Monday, October 31, 2011

Hello Monday

Not only is it's also Halloween.  So today I'm saying hello to trick or treaters and scary monsters.

I'm also saying hello to pretty sunsets and foggy mornings.

Saying hello to scary houses!

Saying hello to pumpkins that make me laugh.

And lets not forget the things that go bump in the night...or day.  Maybe it was more like a crash.  Then a clean up. 

Best of all I'm saying hello to a new week and new adventures that wait!  What about you....what are you waking up and saying hello to?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hello weekend

Well I have my plans for the weekend....what about you? 

If you live in Lynchburg maybe you can try this.  A candlelight tour of the Old City Cematary. 

If you live in the Chesapeake region and want to try your hand at a corn maze you can go to Bergey's Breadbasket. Or Liberty Mills Farm.

Our trip to a corn maze.

 In Richmond we are already thinking of Christmas.  The Richmond Christmas Classic is taking place at the Richmond Raceway Complex.  And if you haven't picked out a pumpkin yet you can still go to the Chesterfield Berry Farm.  This weekend is the Trick or Treat Festival.

Emma picking her pumpkin.

And what October would be complete without an Oktoberfest?  Mountain Lake Hotel in southwest Virginia, will be hosting an Oktoberfest this weekend.  This hotel was featured in Dirty Dancing....check it out.  Don't forget your stein and listen to the Oompah band!

Wine more your thing?  You can do some tasting at Hartwood winery.  The are having a festival from 11 a.m -5p.m. on the 29th.   You can also enjoy the Peak Foliage Open House at Peaks of Otter winery from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.  You can also visit the 2nd annual Chesapeak Wine Festival in the Chesapeak park on Sunday Oct 29 from 1 pm to 6 pm. 

Peaks of Otter wine

Are you in the mood for live music?  How about a visit to Berrets Tap house in Williamsburg.   Hat Trick is on the schedule to perform.  You can also check out the line up at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax VA.  Jim Marshall is sceduled for the 28th. 

If you are up for a run you can join us in Hopewell at the City Point 5K.  We'll be the ones out of breath laying on the ground dying :)

Hope you have a fun weekend planned.  I would love to hear what you're doing...leave me a comment and let me know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What an Unhappy Hour

In a tiny stone building, on Main Street in Richmond, you can hear the words of Edgar Allen Poe....words from works such as The Raven, The Tell-Tail Heart, The Murders in the Rue Morgue.  Performers and recordings seem give life to this man at the The Poe Museum.

Tonight if you can be there between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm you can take in some live music, performances and maybe even rub elbows with a ghost or two.  It is the Unhappy Hour after all.  I've been on a couple of occasions and it was delightful.  Does that speak anything of my character?  Hmm.

Make sure to wear something warm as this is usually held in the courtyard of the museum....and do bring the kiddies!  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Adventure Day 2

Day 2

Yesterday I shared the details of our Great October Adventure day 1....and as promised have some of the details from day 2 today. 

As I blogged here Day 1 was packed with fun stuff and plenty to keep us busy.  We ended the day at the park and found our way to our hotel for the second night.  We stayed at the Days Inn in Roanoke.  As we pulled in we knew it could turn into an interesting night.  There was a motorcycle "club" filling the parking lot.  I could see from the corner of my eye Mark was already cussing me...But how was I to know that The Pagans would be staying at the same hotel as us for the night!?!?  It turned out that it was no different from any other night at any other hotel.  It was an ok place to stay (easy on off I-81 and close to the city) but it wasn't as clean as I would have liked. 

Christy claiming her bed.

The good news is that between dinner and a quick (accidental trip to the airport) we weren't at the hotel that long.  The trip to the airport was thanks to Garmin :) 

Early Sunday morning we excused ourselves from the Pagans and hit the road for the second leg of our park tour.  

Blueridge mountains

See they DO love each other.

This portion of the parkway (milepost 100 -->south) has more tunnels and wide open spaces with less mountain overlooks.  It was still just as pretty and just as many things to do. 

Picnic area

More time to play in leaves

Gramps chasing Tommy

At milepost 176 we stopped and visited Mabry Mill.  I think my dad and mom liked this stop the most.  It is an old sawmill, blacksmith shop, distillery and there is a visitor center and restaurant here as well. 

Mabry Mill
This was one of the busier spots to stop.  But you can see why.  Very rustic and scenic.  Things for the kids to see and touch.

