Monday, November 23, 2009

Virginia - Day Three and going home :(

Day one is here and here. Day Two is here and here.

Sunday came so quickly! Next time we will have to plan a longer weekend! We woke to a beautiful morning, the original forecast was for rain!

Barbara cooked up a great breakfast, and Joel headed off to work for a few hours.
The kids played for a bit, and then we headed to a little park so the kids could enjoy some fresh air, and the ever energetic Tristan could burn off some energy!
Tara and Katrina LOVE climbing in trees! Mint Valley Springs is a great little park, the Barredo's enjoy it in the summer with the small lake and "beach"!

We headed back home for some lunch, and a little later went into Charlottesville so the kids could ice skate. That didn't work out, the rink was closing 20 min after we arrived! We wondered around the shopping area that is closed to traffic.
I loved the old buildings... lots of windows to photograph!

Time was flying by, and sadly it was time for us to get back to the Barredo's and on our way home. The full trip is about 5 1/2 hours and I didn't want to be getting home at 3am!
One last photo!

We were on our way a bit before 6pm, made a stop for gas, a stop to grab something at Wendy's and a "bio break" at the Maryland House, arriving home at 11:30, after 330 miles of driving. Tara watched Star Trek, Alf and Fox and the Hound 2 on the trip!

Hopefully it will not be 2 1/2 years until we see our friends again. I would love to make the trip again, the girls had so much fun being together again. The Barredo's are thinking about visiting our neck of the woods too, so they can see Philadelphia. If we can't arrange something before, there is always Hershey Park/Lancaster area this summer!!!!

Virginia Trip - Day Two/Part Two

Day one is here and here.  Day Two Part One is here.
When I last left off, we were boarding the shuttle bus to ride up the "mountain" to Monticello. Monticello is "Little Mountain" in Italian.  The estate sits atop an 850 ft high mountain with an amazing view of the valley below.  If you are not familiar with Monticello, it has been minted on the US nickel since 1938 (with the exception of 2004-2005).
This is the side of Monticello that is best known, but not actually the front entrance.

The girls holding up nickels... Excuse the shadow... not sure how I missed that!  Oops!

I forget what this is called... it's a globe type thing that I am certain was used for measuring something astronomy related. (Thanks to Joannie - it's an Astrolabe).....  Among many other things, Jefferson was an astronomer.

The gardens

The view really is magnificent from the top of the hill.  Jefferson knew what he was doing when he picked this for his home!

Mulberry Row - named for the mulberry trees planted there, this was the center of domestic activity for the estate.

Reflections - this fish pond was used to keep the fresh fish that were caught until it was time to use them for a meal.

Montalto (High Mount) -this is the only land which overlooks Monticello.  It is 400 feet highter in elevation.  In 2004 the property was purchased by the Jefferson Foundation to keep the property from being developed.  I was battling the sun...

We wandered a bit more around the beautiful grounds. Even at the time of year when the leaves are just about gone from the trees, it is a stunningly beautiful place.

On the way down the mountain, the bus stopped for us to see the cemetery in which Jefferson is buried. We had to stay on the bus, so this is the best shot I could get!

We took a drive through Charlottesville, saw the Univ of VA, it is a beautiful old, historical campus. The UVA Hospital is massive, Barbara is an RN there.
We saw this statue on the way out of town, it is Lewis and Clark. (I have to admit, I did take this one from the car.. but we were stopped at a traffic light!)

The kids decided that they were ready to go home, and agreed that eating in was the thing to do. Barbara and Joel cooked and grilled us a fabulous dinner of ribs! The kids had a good time playing and hanging out. They roasted marshmallows over the fire pit and played outside until it got to chilly. The favorite indoor activity of the weekend, "sledding" down the basement steps. Too funny. I have a video I need to upload!

Barbara and I chatted about the old neighborhood, and what we've been up to since the last time we saw each other. By 10pm, we were all tired and headed to bed!

It was a wonderful day!

Virginia Trip - Day Two/Part One

As I said in the previous post, we were on the road at 8am to make the last leg of our trip to Crozet.  It was a beautiful morning for a drive.  I totally enjoyed the entire trip, the scenery was beautiful. I didn't really take photos on the drive down.. .I would have loved to spend the whole day stopping and exploring all the old farms, vineyards, etc.

Shortly after 10 we arrived at the Barredo's.  It was so good to see our friends after 2 1/2 years.  I can't speak for them, but it felt almost like no time has passed.  Their home is beautiful (I forgot to take a picture of that too!)
Before too long we headed out for lunch at a brand new little Italian restaurant.  We had great pizza and pasta.
This is Tristan - not the greatest photos since he was in front of the big window!  That's a Play Doh turkey leg he created (or was it an ice cream cone?)

