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"Virginia is for Lovers"- A Week in Virginia

Updated: May 1

Virginia is a southern state in the USA and their slogan is 'Virginia is for Lovers'. It is definitely hard not to fall head over heels for Virginia.

In this blog post I will discuss the hotel, Whole foods, Chipotle, the weather, The Daily Kitchen Restaurant, Aldi and Lidl, the Museums, the Bus ticket prices/ Park and Ride program, and my flights.


The Hotel

Let's start with the hotel. Normally I stay at an Airbnb but this time I stayed at a hotel. The hotel was called Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott. This hotel had a few amenities, for example, a pool, a gym, a laundry room, a coffee bar, and complementary breakfast.

My room was very comfortable. It had a mini fridge, a microwave, a king size bed, a TV, and a desk. The bathroom had a shower and a bathtub. It also came with full sized soap, shampoo, and conditioner.

At the reception, if you asked, there were other amenities such as a razor, shaving cream, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and more. They also had free cookies at the reception (ginger, chocolate chip, and M&M's)

Most of the time, the lobby was empty, even during breakfast. This hotel is close to a lot of companies, so I think a lot of the guest are here on business trips and so they don't spend much time at the hotel. I also don't remember seeing any children, so the hotel is quite quiet.

The Coffee bar and Breakfast

The coffee bar was open day and night, but breakfast was from 6am till 10am. They had eggs, bacon, waffles, yoghurt, fruit, muffins, bagels, toast, juice, coffee and tea, oatmeal, etc. All the standard breakfast foods.

The laundry room is on the first floor, at the end of the hall.

the laundry room in the hotel

The machines are coin machines. The washer took $2.25 USD, and the dryer took $2.50USD. I didn't have any coins, so I exchanged my bills at the reception for some quarters.

These machines, collectively, took about an hour.

The pool was small, only about 5 feet deep, but I am only 5'5 so it was perfect for me. It was usually empty, so I almost always had the entire pool to myself when I went swimming. The water was warm and relaxing. The sunlight was shining through the window and so I would stay in the part of the pool where I could feel the sun light on my skin. There is nothing better than the feeling of the warm sunlight on your face.

There were chairs and tables you could relax poolside at, as well as complementary towels. There was also a chair to help those who may have trouble using the pool stairs and/or ladder, get into the pool.

the pool in the hotel

I often spent many hours working outside on the patio. I find working outdoors in the sunlight so motivating since it's such a mood lifting and atmosphere for me. If I get distracted, I find it easier to refocus since I am so happy and thankful to be where I am in that moment. If I work when I'm not in a great mood, I naturally want to be doing something else that will make me happy. So, it is easier for me to get distracted and thus get less work done. Atmosphere is really important.

The best thing in the whole world is sitting in direct sunlight. Feeling the heat of the sun on your face and the quiet breeze blowing past. It brings me so much joy and peace. Canada doesn't offer much of that during the year.

Near the pool was the gym. It had treadmills, an elliptical, weights, a water cooler and more. I didn't use it while traveling, only took a photo, but it was usually empty just like the pool.

the hotel gym

The Staff

The staff here was definitely the best part. They took such amazing care of me. You might already know this, but I have some food allergies and am vegetarian, which can make it hard to find food for me while traveling. But this hotel was so accommodating.

Frau Hannah working in the hotel lobby

The lady who was making the breakfast each morning, Bonnie, would bring me these vegan, gluten free muffins for breakfast. If I was working on my laptop in the lobby during the morning or early afternoon, she would come by and bring me more muffins to make sure I had something I could eat throughout the day.

She would also always chat with me in the mornings. She would ask me how my day was yesterday, where I went, what I did, and so on. She would tell me about her life, her family, her dog. She taught me a lot about the states too. She would recommend places to visit in Virginia. She really was the reason I wasn't as lonely as I could've been during this trip. I always looked forward to our chats in the mornings.

I was chatting with one of my friends about this trip and we got onto the topic of short term connections and the beauty of them. It is not guaranteed that I will see Bonnie again. But the short time that I did know her, has changed me. There is a saying that goes "People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or for a lifetime". Short term connections can perhaps be sad that they aren't longer lasting. We may want to continue the connection, but for whatever reason it may not be possible.

