Category: Travel (Page 1 of 4)

Today at Chautauqua – Children’s Parade and Jim Lehrer

Today at Chautauqua: Children’s parade around Bestor Plaza in the morning, followed by the 10:45AM lecture by Jim Lehrer. The rain held off for the parade, but interrupted the beginning of Jim Lehrer’s talk. Quite a downpour – but people braved the weather to attend the lecture. The rain had stopped by the time the lecture ended (~12:00) and we had to pickup the kids from the Children’s School schoolbus.

This is the first time I’ve heard Jim Lehrer speak outside of the News Hour show; he is an extremely engaging speaker, and a lot of fun. Some of the anecdotes he told about Presidential debates and interviews with candidates were hilarious!

Lots of pix follow:

Camping at Green Ridge State Forest

This past weekend Preston and I had a great time “primitive” camping in the Green Ridge State Forest, about 100 miles west of our house. “Primitive” means no facilities other than a fire ring and a picnic table are provided. WOW! This was idyllic. Most sites are 1/2 mile from nearest neighbor. ~44,000 acres and only 100 camping sites. This is definitely my idea of camping. We drove for about 2 miles on a dirt road to get to our site. You could drive for ~50 if you did a full loop of all the sites. You can see the dirt path (off the dirt road) that leads into our site in one of the pix below.

We stopped first at the Ranger HQ, and the ranger there (and staff) were very nice and helpful. I asked him to recommend good sites for a 5 year old. He crossed off the ones near the C&O canal with steep dropoffs. He asked me what kind of vehicle we were driving. He smiled when I said “minivan” (its NOT mine; and it does hold a lot more gear than my car), and crossed off some more sites. The site he suggested was secluded, and huge! Lots of space for Preston to run in, but also lots of shade to setup the tent. The site was about 0.7mi from a creek, and Preston had a great time catching tadpoles and throwing rocks into the water. Beautiful setting. And the best part? NO CROWDS! No screaming kids, barking dogs, loud music, or neighbors’ banging pots in the morning.

I got up early (before Preston!) and made a pot of coffee and the only sounds I heard were the birds. SO much nicer than the State Parks, which pack everyone in like sardines. They have an atmosphere akin to camping in the parking lot of a daycare center. My only regret is that I didn’t find this place sooner.

One of the last-minute, spur-of-the-moment things I picked up was a butterfly net and bubbles at Target. That was the best $6.00 ever spent! Preston wore himself out chasing bugs all over the site, and in the creek. Preston also decided at the last minute to take some of his blocks and a train set. I said, “Sure! we have room in this van! They also kept him occupied in camp while I did other things (like try to rest in the hammock – until he found me).

We are going back in ~ 3 weeks. So looking forward to that!

Kings Dominion

kingsdominionOn Saturday (June 16), I took the boys (Brandon and Dylan) to Kings Dominion Theme park, in Virginia (about 85 miles south of Washington, DC and about 120 miles from our house). We got off to a late start, and hit major traffic on 95 in northern Virginia; it took us about an hour to travel 10 miles. Thus total time to get there was about 3.5 hours vs. the normal 2.25 it should take. The return trip didn’t have a lot of traffic, so we made it back in a little over 2 hours.

The park itself had a lot of people, but I don’t think it was as packed as it “normally” is. The parking lot was not full, and none of the lines were more than 15 minutes. However, the boys didn’t want to try any of the roller coasters after the Rebel Yell, and we ended up doing the bumper cars. We then spent 1.5 hours at the Tidal Wave pool. They liked that, though I was glad I had brought a book (and managed to find a chaise lounge under an umbrella -they were scarce). The tix I had purchased (package from work) also included dinner, so we had all you (care to) eat hamburgers, hotdogs and soda. I didn’t realize until 10 minutes before the food pavilion was to close that it also included beer. Oh well – I managed to grab a couple.

The park is quite large, and there was no way we could find anything without a map. Finding a map was also a trek, but we got one in one of the gift shops (free). Brandon wanted to navigate, so he used the map to take us (the really, really long way) to the Wave pool. He then decided navigation was not his specialty and gave the map to Dylan. Dylan didn’t even try and handed it to me.

After dinner I convinced both boys to ride the Grizzly roller coaster as well as the Anaconda. We also did the go-karts (I drove with Dylan and Brandon drove his own kart). Brandon got a spray-on tattoo (a purple dragon). I don’t think he plans on bathing for awhile so it won’t wash off. The Eiffel tower clone in the middle of the park was closed, so we didn’t get a chance to go up in it – I imagine that is a great way to get your bearings as you can see the whole park from the top.

I wanted to go on a few of the other rides, but was not up for leaving the boys to themselves while I did so. Oh well – probably a good thing that they didn’t get to see Dad lose his dinner. :)

I had to constantly steer the boys away from the midway games, but relented at the end on the way out. The ride home was uneventful. All in all, I’m not going back any time soon, as a 5+ hour round-trip is not worth it unless you actually ride the coasters! I asked the boys what they liked best and they both said the pool and the free sodas. I guess I can replicate that this summer with the local pool and a six-pack of Sprite.

« Older posts

© 2024 HoodedHawk

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