Friday, May 6, 2016

Cascade Falls

Very recently The Busy Bryants were able to sneak off for an overnight adventure that involved two of our favorite things, hiking and waterfalls.  This excursion had us heading South on I81 to the Blacksburg Area.  We drove down on Friday after work and then after a night's rest in Christiansburg at The Quality Inn we were up and ready to go.  Our destination was another 30 or so minutes from the hotel. 

I've been scoping out Cascade Falls for some time now so I was beyond excited.  Located in Pembroke Virginia, The Jefferson National Forest is host to Cascade Falls.  The Cascades Day Use Area is for day use only (hello it's in the title), does have a $3 fee and gets really busy as the day goes on.  We got to the parking area before 10 in the morning and there were only 10-15 other cars.  By the time we left the lot was full and people were parking in the grass and along the road. 

The trail to the actual waterfall is 2 miles in and then 2 miles back.  You can either do it as a circuit or in and out the same way.  There was some climbing involved on stone stairs and over logs but nothing that a 6 year old couldn't handle.  We would rate it as easy/moderate. 




Both Mark and I agreed that this was one of our favorite hikes.  On other trails that involve streams and waterfalls there is usually either a barrier or distance that keeps you away from the stream.  I understand that is for safety.  But sometimes you just want to take a break from hiking and sit by the stream and enjoy the gift of Mother Nature.  This trail really lets you feel like you could do that.  There were a lot of places you could simply go sit by the stream and hang out for a little while.  You felt like you could get up close and personal while still being safe.  There was not an area that we didn't find beautiful and awe inspiring.  
Some info that you may find helpful...bring exact change for the parking, dogs are allowed on the trail, the bathrooms are only at the parking area and there are picnic tables/grills at the bottom of the trail near the parking.  You can't camp here at the Day Use Area but there are plenty of other areas close by that do accommodate camping. 
Happy adventuring!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Listen up guys...and girls.  This weekend is Mother's Day!  Don't get caught without a little something for the person that has probably kissed away more of your boo-boos and wiped more of your snot and tears than anyone else in your life. I personally am ok with dropping a hint or twenty to let my family know what I would like!

Lets start from the beginning.  Sunday morning.  Don't make mom get up and fix breakfast!  Throw something in the crockpot for her the night before so that breakfast is DONE.  Don't know anything about what to throw in there?  Seriously?  Check out Pinterest or just Google some recipes.  If you are too late to do that then fix some toast.  Really she is just going to be happy to not have to fix it herself. 

I always say you can't go wrong with fresh flowers, a flower she can plant, gift cards for a massage or manicure, an hour alone to soak in the tub, dinner at her favorite restaurant (bonus points if you cook her dinner and clean the dishes), figure out what books she's been wanting to read and give her a couple of hours to read on it....That one would win me over every time! 

This year I'm spending part of the day with my mom visiting Burnside Farms, in Haymarket Virginia.  Nether of us have ever been so looking forward to exploring this new place and picking some flowers.

Burnside Farms
Since we will be in the area maybe we can visit a local winery.  You knew that was coming.  The Winery at La Grange looks like it's close. 
As far as gifts go...well I can't say what I'm getting my mom.  She might be reading!
What I'm asking for is another story!  Kids....honey....if you are reading you know you can't go wrong with...
Converse in Parasailing Green

A Fitbit French Bull Flex Band

A Weehoo...ok this is really not so much for me but for Emma....but it's so I can easily take her with me. 

Pretty much anything in the eucalyptus and spearmint family from Bath and Body
The Sweary Colouring Book

I'm also good with the idea that anyone other than me fix breakfast, lunch or dinner!  So yeah if you guys can work on that for me I would appreciate it :-)

Hope all of the Mothers, Moms, Mommas, Mommies and anything in between have a great Mother's Day.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Hungry Mother State Park

About a month ago we checked off another state park from the old "to-do" list....Hungry Mother State Park.  Located in Marion Virginia (think Southwest part of the State) right off of I-81.  It has hiking, camping, cabins, a lake, a restaurant and the cutest visitor center ever. 

Since we visited the park at the tail end of February we opted for a cabin.  This park has both newer cabins and older cabins.  Some have open porches while others have open decks.  All come with the standard linens, pots/pans, and bundle of firewood that you get with the State Parks.  There is a 6 bedroom lodge on site as well if you have a big family or just need your space :-)

There are tent camping sites and RV sites in the park.  The stream above is right along the tent camping sites which can be reserved in advance on the park's reservation website.  I'm already scoping them out for the warm season! 

Can you see the snow flakes in the picture?  Yes it snowed while we were visiting!  And there was fog!  That made it hard to see the mountains in the distance but if you squint just right....well I can see them.


Also unique to the park is their restaurant.  It isn't open in the winter. The restaurant sits right next to the lake so you have a nice view of the water with the hills reflection. 

Well hello there.

Molly's Knob

Lets talk hiking....this park was the BOMB.  Mark bought us each a shirt at the visitor center with Molly's Knob on it.  I told him we had to hike up to Molly's Knob if we wanted to wear the shirts without question.  Despite the chilly weather and the snow on the ground we made it to the top and back in just a couple hours.  There were some pretty neat findings along the way too. 

Icicles coming off a log

Molly's Knob in the back ground

More brown icicles

At the top!

This was the first longish hike we went on that Emma did without us having to carry her.  She was a trooper.

Coming back down you have a great view of the park's beach

The view from the top...too pretty to not post it again.

I showed you a picture of the beach at the park....that beach in the summer is for swimming, renting canoes or paddle boats, it has a bathhouse and a floating dock out in the water with a diving board.  When we come back to camp I want to bring our kayaks. 

I've heard a couple stories about where the park gets it's name.  Warming...if you don't like sad stories just stop reading here...otherwise....There is a legend of a settler named Molly that was taken, along with her small child, by Indians.  Eventually they escaped from the Indians and wandered the wilderness with little to nothing to eat.  Eventually Molly became to weak to go on and the child wandered down the creek.  The child was found and lead others back to where Molly had been left...but it was too late. Molly had died.  See I told you it was sad.  I've read that in books, on web sites and in forums.  There is apparently a version of the story in Pennsylvania as well.  I don't recall if it's ever been confirmed.  I suppose that is why it's a legend. 
I'm not one to end on a sad note but this momma has some plans to make. 
Hope you have a great week.  Happy adventures.