But it's important to remember that everyone has a purpose in our lives and we might not understand what that purpose is until later. Either way, Bonnie is, and will be, an important person for me and I am thankful that I knew her, even if just for a short time. Connections like these, when traveling, are very common. I think the more we experience them, the more it reminds us to move slower and cherish the smaller moments in life that are so fleeting.

She also had the most amazing hair! I didn't take a photo with her, but she is an unforgettable person. If you have the opportunity to meet Bonnie, tell her I said hi!

Bus Prices & Park and Ride

This hotel is not in an ideal location for busing. The closest bus stop is the 19 and is about a 10 minute walk away. There are also very few sidewalks and almost no cross walks at intersections. In my experience, that is really common in the USA.

city bus

That said however, the bus prices are really cheap in Virginia (or maybe Canada is really expensive). The price for bus fare for a single ride is as low as $1.50 USD. In Canada, depending on the city, it is usually $3 CAD or higher.

I think it is also important to note that in Virginia, even with how cheap their bus prices are, the GRTC decided to wave the ticket prices during the pandemic so anyone could ride the buses for free. For more information, click here:

In Virginia, they also have this Park and Ride program, which is similar to, if not the same as, car pooling. You can find one of the stops directly behind this hotel. By using the program, you don't necessarily need to have a car to travel Virginia, possibly saving you money and helping you can travel more eco-friendly.

You can find an interactive map for every stop here:

Whole Foods

whole foods nums

You might not know, but I feel in love with Whole Foods back in March of 2022 when I went to Texas for the first time.

On this trip to Virginia, I visited Whole Foods often. I find the food in the USA very sweet and starchy, especially since I was eating so many muffins in the mornings. As a result, I found myself craving vegetables. I fell in love with the broccolini in the cold bar - cold prepared food such as salad - at Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is quite expensive, but I am, because of my allergies, used to the higher prices. My groceries (lactose free, gluten free, and vegetarian) is always expensive, regardless of where I am in the world.

This building might not look huge, but I look like an ant next to it!

"Everything is bigger in the US."


Frau Hannah chipotle order

There are two cuisines that I could not live without, Mexican food and Asian food. I know that Chipotle is not real Mexican food, but I love it nonetheless. I get Chipotle whenever I travel to the USA, and when I travel in Canada since we do have a few here in the bigger cities.

My order is always the same: Veggie Bowl with lettuce and guacamole. I also order the Chipotle chips since they make a great edible spoon. I recommend giving Chipotle a try if you haven't already.

The Daily Kitchen

Buddah bowl at the Daily Kitchen

We also went a restaurant called The Daily Kitchen. They had a lot of vegan options but also had meat and fish. I ordered a 'Buddah Bowl' and it was heaven! It had quinoa, broccolini, chickpeas, sweet potato, avocado, sweet onion, and beet hummus. I am quite a picky eater, so it was the first time I had beets and I was surprised at how delicious it was!

The daily kitchen in Virginia

The atmosphere was very modern, clean, and fresh. Their mission is all about being allergy friendly, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible when it comes to the foods they make. This means they use local organic sustainable ingredients as much as possible without skyrocketing prices. So not only was the food delicious and allergy conscious, but also eco-friendly, socially responsible and wallet friendly. I recommend it if you visit Virginia.

Aldi & Lidl

I have already talked about a grocery store in this blog post and I'm going to talk about 2 more. One of my favourite things to do when traveling is to visit the local grocery stores. Because of my allergies, I cook a lot more than go to restaurants, and so it is always interesting for me to visit different grocery stores when traveling. I like seeing what is available for me at these stores and what the locals cook.

My visit to Aldi and Lidl in the USA was quite interesting, especially since I have visited Aldi and Lidl in Germany before, so I was extra curious to see how different they would be in the USA.

In the USA Aldi and Lidl are well known for being cheap but good grocery stores to shop at. They look quite similar to the German Aldis and Lidls. As the photos below show, the overall layout of the stores is quite similar to the stores in Germany, except that the stores in the USA are a lot bigger. They also have a few different products.



Fun fact! Did you know that eggs in the US are always stored in the fridge? They are also mainly sold in a 12 pack. But in Germany eggs often are store unrefrigerated near the fruits and vegetables and can be purchased in singles.



