Category Archives: Fests and Events

Blue Moonlight Biking

Last week I participated in the Anthem Moonlight Ride in Richmond for the first time, along with my brother. It was a lot of fun!

You had the option of biking 8 miles or 17 and we both did the 17 mile course which took us on main roads throughout RVA (Monument Ave.), through some neighborhoods and side streets, and through Bryan Park which was my absolute favorite part since it was so dark but the path was lined with glow sticks. There is a costume contest and tacky lights contest as well, and many people dressed up and had glow sticks, Christmas lights, etc.

I can’t say the entire course was super easy, as there were some hills to conquer but they were doable and where there’s an up, there’s a down! Keep in mind that my bike is a $150 Huffy bike from Target (snicker, snicker) – no, it does not have a basket or pom pom strings hanging from the handlebars, but it DOES have a sweet bell! Given that I don’t have many gear options, I was happy with myself that I did not have to stop, get off of my bike or stand up in order to get to the top of the hills; I just pushed on through as best as I could on the highest gear and did it. It drizzled a bit in some parts but didn’t bother me whatsoever – it actually felt good. There were at least 2 food/drink/bike mechanic pitstops along the way but I didn’t want to stop my stride. Although my bike speedometer was not calibrated correctly and said I did 28 miles, I managed to do 17 miles in 1 hr. 30 min. My brother completed in 1 hr. 13 min. I was happy with that given that the website said the avg. was 2 hrs. to complete the course. In the past, before having Abby, I had done the Livestrong 20 mile course in PA. Can’t remember what my time was for that but I remember stopping to eat along the way haha.

After the ride (not race), we got in line for our free food (Papa John’s pizza, Jimmy John’s subs, ice-cream novelties, Blue Moon beer and other drinks) and listened to the after-party band named the Good Birds. I heard that they ran out of food later on so I guess there needs to be some better planning in that area for next time. And next year I hope to do it again!

Once we left and I began the drive back home, the skies opened up and the rain really started to come down throughout the night and the next day. We lucked out with the weather!






The Ukrops Monument Ave. 10K

Saturday morning I ran and completed my first 10K race – the Ukrops Monument Ave. 10K in Richmond, VA. Also participating with me were my brother Chris and sister-in-law Julie. The weather was absolutely perfect – sunny, low-mid 60’s in the morning. My parents and sister-in-law Jennifer watched and stayed with Abby while we ran.

I had started to get a tad nervous (good jitters) leading up to the morning of the race. I didn’t do the greatest job of training and prepping for the race so I wasn’t sure how I’d do. I only ran outside in the neighborhood a few times and the rest were on the treadmill at the gym (and we all know running on the treadmill is not the same as running on pavement and cobblestone streets). Which by the way, I finally joined a gym around here. It’s not a big flashy gym but it’s open 24/7 and was only $32/month.

Anyway, Julie arrived at our house Friday night and we got to bed around 11:45. Probably should have been a little bit earlier but we were too busy looking up “cicada apocolypse” images on Google. The alarm went off at 5:45am the next morning. We snarfed some bagels w/ pb, banana, Gatorade and were on the road to Richmond around 7:15 after my parents picked us up. We met up at the TORX office with Chris and Jennifer and got ourselves organized before heading off to the start line. Our wave time start was 9:20 and we literally walked right up to merge into the group as they were starting to move. Perfect timing.

The race was exciting – bands on every block (playing songs like ‘Eye of the Tiger’), cheering sections, different organizations set up to cheer you on dressed in various themes, kids giving high fives along the way, people holding all kinds of funny and/or motivational signs, balloons, people dressed in funny costumes, spectators all over, people grilling on their porches and drinking beer… so much fun. The houses and buildings along Monument Ave. are impressive as well so there was always something neat to look at. There were also plenty of water stops along the course. I nabbed water at 3 of the stops because my mouth was so dry but made sure to keep walking fast while drinking (if I tried to run and drink it’d be down my shirt). If I drank anymore I would have peed my pants while running – ha! I also stopped to say hi to Abby quickly when I saw her on the sidelines somewhere between mile 5 and 6. It was so nice to see them there and helped me move a bit faster at the end to get across the finish line. I finished with a time of 73:07. My brother was just behind me by about 40 seconds and Julie was somewhere around 64 min. I felt pretty good throughout the whole race, just sore and tired afterwards of course.



We then nabbed some post-race food (bananas, 50,000 fruit cups, Martin’s rolls, water, powerade, granola bars) and other flare at the post-race event in Monroe Park before heading back to TORX.







Next, we headed to casa de Rhines to shower and clean up before heading out to nom on some Mexico for lunch. I really enjoyed my grilled chicken quesedilla with guacamole salad and spanish rice… and of course chips and salsa and queso. Tasted oh so good.

