Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn in Virginia

It’s autumn! Last week we went on some autumnal (it makes me happy that that’s a word) outings. We went to Great Country Farms, where we had never been, but had heard great things about. It’s quite a family destination. There are a lot of farm-y and not farm-y things to do there. There are pig races. That’s right. That’s what I said. They race pigs.

The long tube slides were the boys’ favorite part, which is odd because they’re deathly afraid of tube slides at playgrounds. There are inventive obstacle courses and plenty of colorful educational signs about how honey is made and the life cycle of corn, etc. Their apple dumplings were superb. Their cow barrel ride was cute, their pumpkin patch was plentiful and their corn maze was fun. (Though the corn maze at The Plains, Virginia has been, in my experience, a better, more interactive maze.) There was a two-man band singing and playing some bluegrass tunes outside the cafe area. We got some good pumpkins thanks to a wagon ride and spent a few hours there at the farm, by the charming old towns of Bluemont and Purcellville, Virginia. Definitely a nice Sunday drive through the autumn colors of rural Virginia. This is a great destination for kids of all ages. Plan to spend a few solid hours there to get the most of the trip. There are tables for picnics as well as a café and refreshment stand.

Later in the week we went with Aunt Bean to Shenandoah National Park. We picnicked and went on two short hikes. I’m not sure if the experts had pronounced the trees at their peak colors, but they were brilliant as we wound up the mountains and looked down at the Shenandoah Valley and the meandering South Fork of the Shenandoah River. Drives through the Virginia countryside always make me happy to live in Virginia. These towns that were established in the 1700s and that boast old stone churches with white, weathered steeples peaking up over the red, orange, and yellow fall trees make me feel old and reflective for whatever reason.  On the way home we stopped at our favorite farm—Hartland Orchards, for some apples and apple cider. We also hit up the Apple House for their apple donuts. So fun to have Aunt Bean around! And so fun to have another autumn to enjoy.

Finding funny pumpkins and gourds

Found the ones they wanted to take home

Our big pumpkins

Clark slides headfirst into "home plate" in the corn crib-- which is like a
giant sandbox of corn.

Going down the slide headfirst on Daddy's back was their favorite.

So much old dried corn to husk, so little time.
Smiling hikers in Shenandoah

The Gruffalo

Traversing the most difficult terrain



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