Our Virginia Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 923 miles, and drove for 16 hours and 12 minutes during our week in Virginia while avoiding highways. Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Virginia over the past week.

Famous Person: None

Famous Food: None

Roadside Attraction: Virginia Beach

State Capitol/Museum: Richmond

National Park: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive

Historic Location: Revolutionary War Battlefield in Yorktown

Can't miss attraction: Arlington National Cemetery Jamestown

Made in the USA tour: Norfolk Naval Base

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 188.00


$ 2.29 gal. in Fairfax, VA was the Highest price paid.

$ 1.89 gal. in South Boston, VA Lowest Price Paid

Groceries: $ 97.00

Walmart: $62.00

Earth Fare: $26.00

Aldi’s $ 9.00


We need to spend less at Walmart, and more at places like Aldi’s and Costco in the future in order to save money. This is still an area we need to improve on.

Dining out: $ 90.00

Food for Thought $28.00 (budgeted and disappointing vegetarian meal)

Los Panchos $21.00 (unbudgeted and the disgusting Mexican food)

Twisty Swirl $ 6.00 (unbudgeted and disgusting ice cream)

Chinese Food $ 17.00 (unbudgeted and awful)

Chinese Buffet $ 18.00 (unbudgeted and awful)


We budgeted for eating out once per week and still continue to exceed this amount many times over. We need to take a closer look at this category and develop an effective plan of action.

Entertainment: $ 12.00

Jamestown $10.00 (budgeted admission to park for 2)

Redbox $ 2.00 (budgeted movie date night w/ Rosie)

Comments: We did great in this category!

Lodging: $ 0

Comments: We did great in this category again!

Miscellaneous: $ 12.50

Parking: $10.00 (unbudgeted, Virginia Beach).

Parking: $ 2.50 (unbudgeted, Richmond)

Comments: This was an unavoidable expense as we needed to be close to the boardwalk and the capitol.

Medical Bills: $136.00

Doctors visit: $ 119.00 Medi-center

Prescriptions: $ 17.00 Costco

Comments: We have a high deductible plan and paid for the doctor’s visit for Lori’s knee and the medications out of pocket. The funds used to pay these bills came from our HSA. These expenses are not a part of our daily expenditures so they were kept separate.

Virginia Expenses Grand Total: $ 399.50

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc.)

Is Virginia Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 9

There was a nice mix of different economic sectors, although manufacturing appeared to be nonexistent”

Lori: 8

“I estimate that 1/3 of the state was farming, 1/3 was Commercial and ½ was tourism”

Economy score: 8.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 4

“The cost of customer consumables was equivalent with the high prices of Connecticut”

Lori: 6

“I found the average cost of studio apartments in highly populated areas averaged $1100.00 per month

Cost of living score: 5

Quality of life:

Nate: 5

"I worry about the possibility, terrorism being so close to Washington DC, and the Norfolk Naval Base"

Lori: 7

“It was over 90 degrees for our entire week, and I can only imagine how hot it would be in July & August”

Quality of life score: 6


Nate: 8

“Whether your interests are history, wineries, fine dining our outdoor activities, Virginia had something for everyone”.

Lori: 7

“I noticed restaurants made a point to use locally grown food and many had vegetarian menu options”.

Culture Score: 7.5


Nate: 6

“Many of the towns Commercial, Residential, and Main Street areas were very distantly separated to the point on inconvenience”

Lori: 6

“Their state history and parks are very important to them, and they preserve them well”.

Environment Score 6

The verdict is in:

The final score for Virginia was, 6.6 and Virginia will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0