It’s funny what you can do if you put your mind to it. A few years ago I would have said I could never (and would never) do a running race. I first tried last year by doing 2 5Ks and then decided to double it and try a 10K. Did I die? No. Did I blaze on through with a fast pace? No, but I ran and I finished and had fun. I don’t consider myself a runner by any means and I probably do all kinds of things wrong in terms of technique but I feel good after doing it and I reach my goals in steps – and that’s what counts. I’ve always said that I don’t think I could do a 1/2 marathon but who knows… never say never!

Thanks to my parents for driving us and watching Abby while we ran! Thanks to Julie for being my race buddy and for motivating me! Thanks to Chris for getting us to sign up and for running w/ me… and for picking up our packets and accomodating us w/ your office location and hot showers at the house! Thanks to Amy for being an inspiration to have me just run any distance. This girl runs all kinds of races, marathons, and is training for her first triathalon in September. Given what she does on a regular basis, I should be able to get off my butt and do a 5K or 10K here and there. ūüėČ

Can’t wait to (hopefully) do the Monument Ave. 10K again next year!

Gari Melchers: Art at Belmont Estate

Took a nice little visit to the home and art studio of Gari Melcher the other week.¬† His home and studio is a national historic landmark at Belmont in¬†Falmouth¬†and is 1 of 30 of America’s most significant artists’ spaces included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios consortium.¬† It’s just on the “other side” of the Rappahannock River and not far from Chatham Manor where Peter sometimes works.¬† It was their spring open house so it was free to get in and it was nice (but hot)¬†to walk around on the grounds.¬†



Cherrylicious Blossom Festival

Earlier this month, no – ¬†make that late last month (time is f-l-y-i-n-g), we took the opportunity to drive north to Washington, D.C. ¬†to partake in the popular Cherry Blossom Festival.¬† We’ve been to DC before but I’ve never been there to see the cherry blossom trees and experience any of the month+ long festivites.¬† I’ve always heard people talk about it before but I just thought – eh, trees that are budding.¬† No biggie.¬† But now that we live closer and I’ve heard more about it, I wanted to go and see what all the buzz was about.

Peak time arrived earlier this season so we wanted to take advantage of it.  I took a 1/2 personal day and away we went with Abby and my parents.  The first part of the day was cloudy, almost rainy, and not very spring-like but in watching the forecast, we knew it was going to spiff up to be a beautiful day.  It worked in our favor because it was not super busy or hot.

Well, I must say, it is much more than just trees that are budding.¬† It’s one thing to see it in pictures but to¬†be there in person really is scenic.¬† The cherry blossoms were beautiful and I didn’t realize just how many there were until we walked around the whole Tidal Basin and stopped at a number of national monuments along the way.¬† Paddleboaters were on the water, people from¬†all over the world were walking around taking in¬†our nation’s capitol, and it was simply a fun, spring day.¬† We didn’t experience any¬†actual festivities but I saw in the schedule that there are concerts, performances, parades, contests, food, etc.¬† I am glad we got to see those budding trees.¬† Abby had fun too!

Enjoy the following slideshow (about 20 pictures)! 

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Culpeper And The Pumpkin Patch

Wow, hey there blog.¬† I’ve been a bit busy lately and haven’t gotten around to the bloggy blog world!


Well, to continue with our anniversary weekend (which now seems ages ago), the next day of our 4-day weekend included a little trip to Culpeper, VA which is about 20 minutes west of where we live, and we also took Abby to the pumpkin patch at Round Hill Farm. 


Culpeper is a cute little town (and the name alone reminds me of H.B. Culpeper’s from IUP) with quaint little shops and eateries with a view of the Shenandoah Mountains off in the distance.¬† There was a typical Main Street with no chain stores or restaurants and it gave you that small town, homey feel.¬† To read more on Culpeper, visit¬†



We ate a restaurant called The Stable.  Of course the sandwiches all had history-related names and there was Civil War decor on the walls!






These are the cakes made down south y’all!!



Next was pumpkin picking at Round Hill Farm, just outside of Culpeper.¬† They had a hayride to the pumpkin patch of course, as well as inflatable pumpkins for the kids to jump in, playground type activities, corn mazes, petting zoo, apples, gourds, and more.¬† Miss Abigail had a bit of a breakdown in the middle of the pumpkin patch but eventually calmed down.¬† She wanted to walk independently but kept getting tripped up on the pumpkin vines… but yet she did not want to hold our hands or let us carry her.¬† Stress over pumpkins, let me tell ya.¬† We got some pumpkins, mums, gourds, and apples from Round Hill.

Abby loved playing in the “cornbox” (and had a freakout moment after we got her out to move onto the next thing):















Day 3 of anniversary weekend coming next (hopefully not in like 3 weeks from now!).

