We originally planned to spend 2 nights in Charlottesville, giving us just enough time to visit Monticello and the University of Virginia (UVA) campus. Reservations were made, the itinerary set. Several weeks later, while planning our trip through Georgia and Alabama, Adam told us to check out the area college football schedules and if at all possible attend a game. Well, we just love college football so we took his advice and started checking the schedules of teams we thought would be fun to watch in person. Unfortunately every one of our Saturday destinations near a major college campus came up empty. The team was either on the road or had a bye that week. Very frustrating.
So do we cancel reservations and change our itinerary just to attend a couple of college football games………..for teams with no meaningful connection to us or our family? You bet we do!
The first game we decided to attend was the Navy vs. Colgate game in Annapolis. We were scheduled to leave Annapolis the Thursday prior and could not change our itinerary, but we decided the 90 minute drive from Fredericksburg to Annapolis was easy enough. We got to the game, and as previously blogged, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Next up was Virginia vs. Notre Dame in Charlottesville (Notre Dame being the draw, although we’d love to see a UVA basketball game). Of course again we were scheduled to leave Charlotteville on the Thursday prior, but this time it appeared that we could easily adjust our itinerary to add another day or two to our existing reservation. As it turns out, and as we already knew (deep inside), Notre Dame fans travel in droves to all away games. There was not a hotel, motel, B&B, or VRBO room to be found anywhere near Charlottesville. The best we could do was 30 miles west, Waynesboro.
Not sure why it took me four paragraphs to explain why we spent two nights in Waynesboro, Virginia, but there it is……..we found a nice room at the Best Western Plus
with this view
and we shared the hotel with a full contingent of Fighting Irish fans.
BTW, Waynesboro has great Sushi.
The game itself was so much fun. We had perfect fall type weather and the UVA fans were great, although I can’t get the “UVA…Let’s go Hoos” cheer out of my head!
And what’s up with the “Hoos”. Aren’t they the Virginia Cavaliers? All game long we kept hearing Wahoowa and Wahoo chants (as well as the ever popular UVA….Let’s go Hoos).
Turns out that they actually have an explanation of the Wahoo origin in the football program. In a nutshell, back in the 1890’s the school had a huge in-state baseball rivalry with Washington and Lee University (Robert E. Lee became the college president of Washington University post civil war and upon his death, his name was added). The students at Washington and Lee called the UVA players “a bunch of rowdy Wahoos” and yelled “Wahoowa” at the players during the games. The term caught on with the UVA student body and the rest is history.
The game was extremely exciting as the underdog Hoos were leading by 1 point with only seconds left on the clock. The fans were going crazy as Notre Dame was running out of time, playing with their second string QB, and were clearly out of field goal range. Then, out of nowhere, the second string Redshirt Freshman QB threw a perfect 40 yard TD pass to pull it out 34-27. I would like to say you could hear a pin drop in the stadium but with so many Notre Dame fans present it almost felt like we were in South Bend. Talk about the luck of the Irish!
So the game is now over. Time to return to Waynesboro. Realizing that everyone was leaving the stadium at the same time, and that most were about to make the same one mile walk to the same enormous parking lot (with only one exit) as we were, we fully expected and fully accepted that we were in for a very, very long wait in standstill traffic.
And then the most impressive part of the day unfolded (well, my opinion only). The Virginia State Troopers were my heroes that Saturday. These guys sure know their traffic and crowd control. The Troopers were stationed at every conceivable bottleneck, and by regulating the flow of people into the lot in proportion to the cars leaving the lot, and those already on the street headed to the highway, we were able to get out in mere minutes. It was coordinated better than the Wahoo marching band at halftime. Humm….am I sounding old?
We got back to Waynesboro in plenty of time to find a Buffalo Wild Wings and watch more football.
Sunday, after instant grits for breakfast, we packed up and drove to our next destination, Wilmington, North Carolina.
Wilmington is not exactly on the radar for most people traveling to this part of the country. Just down the coast are more popular destinations such as Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Savannah. Last year we spent time in all three of those locations and really enjoyed Savannah and Charleston (not so much Myrtle Beach), so we were interested in a similar location…….small southern port city, lively historic district, and great southern cooking. Wilmington, located on the Cape Fear River and just a few miles from the Outer Banks, seemed to fit the bill perfectly. A nice place to take a little vacation from our vacation. More on Wilmington in the next post.
Our first order of business was to meet my cousin Amy and her husband Andy for dinner. Last year Amy and Andy graciously housed us for a couple of days at their beautiful home in Durham. Knowing we would be in their state again this trip, Amy and I had been working on a way to squeeze in a visit. As luck would have it, they happened to be at a reunion this past weekend at a beach just south of Wilmington, so they stopped here on their way home and we had a great visit over dinner and dessert.
So we will be hanging out in Wilmington for the next week and a half. It’s kind of nice not having any definitive plans, but I’m sure there is a battlefield around here somewhere!
L’Shana Tovah everyone! Happy New Year.