Showing posts with label Skyline Drive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skyline Drive. Show all posts

Friday, August 30, 2019


One of my college professors once said that the three best perks about being a teacher are June, July, and August.  I'm not sure if that is true...there are so many aspects of my job that are incredibly rewarding...but I have to admit that I do love my summers.  My boss likes tells us to use our summers for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.  The amount of actual "rest and relaxation" I gave myself the past few months is up for debate...but I can definitely check off the rejuvenate box.  And so, with August rapidly coming to a close, Labor Day just around the corner, and the 2019/2020 school year already in full swing...I'm beginning to take stock of just how many ways I've had to rejuvenate mind and body over the past three months.
Enjoying an amazing hike to Black Rock Summit near Skyline Drive in Virginia. -- July 20, 2019

It's a poorly kept secret that I ride my bike as much as I can during the summer months...but there are so many other things that I love to do with my June, July, and August.  I'm not one that is very good at sitting still.  For me...being at rest is not necessarily being at ease.  Conversely...being at ease doesn't always equate to being at rest. So...when I'm not on my bike...what does rest and relaxation look like?  It means a lot traveling with my wife (one of my absolute favorite things to do) and spending time with family and friends.  It includes camping trips, white water rafting, and hiking.  It might take the form of nerdy "8th grade field trips" to historical sites...a trip to Pittsburgh to watch the Pirates play ball at PNC Park...musicals at the Hippodrome in Baltimore...and taking in the beauty of Longwood Gardens.  Basically, all of the things I love to do that DON'T require my bicycle.

David and Robin Raymond at the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina. -- June 14, 2019

A wonderful Father's Day gathering in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  Left to Right:  Jennifer Gull, Jacob Raymond, Jackie Raymond, Dave Raymond (father), Jane Black, Mary Jane Raymond, Galen Black, Sophie Raymond, Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Isaac Raymond, Blythe Arnold-Scott, and Robin Raymond. -- July 16, 2019

Alex, David, and Jackie Raymond exploring (and apparently guarding the gate at) Fort Ligonier. -- June 17, 2019

David and Alex Raymond relaxing around the campfire at Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 19, 2019

Braving the rapids of the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park.  Left to Right:  David Raymond, Jackie Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott, Devin Seiger, and Alex Raymond. -- June 18, 2019

Yes!  My new Chevy Silverado.  And...I purchased it from a former student of mine at Thornton Chevrolet...William Greenfield.  Thanks, bud! -- June 29, 2019

An amazing evening with my gorgeous wife at the Hippodrome in Baltimore, Maryland to see HAMILTON. -- June 29, 2019

Nothing like spending the Fourth of July with family!  Left to Right/Top to Bottom:  Robin Raymond, Alex Raymond, Mary Jane Raymond, Galen Black, and my dad, Dave Raymond. -- July 4, 2019

Hiking excursion with Robin through and around Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park. -- July 5, 2019

Hiking behind Cucumber falls with Emma Sadowski, Alex, and Robin. -- July 5, 2019

Hiking to Jonathan Run Falls in Ohiopyle State Park with Robin, Alex, and Emma Sadowski. -- July 6, 2019

Touring Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater with Robin, Emma Sadowski, and Alex. -- July 7, 2019

Out to dinner in Carlisle, PA with some of my compadres from NMS.  Left to Right:  Charlie Lenhart, Kirby Brubaker, Jeff Plummer, Russ Blake, Eric Gimbi, and David Raymond. -- July 10, 2019

My nerdy self toured the homes of four U.S. Presidents with my wonderful wife, Robin.  Left to Right/Top to Bottom:  Woodrow Wilson's Birthplace (July 22, 2019), Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (July 21, 2019), James Madison's Montpelier (July 20, 2019), and James Monroe's Highland (July 21, 2019)

Hiking to Black Rock Summit in the Shenandoah National Park with Robin. -- July 20, 2019

