Tag Archives: hiking

Home from the Stead

The Homestead that is.

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We started yesterday with a guided tour along rushing waterfalls and a lush forest. 

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Isn’t he handsome??? 😉

The naturalist that was our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about nature. 

He taught us that very rare orchids can grow in this area of Virginia because the water is a constant 60 degrees all year round.  They only bloom every few years and keep their bloom for 3-7 days.  Look-y at what we saw!

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We learned about Stitch Plants.  See how the leaves seem stitched together?

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We also saw a snake!

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Not only was our guide knowledgeable, but he was also very entertaining!

 

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After our hike, I went to the spa. 🙂

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It was the most luxurious spa experience I have ever had.  I showered, sat in the steam room, and lounged around for almost an hour before my facial even began.  I left feeling lighter and more relaxed than I have felt in a very long time.

After the spa, Larry and I went to the indoor pool and swam briefly before we discovered the sun deck.  We decided to lounge  in the sun for about 40 minutes before heading back to our room to get ready for dinner.

Dinner, like all things Homestead, was a grand affair.

We had cocktails in the empire room.

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And at dinner, I sat down right next to this lovely lady.The boss’s wife also happens to be Leeane Morgan, the southern comedian who has appeared on Dr. Phil and Paula Dean.  She was definitely a southern belle and reminded me very much of Sandra Bullock’s character in The Blind Side.  She called everyone “dah-lin” and “sweethearrrrt.”  Doesn’t get more southern than that!  I loved her!

I’m so happy to see Larry recognized for his hard work!  He definitely deserves it and so much more 🙂

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~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Camping Extravaganza

Hello!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 🙂

I survived my first camping trip since 1996, and I.had.a.BLAST!  The drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains in itself was spectacular. 

I mean just look at this!

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Once we arrived at the campground, we were pleasantly surprised to see that this was the view from our cabin.  The soothing sound of rushing water immediately gave you a sense of calm. 

We unpacked the truck and began preparations for our night out in the wild. 

**HINT**  It is always a very good idea to bring an Eagle Scout with you when you go camping in the woods!   

For dinner, we ate Hobo Packs.  A hobo pack is simply marinated meat and/or veggies wrapped in foil and cooked over an open flame.  I had hobo-ed asparagus, squash, and broccoli.  I also had a grilled Lightlife Italian SausageAll of you experienced vegetarians and vegans out there, what do you eat when you go camping???

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The highlight of dinner came after the dinner plates were scrubbed clean and the last logs were added to the fire. 

Yep!  S’more time! 

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Here is my perfectly burnt to a crisp vegetarian marshmallow s’more!  Just the way I like it! 

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After eating three of these delectable babies, it was time to hit they hay! 

Remember Glo Worms from the 80s???

 

😉

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Nice and cozy!

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Today we woke up and went for a 3.4 mile hike through the George Washington National Forest.

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3.4 miles may not sound like a whole lot, but when you are hiking those miles UP a rather large mountain, you definitely get out of breath!  It gives a new meaning to “buns of steel.”

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The scenery was amazing.  It really doesn’t feel like a workout when you are surrounded by such beauty.

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Larry and I are already making plans for our next trip!  It is such an easy, cheap, and exciting way to get away for the weekend!

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The dogs have been zonked out ever since they got in the car for the trip home.

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I am about to join them.  I know I will sleep like a baby tonight! 🙂

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Sunday in the Shade

This weekend was truly wonderful.  The weather was beautiful, and we were able to spend time with amazing friends.

Yesterday, Larry and I went with a couple of friends to a local winery for Sunday in the Shade.

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There was a tasting and a one man band.

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The sun was shining,

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and plans were made for a camping trip next weekend (what!?! Disappointed)!

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We were very sad when we had to go.

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But after we left the vineyard, Larry and I became official members of a local community pool! 

I have lived here for almost five years, and anytime I have wanted to read by a pool, or swim laps, I’ve had to drive an hour and a half to my parents’ house.  This year we decided to use a portion of our tax refund to become pool members, and I can not wait for summer fun in the sun (with loads of sunscreen, of course!) 😉

Did I mention that we are going camping next weekend???  I have not been camping since I was a freshman in high school back in da 90s!  Needless to say, this city girl is a bit nervous!  The hiking and s’more making sounds wonderful, but what about the creatures that go bump in the night?!?!?!  How do we keep them away????

 A black bear scans the water while hunting for fish.

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Do you go camping?  Any advice for a camping neophyte??? 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Hiking for a Happy Heart and Mind

I just had the most glorious day with a great friend, beautiful weather, and the most perfect scenery.