Lidl had a shelf full of German Christmas baked goods. So many cakes, chocolates, cookies, and more.

There is definitely more plastic in the USA than in German Aldis and Lidls, but the cashier still sits at the cash and their cash register is still in the counter (not something that is common to see in Canadian grocery stores).

The Science Museum

The science museum

This museum was so much fun! You will have so much fun learning through the interactive exhibits here. You can really let out your inner child.

map of the science museum

The above map explains what this museum has. They also have a digital version you can find here:

The first floor is called 'Speed'. On this floor, they have a few exhibits:

This exhibit lets you experience what the wind feels like in a tornado, hurricane, and a mild storm. The fastest the wind went was 90km/h!

Frau hannah's high speed camera video

This exhibit took tons of photos in 1.2 seconds and turned them into a 29 second slow motion video of you.

This exhibit was so much fun! I played air hockey against a robot. The AI technology is really outstanding.

This exhibit let you run against certain animals, such as a mouse and a cheetah, or against some athletes. Do you think you're faster than a mouse? What about a cheetah? Usain Bolt?

The basement floor is called 'Boost'. They also have a few fun exhibitions on this floor:

In this exhibit my mother and I learned a dance. They had a few options, but we did a cringey country style dance. It was somewhat embarrassing but also really fun!

This exhibit showed how much energy you were able to produce just by running. It really felt like a human version of a hamster wheel. Enjoy the funny commentary from my mother.

They also had this really fun exhibit where you could compose an entire piece of music with multiple instruments. But I sadly didn't take any photos with that one.

The third floor was called 'The Forge'. On this floor they have an eco and animal lab. They also have daily workshops in these labs that focus on science and STEM.

It only costed us about $15.00 USD, because we came an hour and a half before closing time. So, they gave us a discount since we had less time to explore it. But I don't believe that's common, the person at the reception was just being nice. The parking I believe was free as well.

I recommend visiting this museum. You will definitely have so much fun and learn a lot!

The Art Museum

One of my favourite things to do when traveling is to explore all the art. So, I really enjoyed all this museum had to offer.

This museum was impressively huge! As I went from room to room, there seemed to be no end in sight. If you visit this museum and want to see everything this museum has to offer, you have to take an entire day to really appreciate it all. We didn't know that going in, so we unfortunately did not get to experience it all.

As this map shows, this museum has 3 floors. On the first floor there is the gift shop, library, as well as visitor and member services. On the second floor and third floor is where you find paintings, sculptures, portraits, architecture, pottery, furniture, and so much more from so many cultures and periods in time (modern art from the 20th to 21st century, old art from Egypt such as mummies, pharaoh tombs, as well as African, Asian, Indigenous, and different areas of European art).

These are just a few photos and they do not do the art justice. The art is absolutely amazing. Some of the sculptures and architecture are these gigantic fantastical sights. Some had unbelievable hand painted details. The modern abstract style of art is really my favourite. I love these eclectic style artworks. It is really something you have to see for yourself.

You learn so much about the beauty of all the different cultures through the artwork displayed here. All art, from anywhere and any period in time, has so much it can teach us, whether from a good or terrible time in history. I really love to learn, and teaching of course, so perhaps that's why I love art so much.

The more abstract and modern artwork reminds me a lot of my father's art.

This museum also has a cafe - Best Cafe - on the ground floor and a restaurant - Amuse Restaurant - on the second floor. The Best Cafe is open from 10am till 4:30pm But on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday is it open until 8:30pm. Amuse Restaurant is open from 11:30am till 4:30. But on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday it is open until 8:30pm as well.

On the day of our visit there happened to also be a tango class happening. The people were so smartly dressed and were learning to dance the tango with their partner. There was live music and it was beautiful. It reminded me of when I learned bachata in Austin Texas.

Not too far from this museum is the history museum. You could park your car there, if you drove, and simply walk across the street. Or the opposite, park at the history museum and walk to the art museum. The art museum was free, but I believe the parking was $6 USD.

The History Museum

Have you heard of the song Country Roads by John Denver, or perhaps seen the studio Ghibli movie Whispers of the Heart? Before going on this trip, a friend of mine would always make a joke by singing this song whenever I talked about the trip. The lyrics talk about West Virginia, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Shenandoah River.

