Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekend Fun

I say this all the time, but I’m going to say it again. We live in a great place for get-out-and-do-something people. I am of course focused on family-friendly and kid activities because of the season of my life, but there is something for everyone around here.

Yesterday we took the boys to the Herndon Festival, which is in Old Town Herndon, about an eight minute drive from our house. The festival is four days of live music on several stages, tons of art and crafts for sale, other stuff for sale, a carnival, kids’ hands-on crafts, and a lot of chicken-on-sticks type of food. It also seemed like a good occasion for people to be walking around with stainless steel mugs of cold beer at 10am. The boys did some art, won a gigantic inflatable bat for hitting a target with a baseball, got some balloons; we ate some pizza, sampled a bunch of delicious dips, and saw a band play. We weren’t there very long, but it was a nice way to spend a beautiful morning—if we wanted to be festival-hoppers, we could probably find a local festival every weekend through the fall, since there are so many around here. Herndon Festival goes on today, for any interested locals.

Fern (Ellie Ward) and Wilbur
the adorable pig (Chris Hahn)
photo by Larry McClemons
After the festival, I got to take in a children’s play at a community theater: Charlotte’s Web! It has been a long time since I’ve seen a play put on by children, and it was delightful. Encore Stage is a community children’s theater in Arlington at a community center. The kids involved come from schools all over the area, and most of them have been involved in numerous plays through Encore. The costumes were adorable, the kids were clearly having fun, and a couple of the actors where very talented. The fan favorite was Templeton the rat, played by Thomas Schindler, a fifth grader. He stole the cheese.

The theater prides itself on being a theater by kids, for kids, and from what I saw that was true. Kids made up a big part of the audience. The show continues today and next weekend. If your children can’t sit and be fairly quiet for an hour and a half though, they are not old enough to enjoy it. I was glad I did not bring the boys. Seeing this would be great for any young children, especially if they're interested in acting.

We’re not only close to all that DC and big suburbs have to offer, we’re not far from more rural experiences like berry-picking and cave-exploring. We recently enjoyed a day picking strawberries and visiting nearby caves. Hartland Orchards is a farm we’ve gone to for apple-picking since I moved here (almost 10 years ago!), and also for pumpkins. This year we picked strawberries there. Cal loved it. He squealed and yelled, “Stop guys! Look what I found!” before every berry he picked. He also verbally sorted them out: “That one’s not quite red yet,” or “that one’s actually smushy.” Clark was not so entertained, and spent more time making “space shuttle smoke” which is a fancy way of saying he kicked dust around and irritated me. Strawberries are still at Hartland, and blueberries are supposed to be ready to pick in a week or so. 

After strawberries and some shortcake, we drove toward Shenandoah and toured Skyline Caverns. I’m not a big small-dark-spaces person, but I don’t want to pass on my fears to my kids, so when Brian suggested it, I gulped and agreed. Clark wanted nothing to do with it and had to be consoled for about the first half of the tour. He warmed up to it near the end. Calvin was curious and eventually started leading the small group into the tunnels. Skyline Caverns is closer and cheaper than driving to Luray Caverns. Apparently Luray is more impressive (all I remember from when I was there is trying to not let Brian, whom I had just started dating, know that I was afraid) than Skyline, but I thought it was incredible. It’s a fun tour and it’s only about an hour’s drive from the Chantilly/Centerville area.

Anyway, those are some recent excursions we’ve been on. If you’re local, consider taking in the festival today, Charlotte’s Web today or next weekend, doing some berry-picking, or caving. Let me know if you do! I love to hear that people are finding out about fun things to do because of my write-ups.   

Decorating butterfly fans at Herndon Festival

"Everyone stop! Look what I found!"

"See how many strawberries I picked!"

Kicking up shuttle smoke 

checking out

Ambivalent Clark, Happy Farmer Cal


Looking at a stream in the caverns

Touchin' stuff

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