6/13 Mason Neck Virginia State Park
The morning found us at the Rip Van Winkle Inn in Warrenton, VA. That's where we went the night before to escape the rain that poured down as we left Shenandoah National Park. The morning was sunny and the motel odd. When we checked in the desk person at first said they were all booked, then he changed his mind and went to ask if any rooms were open. He came back and said he had something for us. Then he said, "wait, do you want non-smoking?" Yes. So he went to check again and said he could arrange something. Hmmm. We got a room and wondered what the fuss was, there were only four other cars in the parking area. I think the place is mostly residents who don't drive and they don't get many people coming for short stays. It's not really run down or scary, just not up to date. The "AC" in our room was a floor stand fan.
It kept us dry for the night and in the morning as I packed the car I had a friendly conversation with one of the residents. She was out for a cigarette and asked where I was from. After I explained a bit of what we were up to she got very animated and felt the need to hold my hand while telling me how great what we were doing must be. After I said we planned to go up to D.C. next she corrected me, saying, "You mean DOWN to D.C." with a knowing look. She wished us luck and sent us on our way.
Breakfast was calling from the shiny stainless diner pictured above. The crowd was lively and loud for a Sunday morning and everyone just knew we were from somewhere else. After an excellent if standard diner breakfast we sat in the car for a bit to decide what to do next. We had some hours to kill before we could check in to the place near D.C. A look at the map and we picked Mason Neck Park for a possible short walk, maybe a nap, and lunch. It was a short drive and would put us in easy distance from Alexandria where a room was booked for our D.C. visit.
The little park paid off with lots of shady trees, a nice trail, and a board walk through the wetlands along the Patomac. We took a walk and had a lazy picnic while an extended family had a gathering and barbecue a few tables over. All in all a fine pick to kill some time. We headed north in the afternoon to check in and rest up for a long day of museums and memorials in D.C.