1YoT: To the Atlantic!

We left off in Chicago, and next we continued east, to the Atlantic. States are much smaller on this side of the country, so we traveled through a bunch of them (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia) and made lots of stops on our way. This is the blog post about it!

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First up after leaving Chicago: tolls. Seriously, we must’ve paid a toll per hour during this portion of our trip (we hadn’t hit a single toll up to this point). Lame rust belt, lame.

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This is Indiana. Boooring.

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And this is Ohio. By this point, we’d left the main road (I-90) because we were sick of the tolls. Plus, this route (Google Maps’s avoid toll roads route) was much more interesting and only a couple minutes longer.

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We wanted to reach Cleveland around 4pm, two hours before the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame closed. We arrived at 4:30. Then we discovered it was 5:30, not 4:30 (we didn’t realize we crossed a time-zone on our drive). This meant no time for the Hall of Fame, which was frustrating and even though it was our fault, it still left a sour taste in our mouth, especially when combined with all the stupid tolls we paid along the way. 

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We ended up driving through Cleveland, not stopping until we reached Erie, Pennsylvania, where we camped at Presque Isle State Park. We arrived in time to witness this sunset; it was gorgeous.

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Here is Erie from Presque Isle State Park. Presque Isle was a beautiful place and we wish we could’ve spent more time here, but we wanted to make it to Shenandoah today and we had lots of stops to make, so we drove through this park and then went on our way.

While planning our roadtrip, we didn’t think much of Pittsburgh. Then a friend visited and he loved it and encouraged us to visit. Unfortunately we arrived too early for lunch and we had other plans on today’s itinerary, so like Presque Isle, we just drove through here. But even the drive was beautiful; this is definitely a city we would like to come back to.

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For our first stop of the day, we visited Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest masterpiece, considered by many to be the greatest architectural achievement in the US. Designed as a vacation home for a wealthy department store owner, this work employs several of Wright’s design philosophies in a unique and bold design that come together with amazing harmony.

More views of Fallingwater. Some of the design philosophies developed by Frank Lloyd Wright and featured in this design include: harmony with nature, integration with the environment, horizontal (not vertical) lines, social spaces, open spaces. This work is a striking piece.

From beautiful to somber, an hour from Fallingwater is the site of the Flight 93 crash, memorial, and museum. It was a heavy but worthwhile visit.

After the Flight 93 memorial we thought about going to Gettysburg, but it was too far. So instead we visited nearby Bedford, where we got our first taste of revolutionary, pre-revolutionary, and founding-father history. There will be a lot more the next few weeks of our trip.

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From Bedford we drove south, through the thinnest portion of Maryland (~2 miles, no pictures) and into West Virginia. 

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We wanted to reach Shenandoah tonight, but looking at what time it was, where we were, and how much we still wanted to do along the way (we’re in Civil War territory now, so there’s a lot in the area), we decided to pull over for the night. We ended up at this campsite, where we were the only campers on literally acres of land. At night, when the fog rolled it, it felt like a horror movie. We loved it, one of our favorite campsites on our trip.

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West Virginia (and Virginia after it) was filled with signs like these, noting historical points before, during, and after the Civil War. They were fascinating and we tried to stop at as many as we could.

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We also drove by… a castle? This is Berkeley Castle, built in the 1880s as a personal retreat. Currently, it is privately owned and rented out for special occasions.

At this point we entered Virginia, where we first stopped in Winchester, a quaint small town with a wonderful historic district. The town has no relation to the house we visited earlier on our trip.

After Winchester, we finally reached Shenandoah, more specifically Shenandoah National Park. To be honest, this park was pretty disappointing. It basically consists of one 100-mile long mountain road lined with views like this. Problem was, every view was the same; there was nothing to see and there weren’t even descriptions so we could know what we were looking at. After about 30 miles we were sick of it, so we left.

In my opinion, Shenandoah should be a National Scenic Byway through a National Forest, it should not be a National Park. That being said, I can only imagine how beautiful it is when the trees change color in the fall.

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Since we didn’t drive the whole length of Shenandoah National Park, we got to visit the civil war battlegrounds that parallel the route. Unfortunately, they were pretty lackluster; there wasn’t much to see or do.

Also in this area are President Jefferson’s and President Monroe’s private residences. Jefferson’s in particular (Monticello) is supposed to be amazing, one of the greatest architectural work in the US. But at $25 a pop and after coming from the greatest architectural work in the US, we decided to pass. Come on Virginia, you’re letting us down!

Up next we reached Richmond, a city Inna and I knew almost nothing about (we only visited because we have a friend there). Even so, and while Virginia had been disappointing up to this point, the rest of the state was anything but. So head on over to our next post and check it out!

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