Gen and I headed out to Belle Isle and James River Park for a hike through nature.  We couldn’t have picked a better day.  The sky was clear blue, there was a light breeze, and the temperature was just right for a little tramping through the woods.   

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We started off at Tredegar Iron Works where they were celebrating Civil War and Emancipation Day.  We were only scared entirely out of our wits when they shot off a canon about 200 yards away from my car! 

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We then walked across the suspension bridge to Belle Isle and walked almost completely around the island until we found a ladder that took us to a dry pass on rocks across the river.  This time we actually found a path across!  Our feet got only slightly damp as we got a great core workout jumping and balancing our way across the James.

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The trails were beautiful!  They were luscious and green and filled with newly awakened spring wildlife. 

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We walked for a couple of hours as we talked about work, weddings, and just about everything!!!  Walking in such beautiful weather with such good company makes you forget that you are actually getting in a great workout!

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It is also good for the soul. 😉

After almost 3 hours of hiking, we decided to honor the rumbly in our tumblies and get a little lunch.  We decided to eat at the Boathouse at Rocketts Landing.  If you live in the Richmond area and you have not tried this restaurant yet, you must! 

Not only was our view phenomenal, (Yes!  This was our actual view.  Check out the glass ledge that was our table!) 

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but the food was fantastic!!!

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I got the Vegan Pizza and it was absolutely face rocking! 

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I almost ate an entire half of this baby by myself!!! 

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I can not wait to do this again!!!  Hiking and being with a friend is truly great for the heart and soul.  It was wonderful to take a timeout from our hectic daily schedule to spend the day with Mother Nature.  My mind was calm, my heart was happy, and I couldn’t stop smiling! 

The good news is that anyone can hike!  Just strap on some sneakers and hit the trails!  Here is a great site to find hiking trails in your area!  Click here

Now, Larry is on his way home from work and we are planning on relaxing together for the rest of the evening.  We are going to grill some chicken and veggies for dinner, eat on the back patio, and watch movies on our newly discovered Netflix Instant Streaming through Wii for the rest of the night!!!  Tomorrow we are signing up at a community pool for the summer, and then going to a local winery to do a tasting and listen to live music.

Life is Good, my friends, life is good! 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Martin’s Review

I can’t help but sing the theme song from the sitcom “Martin” every time I think of the store! 

You remember??? Note “Marrrrr-tiiiin.”Note

Ha!   What a blast from the past!

Yesterday after work and a small celebratory happy hour for a friend who just found out she gets to keep her teaching job nest year (YAY!), I headed to the new Martin’s grocery store for some much needed groceries. 

For those of you not from the Richmond area, here’s the back story on this.  Ukrop’s was a family owned chain of grocery stores popular to this area that were recently bought by the Giant-Carlisle Division.  Gradually, the old Ukrop’s stores have been closed and converted to the new Martin’s.

I was never a regular Ukrop’s shopper.  The prices were more expensive than other stores, and I’m on a house buying budget.  I tended to only go there in emergencies, or for their fantastically fresh salad bar.  I also had them make my wedding cake, which was phenomenal!

But after hearing several people proclaim that Martin’s was much cheaper, I thought I’d give it a shot!  The store is much closer to my house and it is right next to Target, which I frequent regularly for cleaning products, household goods, and other bounties of cuteness.  It could be the start of a wonderful relationship!  😉

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the store was the bright green employees!  They were swarming everywhere and you could not miss them!  They were this color:

 

Very convenient for finding help 🙂

I also noticed that it was pretty much the same as Ukrop’s.  They had the same salad bar and cafe; the same deli, and sushi bar; and the same bakery.  The only differences I really saw were that the prices were lower, they flip flopped the fish and meat department, added a wall in the produce department, and they added a beer and wine section.  Unlike Ukrop’s, they will be open on Sundays and sell beer and wine….  Oh, and they sell cigarettes behind the customer service desk (yuck!).  It had a fresh coat of paint and new signs, but all in all, pretty much the same.

It is always hard to shop a new grocery store when you are unfamiliar with the aisles and where everything is, so I’m sure I forgot a few items.  But I will definitely go back to Martin’s the next time I need groceries and give it another shot!  Hey!  I might go on a Sunday and buy some wine!

Today, my friend Gen is driving into town and we are going to go for a hike!  I love hiking,  but I don’t get to do it very often.  I’m not very familiar with hiking trails in this area.  We are going to pick a Walking Trail from this website and head out to enjoy the beautiful spring weather! 

Have a wonderful Saturday!!!! 

Do you have a favorite place to hike??? 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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