Travel, Uncategorized

Norfolk Botanical Garden Pictorial

If you live in the Coastal Virginia area I’m sure you have heard of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  It’s one of my most favorite local places to visit.  I make sure to keep my membership up to date because I enjoy touring the gardens regularly throughout the year.  I’ve put together some pictures of my son and I earlier this summer exploring some of the beautiful areas throughout this magical place.

These pictures represent just a small glimpse of how wonderful this place is.  The park offers around the clock tram services throughout the park if you’re not up for walking.  The tram has several stops, providing an opportunity to stop and walk for a bit as well.  My son and I usually do the boat tour a couple times of the year.  There is much to see from this perspective including an assortment of birds and the beautiful shoreline of the gardens.  For families with young children, there’s an interactive children’s garden with various activities throughout the year for the young gardening enthusiasts!

One of the great things about NBG is that they have year around classes and events during the different seasons.  Some of the offerings are free, some have additional fees.  You can take horticultural classes, sign up for yoga,  or even get creative with crafts including painting and photography, to name just a few.  If you are hungry or thirsty, there’s a quaint little cafe where you can swing by for a sandwich, delicious salad or even a healthy smoothy.

If you live in the Hampton Roads area or find yourself traveling through here please make it a priority to stop at the NBG!  You will not be disappointed.  You will leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.

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Travel

Carter’s Mountain Orchard, Charlottesville VA

IMG_2781The past two weekends, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the gorgeous Charlottesville Va. area and of course Carter’s Mountain Apple Orchard. The first trip was a day trip with my girlfriends to celebrate a birthday, the second trip was for the entire weekend with my sweet family.

Carter’s Mountain is always our first stop when traveling to Charlottesville. Let me tell you, this place oozes with stunning autumn ambiance with everything you need for a day trip with friends or fun outing with your family.

The anticipation always mounts with each visit as we make our way up the heavily wooded and windy road. It’s the perfect entrance to set the scene for the breathtaking summit. We pass the rolling hills of grape vines and apple trees lined up like dutiful soldiers as we reach the top. IMG_2803

I know it’s almost time enjoy the stunning views but maybe more importantly to retrieve our prized apple cider donuts. Nobody does them better than Carter’s Mountain Orchard.

Of course there are acres and acres of beautifully plump apples of every variety, delicious hot cider and huge bins of every shade of pumpkins and gourds you can imagine. Falls bounty is evident everywhere you look. Scenic hayrides through the orchards roll by as we make our way to the charming little shop with wine, food, gifts and seasonal home decor. But we are there for one reason and one reason only, the apple cider donuts and dramatic vistas, also the hot cider… ok maybe two or three reasons!

IMG_2956Grab a dozen donuts, a cup of fresh hot cider and take in the sensational views of downtown Charlottesville. This is a really unique place with the perfect country charm you will love especially during the holiday season.

What a great place to bring the family and pick some fresh apples from the endless rows that make up the historical family owned orchard. But if picking apples

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is not your thing, not to worry! There’s an array of apples and seasonable delights for you to choose from at the market. Check out their website at chilesfamilyorchards.com to get all the details and don’t let another weekend go by without visiting Carter’s Mountain.

Busch Gardens, Travel

HOWL-O-SCREAM! Busch Gardens, Williamsburg VA

There’s a strange mist hanging in the air, faint screams coming from every direction, the smell of pumpkin spice latte slowly draws you in… It’s Busch Garden’s annual HOWL O SCREAM event. I know the fall season is officially here when the air is crisp, leaves start to transform into beautiful crimson and gold and when the ghosts and goblins traverse every corner of Busch Gardens. It’s my favorite time to visit the park, it’s a festive and well themed environment and the weather has started to become much more tolerable. Busch Gardens does a very nice job of decorating the park with pumpkins, spooky lighting, fog and all things eerie for their annual event. Howl O Scream is not ideal for young children as there are ghastly guests hiding around every corner of the park ready to terrify unsuspecting patrons.

This year there are seven haunted houses: Demented Dimensions, The Vault, Dystopia, Circo Sinistro, Cornered, Frostbite and Lumberhack. There are also “scare zones” throughout the park as well as Halloween bars and three shows. The festivities start at 5:45 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (all of the children’s rides and experiences end at 5:00) and end at either 10:00 or 11:00 depending on the day, you would want to check the Busch Gardens, Williamsburg website to confirm time.

We arrived at the park on a Saturday at about 3:30. We met up with our friends then enjoyed a meal together at the outdoor dining area in the Italy section of the park. It’s a great place to just relax and wait for all the frightening fun to begin. Our group made sure we were in line for our first Haunted House by about 5:30 p.m. Let me tell you, the park was very crowded. Probably the most people I’ve ever seen. Fridays tend to be a better day to go with lower crowds if that’s an option for you. We waited in significantly long lines for each Haunted House and only took one short break for coffee (and a delicious chocolate crepe) in between two of the Haunted Houses, we were only able to make it through six of the houses before the park closed.

BUT, not to worry, we will be back at least one more time before the season is over and will be sure to explore the horrors in the last Haunted House we missed. All in all, I always have a great time hanging out with friends, laughing at ourselves and others throughout the night, feeling like a kid again and just taking time out of life to be silly. We have made some really great and funny memories over the years!!!

If you’re looking for something fun to do this fall I suggest a trip to Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens in beautiful Williamsburg VA. Get there earlier in the day to be able to enjoy some of their great thrill rides for all ages, have some dinner and prepare to be terrified!!! For more information check out buschgardens.com/williamsburg/events/howl-o-scream.