The goof balls... these two girls can act so goofy sometimes!  I told them to act like they liked each other at least a little!

After a great lunch, we headed to Monticello.  I had forgotten that it was in the general area when we planned the trip.  I was grateful to the Barredo's for agreeing to take a ride over there!  I had been to Monticello before, over 20 years ago, but I didn't remember much!
Thomas Jefferson was a pretty amazing man.  Some day I will have to do a post on him.  There was no indoor photography in Monticello.  My shutter finger was in spasm the entire time!  All of the artifacts were awesome, but some of the most beautiful pictures to me were those that looked OUT the amazing windows.
The visitors center at Monticello is brand new, and beautiful.  They have a movie which we did not watch, and an awesome gift shop. 

From here you can take a shuttle bus or walk up the hill to the house.  We choose to take the bus.  There is an admission (no sure what our wonderful hosts paid this for us), and you are given a time to enter the house for the guided tour.  We had a few minutes to wonder before Barbara, the girls and I went on the tour.  It's not the best place for an energetic 5 yr old, so Joel and Tristan stayed outside!

Since this is getting long, I will share photos of Monticello itself in the next post!

Virginia - Day One/Part Two

For Part One... go here.
After Tara and I arrived at the Hampton Inn, I called my former boss/friend Jeanne who lives nearby.  She stopped by and picked us up after an appointment and we hit Wal-Mart with her, and then headed to her home/farm.  Jeanne has a menagerie of 4 dogs, 5 cats, 3 horses, 2 donkeys, and 40ish goats!  It was very dark (I'm not used to be that far out of "civilization" where there are no street lights) and dinner time for all the critters!
First Jeanne feed the goats - the girls are very cute, the boys are very sticky and surrounded us while we walked through the field.
These are some of the girls -(my bad, I didn't get a picture of Jeanne... that's her in the background of this photo!)

The donkey's Angel and Gabriel

Lex - he's a really big boy, but a sweetie!


Tara helped Jeanne groom Tootsie, and we both feed them treats. I didn't get a picture of Jeanne's other horse Sharif or her mom's two horses.
After we were done at the barn, we headed to IHOP and had breakfast for dinner.  Then I nestled myself in the MOST comfortable bed I have ever slept in, and slept for almost 9 HOURS.

We were on the road a little after 8am for the last 90 miles of our trip to Crozet.
This is the Hampton Inn.  I totally recommend them if you haven't stayed in one.  In addition to the "heaven on earth" beds, they have free Wi-Fi, and a great free breakfast every morning!

The drive down Rt 29 toward Crozet was beautiful.  Mostly rural, farm land.  I saw so many amazing abandoned or old barns, I would have loved to photograph... but we never would have made it to our destination!
I forgot to add a map to my Part one post... so here is the trip we made on Friday.
200 miles, just under 4 hours.  We hit lots of traffic as usual on Rt 66, and took a little detour to my town house in Centreville.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Road trip to VA - Day One/Part One

Tara and I made the 200 mile trip from our home to Warrenton, VA on Friday.  The road trip was fun.  I really do like to drive.  I know the drive well, I had lived in Northern VA for 5 years, and made the drive up 95 often.  We made great time until we hit RT 66 on 2:15pm, rush hour starts early in NO VA!
This is for Iggy!

I liked this logo.... we were stopped in traffic.

After we "survived" the tunnel.  Tara does not like tunnels!

My "townhouse" in Little Rocky Run, Centreville (The brown one)

In the Hampton Inn. I found out later that this was the MOST comfortable bed I have ever slept in.

Okay - the visit to Fallen Fence Farm will have to wait until later, we need to get on the road to Crozet!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Academy of Natural Sciences

We made a visit to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia today, and met up with two local bloggers to celebrate a birthday.  Today was "PN's" 7th birthday, and Stacy from Random Thoughts along with her husband brought PN to the see the dinosaur bones!  PN wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up, and knows and can pronounce dinosaur names better then me!!!  Blogging Mama Andrea and her two cuties joined in the fun as well!  I totally goofed and didn't get any group shots! 

Tara and I arrived downtown a bit early, thinking we would wander around a bit, but Tara was just not interested.  We did walk over to the Scwann Fountain and I took a few pictures.  It was a beautiful day, after many days of rain, as well as me not feeling well.  It felt good to be outside!

They have a great butterfly exhibit.  You can see a collage of some other butterfly pics here.

After we were all done, we headed out to a park bench where PN opened her gifts.  She was a very happy little girl I think.  We all then headed off in our own directions toward home.

Tara and I stopped at Pudge's and got the cheese steaks we have both been craving for a few weeks!  It was great, except they forgot one of our sandwiches, and I had to drive back over to pick it up!  One of these days I will stop being so trusting and check my order before I leave a restaurant!