Touring Luray Caverns with Robin. -- July 22, 2019

A day at Delgrosso's Park in Tipton, PA.  Left to Right:  Julien Linne, Blythe Arnold-Scott, Jackie Raymond, Shalice Gull, Mia Arnold-Scott, Robin Raymond, Isaac Raymond, David Raymond, Sophie Raymond, Mary Jane Raymond, Dave Raymond, and Jacob Raymond. -- July 25, 2019

Hanging out with Jackie and Shalice at Delgrosso's! -- July 25, 2019

Hiking through Round Top and Devil's Den at the Gettysburg National Military Park with Shalice, Isaac, Sophie, and Jackie. -- July 26, 2019

Exploring the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. with Jackie, Shalice, Alex, Sophie, Isaac, and Robin. -- July 27, 2019

Hiking at Rocky Ridge County Park with Robin, Isaac, Sophie, Shalice, and Jackie. -- July 28, 2019

Jackie, Shalice and I visiting my Aunt Deb Morosky to work on the family tree. 

Touring Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA with Jackie, Shalice and Mia. -- August 8, 2019

Eric Gimbi and Dave Raymond...two nerdy history teachers checking out the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA.  -- August 8, 2019

Enjoying the beauty of Longwood Gardens, near Kennet Square, PA, with Kevin, Mia, and Robin. -- August 10, 2019

Longwood Gardens with Robin. -- August 10, 2019

Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Mike Graham and Alex. -- August 14, 2019

Tailgating outside of PNC Park before the Pirates/Cubs game.  Alex, Sophie, Robin, and David Raymond. -- August 17, 2019

Enjoying the Pirates/Cubs game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Alex, Sophie, Robin, and David Raymond -- August 17, 2019

I'm not sure how much traditional "rest" I got this summer...but I sure was energized and rejuvenated by spending as much time as I could with the people I love the most, stimulating my mind with as much nerdiness as possible,  and exposing myself to a ton of  Vitamin N.  It was a great summer...possibly one of the best ever...thanks, in no small part, to all of the amazing people I was able to hang out with and the awesome places I was able to experience when I wasn't on my bike.

In between all of my summer activities and bike rides I worked at Gung Ho Bikes with some of the best and most friendly people that I know!  Left to Right:  Ben Kelly, Joe Hydrick, and Dave Raymond. -- August 15, 2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- August 30, 2019

Enjoying an evening dessert at Vacarro's with my beautiful wife, Robin. -- August 2, 2019

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Here are the GARMIN maps and data from some of the adventures featured in this post.  #OptOutside

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at 


Friday, August 2, 2019


The third week of July has become one of my favorite weeks of the year.  It is the week that Robin and I celebrate our wedding anniversary...and the week that we continue a super cool tradition of surprising  each other with an anniversary trip.  This year, it was Robin's turn to plan the trip...and what a wonderful, lovely, (and nerdy) trip it was.  Robin put together an adventure that took us to central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  Our four day celebration included good food, tours of the homes of four U.S. presidents, one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever taken, and an excursion through the awe-inspiring Luray Caverns.

David and Robin Raymond at the entrance to James Madison's Montpelier. -- July 20, 2019

We arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia just in time for the 100+ degree heat that was blanketing the East Coast last month.  Fortunately, the extreme heat didn't prevent us from doing anything that we had planned.  The first stop on our journey was the home of James Madison, Montpelier.  Robin and I had been here once this time we took a tour that focused on Madison's most significant contribution to our nation...his role in drafting the U.S. Constitution.  The tour was excellent, but the most moving part of our day at Montpelier was our time at The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibit which is on display in the basement of the mansion.  Focusing on the lives of the enslaved people who lived at Montpelier, the exhibit was extremely moving and impactful in it's simplicity.

