Hello from Northern Virginia

flowering tree over water

COVID-19 and the New Normal, for Now

Dan and I live in Reston, Virginia, just a few miles away from Washington DC.  Like so many of you, our daily lives have changed considerably over the last few weeks.  We are among the fortunate in that we both have jobs that will allow for working from home.  Dan is now working from home full time, and I am working from home at least 90% of the time.  On the days that I have commuted into the city, I have been amazed by how empty the Metro is.  I’m grateful that people are taking this seriously and staying home, but it is an eerie feeling walking through empty garages and having the train car completely to myself!

The Corona Virus  and Signs of the Apocalypse – Grocery Shopping

Another eerie experience is the grocery store.  I’ve been the one going out the most to pick up supplies.  We were already using Amazon’s Subscribe and Save for paper products, so are well-stocked on toilet paper and paper towels.  I also have been buying the family packs of chicken even though it’s just the two of us at home.  Dan has given me a hard time about this in the past, but I think he now appreciates my use of the freezer in our basement!  While it is disconcerting to see empty shelves, the thing that struck me even more was the lack of connection.  No, I am not in the habit of hugging everyone at the grocery store, but I am one of those people who makes eye contact and smiles at others in the store.  Most people are just trying to get in and out as quickly as possible right now, so I understand why this is not happening.  To their credit, I have noticed that the store employees seem to be trying to keep a cheery atmosphere.  Please be kind to them – they really are on the front lines of this!

Finding Normal While Helping Others

While we have been mostly making our own food at home, we have been ordering takeout from our local restaurants as well.  Normally we like to get out to eat, so we definitely miss being able to do that right now.  Ordering takeout brings a little sense of normal to us, and hopefully helps our favorite places stay in business.

Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC – Next Year

As many of you know, this is Cherry Blossom season in the DC area.  In years past, we would make our way down to the Tidal Basin to enjoy the beautiful trees.  This year, the mayor of DC has shut down all roads heading down there, and Metro has closed stations closest to the area.  Before that happened, we did take a drive through the area to get some photos from the car.

A DC Institution, Literally

DC is also known for all of the Smithsonian museums, which are all closed right now.  However, they offer many online experiences.  Check them out at

What We Wish We Could Be Doing

We live around a lake and are avid paddle boarders.  While this time of year is too cold for us to be out on the water, we are usually starting to anticipate our first paddle.  That is one thing that has not changed!  Our boards are out and ready for us.  We are taking advantage of on-line fitness classes offered by our gym to get us into peak shape for warmer days on the water.  If you haven’t tried this before and live in the area, check out Surf Reston once our social distancing time is over.  Kudos to some of our neighbors who have already been out there this season!


Fortunately, we have enjoyed a few days of good weather, so we have been able to get out on the trails around our home.  This has given us hope that things will get better, as nature is doing all of the beautiful things nature does!  Flowers and trees are blooming.  The earth is turning green again.  Birds are chirping, to the delight of our fierce indoor cat, Gracie.

When All Else Fails

Finally, we want to share with you our immune boosting cocktail, the Berrylicious Immunizer.  It can be made without the gin for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.

  • 1 tsp black elderberry syrup
  • 2 shots gin (we like Hendrick’s)
  • Top with tonic water (we like Fever-Tree)
  • Splash of rosewater
  • Garnish with mint leaves and lime.

COVID19 – What We Can Do Now

We were invited by our friends over at RoarLoud through their article Hello From New Hampshire to share our “Hello From” story during this time.  I think this might have been started by Lexi from OneFootOutThe Door in her article,  Hello From Houston, and picked up by Thirdeyemom in her article, Hello from Minnesota. We love this idea, and enjoy hearing from everyone as we navigate this difficult time together!

We encourage everyone to stay safe and stay hopeful!  We are in this together, and will get through it together.  We hope to see you out in the world soon!

Hi I’m Jen he’s Dan. We are Life Enthusiasts with a thirst for travel, great food, good wine, & a healthy lifestyle.
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  • Cathy says:

    I’m so glad you could share what is going on in your world right now. The cherry blossom shot is so pretty, we need to find the beauty around us more than ever. Stay safe my friends!

  • Faith & Doug says:

    Nice read Jen! Keep up the good work! Stay safe & busy…this too shall pass! ?

  • Lexklein says:

    Thanks for mentioning me and my blog, where I apparently started a thing! Haha. I threw some thoughts out there, Nicole added to the idea, and now here you are! Nice to read about what others are up to these days. We lived in DC in 2016, so seeing that very empty Metro station, as well as the gorgeous cherry blossoms, brought back some memories. Hope the rest of your time at home is safe and productive!

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  • Nicole Melancon says:

    So nice to read your story and hear how things are in Northern Virginia! My sister lives in Yorktown and my in-laws live in Warrenton Virginia so I’ve been following a lot of news for that part of the country. You are lucky to have such beautiful weather now too. Here in Minnesota it has been unseasonably warm and springish which has been nice to get outside. After all the times I’ve been to the DC area, I have never seen the cherry blossoms in bloom. Someday! Thanks again for participating and stay well!

  • Charles McCool says:

    Nice Lake Anne pictures. We love the Van Gogh Bridge. Hope we can get out on the water and SUP sometime.

    • Dan & Jen says:

      Thanks Charles! We feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area. Living in the Lake Anne area of Reston, Virginia makes us feel like we are on vacation every day. I think every day should feel like a travel adventure, especially during these times as the world is dealing with the coronavirus. We are looking forward to getting back out on the lake too! We have extra paddle boards so hopefully all of us can SUP together soon.

  • Love the Hello Series. Its motivating to hear what other bloggers are doing in lockdown and how they are getting through this time. for sure we will try that cocktail, getting thirsty just looking at it!

    • Dan & Jen says:

      Hello Travel Bugs World! I appreciate you visiting our travel blog and saying hello. I love the Hello blog series too, it has helped me connect with other travel bloggers and has made me feel more social during this interesting time. Your Twitter Chat series has been a wonderful experience too!