Northern Neck, VA: Our Annual Adventure

“Come sit with me in summer chairs,Behind us, the old hotel chatters with echoes. Shadows fall on the lawn as dark as pitch, deep as the evergreen sea. We speak of our heart’s desires, make lists: A sunny courtyard with pots of rosemary and a caramel colored cat; one more ripe tomato; one more conversation with our mother; walking in shoes that speak Italian; kisses that reach our toes; a world at peace. Mist blurs blue balsams on the horizon, comes to settle on our knees. We wear old sweaters and wait in summer chairs for rainbows, for one more golden chance.” -Artist Diane Hanna

Husband and I were married several years ago in the little town of Irvington, Virginia on the peninsula known as the Northern Neck, and each June we return to coastal Virginia to reminisce about that epic party. Map in hand, we explore various towns and waterways that lead to the Chesapeake Bay, drink Virginia wine, sit outside and dream of an eventual summer home, paddleboard on Carter's Creek, eat oysters, make plans. I love how that wedding weekend has evolved into our own little family tradition, one that's open-ended enough to be a bit different every year.

Are there trips you take with family every summer? Maybe it began with a horse race or a soccer game or a surprisingly good meal. Where do you go and how did the tradition begin? What do you value most about these annual adventures?

If You Go: Hope and Glory Inn ( The Dog and Oyster Vineyard ( The Tides Inn ( Nate's Trick Dog Cafe (

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