Friday, August 29, 2014

The Back-To-School Seasonal Tree

Here at our house it's that time of year again...the air is starting to chill just ever so slightly, the leaves have a started to yellow and bus engines are cranking for the first time since summer...BACK to SCHOOL.  I am a self proclaimed dork....I admit it.  I love this time of year!  I love the start of school.  New pencils.  New pens.  New notebooks.  New free time because kids are into their activities.  And a newly decorated seasonal tree to celebrate.

Every kid in my neighborhood probably thinks I have lost my mind!  But we like to have a little fun with the back to school theme.

Mini lunch boxes from Michael's, Crayon ornaments, school bus ornaments, #1 teacher ornaments, flash cards with a hook through them and glass balls in the primary colors make up the decorations on the tree.  The flags I ordered off of Amazon a couple years back.  The pencil vase I made using a tin can and pack of pencils. 

Tuesday the kids officially start back.  This will be an exciting year since I will have a Sophomore and SENIOR! 

This Labor Day weekend we have a few plans in the works.  Hope you have a safe and happy holiday folks. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Biking at New River State Park

I told you last week about our camping experience at New River Trail State Park.  If you missed it you can read about it here.  But since the park is so vast I thought our biking experience should have it's own post.  Foster Falls is almost right in the middle of the 57 mile long park.  So we actually took a couple days to spread out the biking.  We in no way covered all of the park, in fact not even close.  So I can only show you a few miles of what the park offers.

Our first day we headed North to Lone Ash.  Along the way we saw a deserted house, caves, a cemetery, cabins and plenty of scenic river front.


In Lone Ash there is a vault bathroom and picnic area.

After day one we turned around and headed back to camp.  It wasn't until day two we realized by back break was rubbing which resulted in the baby feeling like a lead weight the entire trip!  Day two was MUCH smoother!

Day two we went North...and interesting fact: The New River is one of the very few rivers that runs North, not South.  This time we went as far North as Ivanhoe.  We again passed bathrooms and picnic areas. 

Heading over the New River at Ivanhoe

While out on this trip we passed through one of the old train tunnels on the trail.  While in there it started raining buckets!  But we figured we lucked out since we were dry inside the tunnel.  The ride back was a messy one! 

Going North on the trail from Foster Falls you pass behind Shot Tower State Park.  You can dismount and check out the park and it's gorgeous views.

See what I mean about messy!

View from Shot Tower State Park

It was a great experience and I would go back in a heartbeat. I know that there is so much more of the park to see and explore.

Monday, August 25, 2014


This past weekend Mr. Busy Bryant and myself visited Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County Virginia.  Wintergreen was playing host to the Super Spartan race and we were crazy enough to sign up!  Apparently though there were over 7,000 other crazy people so I don't feel so deranged.  Mark and I went with a team and staying in one of the most amazing places ever.  The view alone from the patio was worth going.

Our team mates are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met.  I can't say we did much running at the race.  It seemed like all we did was go straight up mountains and then straight down them...but we did laugh together...A LOT.  And I'm pretty sure we all cussed together the next morning as our sore muscles screamed for help!

Today we are back home...starting the work week, planning birthday parties, working on back-to-school projects and yes still nursing the screaming muscles.  Hope you had a great weekend my friends!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Covered Bridges in Virginia

What is it about a covered bridge that we find so charming? The VDOT website listed 6 covered bridges in Virginia and until we set off on vacation a couple weeks ago I had never seen the first one.  I had them on my list of "Go see" but they were never near anything we were going to visit.  Now I can say I've visited two.  If you want to see the list of briges check out the VDOT website. 

Bob White Bridge and Jack's Creek Bridge, both right off of Route 8 in Patrick County, are the two bridges we visited.

Bob White Bridge

Jacob's Creek Covered Bridge

Jacob's Creek

Glad they were covered bridges because it rained the entire visit to both of them!  Jack's Creek bridge can actually be seen from Route 8 but there are plenty of signs to let you know where to go.  And Bob White Bridge is just a couple miles (if that) further north right off of 8.  Again plenty of signs to mark the way.  Both bridges are near Fairy Stone State Park.  We have not visited that park yet so maybe when we do we can make another visit to these treasures...and hope it's NOT raining.

Still working on the post about New River Trail State Park's actual trail....lots of great pictures to share.  This weekend we are headed off to Nelson County to Run a Spartan Race...Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Camping at New River Trail State Park

A portion of our most recent vacation was spent camping in and biking around New River Trail State Park. The trail, in Southwestern Virginia, is 57 miles worth or old railroad trails converted into hiking/biking/horse back riding trails.  39 miles worth of it parallel the New River.  Going through four counties, two train tunnels, over three major bridges, a multitude of smaller tresses and along the river itself you are never short of exciting things to witness.

The park itself has 4 campgrounds.  One in Galax, two in Foster Falls and one closer to the town of Fries.  There are no cabins in this park and no RV sites.  They are ALL primitive.  That means NO SHOWERS...make sure you understand that.  Two of have drinking water but NO

We camped in the Millrace Campground which was one of the campgrounds in Forster Falls.

The town of Foster Falls was established around the iron industry, more specifically, Foster Falls Mining Company.  Their operation, which started in the late 1800s, created pig iron that was shipped North on the rail road that is now the feature of the New River Trail State Park.  A passenger depot and hotel were later added.  Today the old furnace, train depot and hotel still remain.  The hotel has gone through various owners and has been used as a school and children's home.  Today it is owned by the State Park and efforts are being made to restore the Inn.     

What remains of the manufacturing furnace

The train depot

The Hotel

The campground is a very quick walk from the Depot, which is now a visitor center and gift shop.  We arrived late but found our camping information, along with parking passes and maps, in the mailbox at the contact station.  This particular park was unique from the other State Parks we have stayed at in a couple ways.  1.  You park in a parking lot near camp and carry in your equipment.  Wagons were supplied to assist in this and the walk from the parking lot to our site was about 2/10 of a mile.  Some are further and some closer...The park website is spot on with the layout of the campground.  2.  Being primitive you do NOT have showers or sinks to wash your hands.  I read that the sites were primitive but in my head it just meant you don't have electricity or water.  I assumed like other Va State Parks there was a bathhouse.  But there is not.  There is a two room building (men/women) with toilets that empty into large basically a glorified outhouse.  And really that is ok...heat some water (there is a pump for drinking water) and wash off or jump in the river.  But keep in mind if you are a "need a shower" kind of person or if you need a sink to wash your hands that there are NONE.  I would take a solar shower next time. 

There is a camp store very close to the camp so you can get ice, wood, essentials during operating hours.     

Contact station


Wagons for use by campers

The view of the river from site #10

The view from site #6

Site #6

More of the river right next to our camp

I could have sat here all day and enjoyed this view

The park has a horse livery, historical buildings, a nature center, amphitheater, bike/canoe/tube rentals.  Along with the trail itself and the river you have plenty of things to keep you busy.  And if that isn't enough there is a winery 2 miles away.  I will post more about the actual trail in a separate post...too much for one.  But hit me up if you have questions about camping here.  I'll do my best to answer what I can.