friendly. Bill was deployed to Iraq at the time and I didn’t have the time or money to arrange to board the dogs. I ended up having a fairly miserable stay, mainly because the hotel was sort of in disrepair and the family dynamics were kind of weird. Anyway, after an uncomfortable night, I ended up leaving early in the morning on the day after Granny’s funeral and vowed that would be my last stay there. Although now that it looks like the hotel is in better hands, I might reconsider. The Natural Bridge is about to be turned into a state park anyway.
Since the Natural Bridge Hotel is pretty much the only game in town in the Natural Bridge area, besides a really disgusting motel and a campground, I looked at getting a room in Lexington. But Lexington’s offerings kind of suck, too. I mean, there are plenty of two star motels and there’s a Hampton Inn, which is a bit overpriced. They just reopened the Robert E. Lee Hotel, which is right in downtown Lexington, but that was going for about $200 a night.
Ultimately, I decided to book us at The Hummingbird Inn in Goshen. The Hummingbird Inn has the distinction of being the very first place Bill and I stayed as husband and wife. Bill’s mom paid for us to have two nights there post nuptials. At the time, the Inn was run by a British couple… or maybe they were half British. I know the wife was from England and she was an excellent cook. A few months after our stay, they sold the inn to the people who own it now. As our anniversary is also in November, it seems kind of fitting that we’d stay there for Thanksgiving. It’s not as close to the festivities as Lexington is, but at least it will provide us a good way to stay away from the drama.
The Hummingbird Inn is a beautiful old house next to train tracks. It is liable to get noisy. But it’s also right next to a rambling creek. Goshen is kind of a special place for Bill and me, anyway. We went there during Labor Day weekend in 2001, the week before 9/11. At the time, I was in grad school and Bill had just started a job at the Pentagon. It was kind of our second in person date… remember, we met online. Our first in person date was in Columbia, South Carolina, which is where I was in school and Bill was doing TDY.
Goshen Pass is a really beautiful gorge and I had fond memories of visiting there as a child. I suggested to Bill that we visit and go swimming. We proceeded to have an amazing day enjoying a very natural swimming hole with insanely gorgeous scenery. We had no idea that the world would change the following week. We had no clue that Bill would actually be in the Pentagon on 9/11 and see up close and personal what terrorism looks like.
So since we’re celebrating 12 years in November, and we got married in Lexington and honeymooned in Goshen, it seems right to go to Goshen for Thanksgiving, even though it’s not so close to Granny’s house. I think we will be pleased with our choice… and at least we’ll get a good breakfast out of the deal. I hope we have decent weather so I can take some photos. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and Google Goshen Pass. It’s a very pretty place.
Meanwhile, we may also go somewhere in Europe to actually celebrate our anniversary, too…