Looking Into a Giraffe’s Eyes

Peter and I recently celebrated our 4 year anniversary with a 4 day weekend.¬† We always take a trip or vacation for our anniversary.¬† This year was a little different since we had just moved, didn’t have much time off, and decided to just make it simple with having Abby.¬† In the past, our anniversary vacations usually took place up North / New England.¬†

  • Honeymoon = Great Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, TN)
  • 1st Anniversary = Vermont and New Hampshire
  • 2nd Anniversary = Maine and Quebec
  • 3rd Anniversary = Connecticut
  • 4th Anniversary = Richmond Metro Zoo, Downtown Fredericksburg, Round Hill Farms Pumpkin Patch, and Shenandoah National Park

We started with the Richmond Metro Zoo on a beautiful, sunny day with my side of the family (no, the following picture is not my side of the family).¬† It’s a nice sized zoo which is bigger than the small zoo from back home, but smaller than the Philly Zoo and other major zoos.¬† It was a nice in-between.¬† The animals seemed well-kept¬†and had a lot of space to roam around.¬† ¬†



I forget what these things were called (they had a billion trillion gazillion different types of monkey species!)



These guys were just sitting around, chillin.



The giraffe exhibit was so neat Рwe were eye level with the giraffes and could feed them food out of your hand if you wanted.  They are really beautiful animals!




They have such big, pretty eyes (and long eyelashes too).


My humps, my humps, my humps.


Sure, you can see these birds at any pet store, but it made it cooler being at the zoo.  You can purchase a food stick for $1 and have the birds eat it from your hand, arm, etc.


Pretty bird, pretty bird.


The lonely,¬†disheveled penguin (Hey Brit, it’s a pin-guin).


Love this picture.¬† Abby watching the giraffes.¬† ūüôā


Laughing at the giraffes!


These chimpanzees were amazing to watch with their little chimp.  The human resemblance in their actions is amazing.  I could have watched them all day long.


Beautiful snow leopard.  It threw up right after I took this picture.


The Zookeepers


Uh-oh.¬† Somebody doesn’t want to leave the zoo just yet!


After the zoo, we¬†all headed back to Chris and Jennifer’s place¬†to hang out and have grilled turkey burgers for dinner.¬† Abby got to play with Uncle Chris and Aunt Jennifer!



And then Miss Abby was tuckered out from the busy day while everyone enjoyed dinner. 


More on our long anniversary weekend to come soon.

Granma And The Maugles Do Oktoberfest

We had our first visitor this past weekend РGranma! 


My mother in law arrived at our “Wilderness estate” Saturday afternoon.¬† It was good to see her and have our first visitor!¬† Abby was happy to see her Granma when she woke up from her nap and received some cute new books and clothes for the fall/Halloween.¬† Thanks Granma!¬†


We got a late lunch and eventually headed out to meet Peter at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center.¬† He got out of¬†work and we¬†went downtown¬†to check out Oktoberfest.¬† It was about 2-3 blocks long and there¬†were German music and dancers, bratwurst and s’kraut, and of course BEER.¬† You had to be 21 to go through the gated areas where the food and beer were served (it was like¬†a¬†better contained and smaller Musikfest from Bethlehem) but it was a bit crowded and¬†loud, and pushing a¬†15 month old around in a stroller in the crowd didn’t seem like fun to me.¬† Instead we walked along the sidewalks and scoped out the¬†German¬†fest – oompah!¬† They sold¬†smaller Oktoberfest mugs for only $1 and bigger ones for $2.¬† The beer however was then $7 and $14 respectively.¬† Pass.¬† Here are some of the sights of the fest:





Abby enjoyed watching the guys in lederhosen.




We finished walking through the fest and then took a little stroll through Hurkamp Park. 





We then decided to have dinner at Sammy T’s, just alongside where the fest was still going¬†strong until 9pm.¬† Sammy T’s has a bar inside on one side and the restaurant on the other.¬† It’s known for having a good selection of vegetarian and vegan food.¬†

They¬†also have a separate section around the corner in the same building that¬†serves¬†frozen yogurt.¬† I had the vegetable lasagna (so good) and a Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat.¬† Abby¬†is usually ok when we’re out at restaurants as long as I have an endless supply of graham crackers and other snacks and toys for distraction but this night¬†she¬†wasn’t havin’ it.¬† It was mighty warm inside¬†Sammy T’s and she had to get a poop out so this combination wasn’t so great.¬† Cranky baby.¬† We soon packed up and headed for home.¬† We were all tired so we hit the hay shortly after¬†arriving home, after Granma read a book to Miss Abicus.



The next day, Peter¬†was off to work (the hubs is a weekend working machine) and¬†Janet, Abby, and I began our day with a walk around our little, woodsy neighborhood.¬† Then we jeopardized Abby’s lunchtime nap by going into town again to check out some of the PA Dutch and country shops.¬† I found some cute country trinkets at the one shop, but there is no sense in buying stuff for our temp home.¬† I will wait until we move yet again!¬†



I am liking this Virginia wine display… I will have to revisit!



Should I get stickers made that say Virginia is for Maugles?


For lunch we made a quick decision to eat at Spirits.¬† Probably won’t¬†go here again.¬† The food was just ok – nothing special.¬† The atmosphere was ehh and¬†the¬†service was pretty slow – only 1 girl hosting/serving.¬† Oh well.¬† You learn by trying.¬† Abby was much better at this meal than the previous night though!¬†¬†¬†¬†