The flume.

The water wheel

Mabry Mill

Family picture time.

This was the last stop for us in the park.  Just a little down the parkway from here we got off in Meadows of Dan and got onto Rt. 58.  This took us back east and we were heading home.   We didn't stop this time but there are a few wineries very close to this area. 

On the way home.

The park was so much more than what I remembered from a trip as a child.  Maybe it was being able to get out and do more this time...or maybe just being there with my own kids.  Either way it was a good time and highly recommended place to visit.  I know the autumn leaves made it all the more colorful but I could see us coming in the summer to try out some of the camping!  Mark and I would like to also come and stay at the lodge at Peaks of Otter.  Always looking for an adventure :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Blueridge Parkway

The Blueridge Mountains

This past weekend The Busy Bryants loaded up with the Holts and headed west again.  The 2nd annual Great October Adventure was on.  Last year we visited here.  This year we wanted to continue the rest of the way south down through the mountains and onto The Blueridge Parkway.  We had picked this particular weekend with the hopes that the autumn leaves would be at their peak.  And mother nature did not fail to put on a spectacular show! 

Awesome view of the changing leaves.

The Blueridge Parkway, similar to Shenandoah National Park, is 75 years old.  This parkway travels through part of the Jefferson National Forest and runs through three states (Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee).  Unlike the Shenandoah it does not have a fee to get on or travel down it.  There are a number of ways to get on it and off of it.  There are hiking trails, picnic areas, ranger stations with gift shops and at least two campgrounds.  There is also a lodge at the Peaks of Otter portion of the park.  The parkway is over 400 miles long but we had plans to only travel as far as Meadows of Dan.

A scenic overlook.

We drove up on Friday night so that we could get a early start in the park on Saturday morning.  We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Stauton and were happy with the accommodations.  I made the reservations just a couple weeks ago and I was glad that I had made the reservations.  All the rooms in the area were booked.

Our first night's stay.

We entered the park at the most Northern entrance in Waynesburo close to I-64.  We stopped near the beginning of the park at the first visitor center to get a map and ask a few questions.  They also have an exhibit set up here to tour.  A cabin that was originally in the area of the park when it was being developed.  It made me very thankful for all the things I have at HEAT and a good roof! 

First visitor center.

Original cabin, complete with cracks in the floor and no A/C or heat.

Front porch of cabin.

Very close to this visitor center is one of the first hiking trails.  This trail is to the Humpback Rocks.  The kids, Mark and myself hiked up to these was not easy but well worth the effort. 

Humpback rocks 2 miles ahead

The view  from the base of the mountain.

Me taking Emma up the mountain

Park of the trail

More climbing, yea that is the trail...and it's a good part.

The view along the way

This hike took us up about two miles according to the online map of the park.  I looked at the time when we went up but forgot to look once we got up there.  And I forgot because once we got to the top I was just so in awe of the view.  It was something out of a National Geographic Magazine.  Breathtaking! 

I really can't describe how beautiful this was.  I wanted a family photo up there but we didn't dare take the baby up on the rocks because the footing was not good and really there is NO SAFETY NET once you get out there.  After the climb down and you drive around the mountain you can see the rocks from below.  It was crazy to see how high we had climbed.  Online they said that these rocks were used by the pioneers as landmarks to guide them.  This hike and view alone made the trip worth it for me. 

After all the hiking it was time to eat!  A ranger directed us to a secluded picnic area near the Humpback hiking trail.  There were plenty of tables, a couple bathrooms and grills that could be used for grilling. 

Picnic Area.

Rustic hot water :(

Time to play in the leaves.

We continued down the parkway after lunch and stopped at some of the overlooks and some of the exhibits. 

My strong man. 

Otter Creek

Otter Dam

James River.

Suspension bridge.

Another view of the James River.

I had no idea the James River went through the park but the area around the river was really pretty.  A visitor center, picnic areas, an exhibit on the James River Canal and a suspension bridge that carried you over the river.  There were more hiking trails in this area too. 

Looking back at the picnic area.

It was close to this area that we got off the parkway and found our second stay for the night.  We had plenty more to go but knew it could not all be done in one day....and for now we plenty of visions to fill our dreams. 

I'll finish this journey with a second part.  Day 2 deserves it's own post. 

A couple more random pictures from day 1....

Otter Creek

Gramdpa and Tommy

Bear country...don't make them mad!

Daddy bringing Emma down the trail.