About to take the Constitution Tour at James Madison's Montpelier. -- July 20, 2019

Standing behind James Madison's desk in his study.  It is very possible that the backbone of the U.S. Constitution...the Virginia Plan...was devised at this very desk! -- July 20, 2019

Touring The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibition and learning more the realities of the enslaved population at Montpelier. -- July 20, 2019

Having a lively discussion with POTUS #4...James Madison! -- July 20, 2019

Leaving Montpelier, Robin and I headed for a evening drive in Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive.  For three hours, we drove from look out to look out to see the breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley.  By 8 o'clock, we decided to find a place along Skyline Drive to hike and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We chose a spot, which is part of the Appalachian Trail, that led us to a place known as Black Rock Summit.  The two mile hike to the summit turned out to me so much more than we expected.  We reached the opening in the summit just as the sun was setting...illuminating the sky and the surrounding landscape into one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen.

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley seen from Skyline Drive. -- July 20, 2019

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley seen from Skyline Drive. -- July 20, 2019

Hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail to get to Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

Hiking to Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

Reaching Black Rock Summit as the sun is setting. -- July 20, 2019

Watching the sun set over the Shenandoah Valley from Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

David Raymond at Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

Robin and David Raymond at Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

The nerdiness didn't stop on the second day as Robin and I visited the homes of James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson.  I was eager to get back to James Monroe's, Highland.  Robin and I were here in 2012 to tour the home...only to find out in 2016 that the farm house that was presented as James Monroe's home wasn't actually his house.  Since that time, an archaeological dig has been instigated on the site revealing the remains of James Monroe's true home.  Three miles away, Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, never ceases to disappoint.  Because we have both been to Monticello, Robin and I wanted to tour the home from another point of we participated in the Sally Hemings Tour which presented the home from the perspective of Sally Hemings and the others who were enslaved at Monticello.  After the tour, as Robin and I were walking around Monticello, we began to hear thunder in the distance.  The winds from the approaching storm cooled the summer heat and made for a very memorable hike down the mountain and back to the visitor center. 

Getting especially nerdy with President James Monroe. -- July 21, 2019

Standing near the newly excavated foundation of President James Monroe's home. -- July 21, 2019

The flower were in full bloom at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. -- July 21, 2019

David and Robin Raymond at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. -- July 21, 2019

I was especially proud of this pic that I took of Thomas Jefferson's home reflecting in the pool near his house. -- July 21, 2019

A summer time storm rolling our way.  This pic was taken near Mulberry Row and Thomas Jefferson's gardens. -- July 21, 2019

That evening, Robin and I arrived at Steeles Tavern Manor near Staunton, Virginia.
Since we've been together, Robin and I have been to many Bed and Breakfasts...but this one, I think, is my favorite.  Our hosts, Dana and Trey were amazing, and the house was absolutely beautiful.  Robin couldn't have picked a more perfect place for us to stay on our anniversary night.  After breakfast at Steeles Tavern Manor, Robin and I headed out for the last day of our anniversary trip.  We decided to tour the birthplace of president Woodrow Wilson in Staunton, Virginia and then a captivating tour of Luray Caverns.   

Steeles Tavern Manor Bed and Breakfast in Steeles Tavern, VA. -- July 21, 2019

Happy anniversary to David and Robin. -- July 21, 2019

My beautiful wife and I headed out for our anniversary dinner. -- July 21, 2019

Touring Woodrow Wilson's birthplace in Staunton, VA. -- July 22, 2019

Saw this super cool "velocipede" at Woodrow Wilson's birthplace. -- July 22, 2019

David and Robin Raymond touring Luray Caverns. -- July 22, 2019

The ceiling of Luray Caverns being reflected in a pool of water directly below.  Super cool! -- July 22, 2019

The Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns, VA -- July 22, 2019

I love traveling with my wife...we do it well together...always finding fun and adventure wherever we go.  Thank you, Sweetheart, for planning such a lovely, and equally as nerdy, adventure.  I'm sure that year seven will be just as wonderful!  I love you!

Enjoying an anniversary dessert at the Split Banana in Staunton, VA. -- July 21, 2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- August 2, 2019

Happy 6th Anniversary, Robin....Here's a look back at our adventures over the past year. 

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the hikes featured in this post.  #OptOutside

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at