I didn't go to West Virginia, but the Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountains are both in Virginia as well. The Shenandoah River (the first photo) is a river that flows through both Virginia and West Virginia (yes, I also find it confusing that they are two different states). Blue Ridge Mountains (second photo) are mountains that surround the state of Virginia.

Why do I mention this? Well, this museum goes in depth into the history of Virginia and both these landmarks play an important role in that. I, normally, am not a fan of the subject of history, but honestly it was quite interesting to learn about.

the theater

We started our museum tour with a 15-20 minute long video about the history of Virginia (the video from the beginning of the post). It was really amazing to see just how much history there is in just one section of America.

the past wars in Virginia

Virginia has quite a dark history regarding slavery and war, which was quite surprising to me. I found those in Virginia, whether they were born there or not, to be so sweet and lovely. The hospitality of the southern states is truly the best!

From there, we walked through the different room and experienced history from 16000BC to current day.


I didn't know just how big these old time carriages were! They are much bigger and longer than I can imagined. It was also interesting to see as I've only seen carriages like theses in TV shows and video games.

They had a section dedicated to the 1950's - the train chair, the kitchen appliances, the beauty tools, the music, the commercials, and so much more. How life was in the 1950's is quite fascinating to see.

covid vaccines on display in a museum

It was an odd experience to see the Covid vaccines. It was a definite reminder that we are living history. In the years to come, people will be reading about the things we experienced.

The artwork at the history museum was so beautiful! They had many landscape paintings of Virginia from way back in the day. I would love to have a painting just like these displayed in my home.

art room

This museum, similar to the science museum, also had some interactive parts. Museums are telling stories through objects being used to represent that story and so they had this section where you could answer this question: "What object would tell your story?".

interactive exhibit

Take a peek at some of the answer previous visitors had written. Some are funny and some a beautifully real. I filled out one and said the object that could tell my story is my travel blog given that it quite literally tells sections of my life.

You do need to purchase tickets here to explore the museum. It costs $10.00USD per person. Parking does cost money too. It was $5.00 for 4 hours and $1.00 USD for every hour after that.

This museum really helps you learn more about the place you are visiting. Whether you are a "history buff" or not, you will really enjoy this museum. Definitely recommend checking it out in Virginia.

You can learn more about this museum as well as Virginia here:

The Flights

Every flight that I took for this trip was delayed between 5 minutes to 8 hours. For the flight to Virginia, I went from Toronto to New York then from New York to Richmond. The first flight was delayed for 2 hours and the heating wasn't working. It looked quite funny, but we stayed bundled up in all our snow gear on the plane trying to keep warm. Because of the delay, we nearly missed our flight in New York, but thankfully this flight was delayed for 5 minutes. It gave us enough time to run and catch it.

Flying back to Toronto, I went from Richmond to Washington DC then from Washington DC to Toronto. The first flight was seriously so short, only about 20 minutes in the air, but we had so much turbulence. I then had about a 5 hour layover in Washington DC, but my flight had over a 3 hour delay! So, I spent 8 hours in Washington DC. However, on that last flight, it was my first time taking business class.

My last flight was on AC - Air Canada. This flight was only about 1 1/2 hours, so a short flight, but business class was definitely a nice change, even if only for a short time. There were quite a few amenities. I had an actual meal instead of just some almonds. Normally, because of my allergies, I can't eat more than just some nuts on a plane, but this time I had a vegan meal, that was also gluten free. I had a glass cup and real cutlery instead of plastic options. I also had a cloth napkin instead of a paper one.

business class vegan meal on Air Canada

I had so much leg room and since I booked a single seat, I had a window seat and an aisle seat.

I promise I am happy. I am just tired from the long delay.

I wonder what business class is like on a longer flight. What kind of amenities do they have? How do they differ from other airlines? Maybe I will take business class on my next flight to Germany.



Virginia was truly a fantastic place to visit. Southern hospitality was lovely as always, the hotel was so cozy and quaint, the museum taught me so much, and the food was delicious! I had not only relaxed but also learned and experienced so much. I really recommend it the next time you're traveling. I cannot wait to go back.

You can find more information on Virginia here:



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