Pick Your Own Adventure

This weekend the Mr. and I, along with a friend, decided to take another turn at pick your own in Northern Virginia. A few years ago we went to Stribling Orchard to pick our own apples. While we enjoyed our time there, we wanted to see what else was out there. After some rather informal Googling, we decided to try Hollin Farms.

Located in Fauquier County, Hollin Farms didn’t take too long to travel to from the DC area. When we pull dup we saw that we would need to drive straight up a narrow windy road to make it to the orchard. I would have taken pictures but I was driving. Suffice to say that my little car had a somewhat difficult time making it all the way up and we had to deal with some inconsiderate drivers who decided to go straight down the center of a narrow road, but my little car is a champ and we arrived right around 2pm. Someone was there to direct us to a parking spot which was a very nice touch.

The views when we got to the top made all the dangerous driving worth it:

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We wandered around picking different types of apples including cameos and galas (two of my favorites).

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We chose a good time to go since we still had plenty of apples to choose from!

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We even saw a few lovelies hanging out eating some of the over ripe apples:

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One of the really nice things about Hollin is that they also have pick your own veggies and sunflowers! We didn’t pick our own veggies this time (it was in the mid 80s randomly so we were sweating and ready for some a/c) but it was still pretty to look at.

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The sunflowers were beautiful which surprised me. I always pictured sunflowers as a spring and summer flower but you learn something new everyday!

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All in all it was a lovely day and I think we have a new favorite place to Apple pick.

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Outdoor Adventures: Great Falls Virginia

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Fall isn’t even officially here yet, but we have been getting a lot of fall like weather here. Call me suspicious, but I am afraid that this cold summer will also mean a cold winter. With that in mind, I am determined to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible before the months of hibernation begin.

This weekend I went to Great Falls in Virginia. Just 20 or so minutes outside of DC, the Great Falls area has a few trails that you can hike as well as a big park ground and some amazing views. My friend and I decided to go the hiking route, so we parked about 4 miles from the most important part and started hiking.

Nature's bridge
Nature’s bridge

The walk was beautiful, but my friend who had been there before thought that it didn’t look too familiar. At that point we decided to take out the iPhone and drop a pin. Unfotunately, we discovered that we were going the wrong way on our first try. After going about a mile in the wrong direction we turned around and came back.

Then we actually set out to the falls.

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The views on the walk are pretty spectacular, and you can even catch some adventurous people in the water. But those views are nothing like the payoff at the end:

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Check that out for a minute.

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It was truly breathtaking. Totally worth the effort of getting there. Of course that means we had to do the full 4 miles back, which was somewhat exhausting. We did have a few buddies to keep us company on the walk back to the car:

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Friendliest deer ever. Didn’t even care we were there. Totally worth the effort and now permanently on my list of places to visit and visit often. When that beauty is only 20 minutes away, there is really no excuse.

 

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Cantler’s Crabs

My mom was in town visiting all last week, so on Friday the Mr took off of work and we ventured over to Annapolis to try out a local legend: Cantler’s.

 

Seated right on the water, Cantler’s is a little difficult to find but totally worth the trek. You sit on benches out by the water’s edge and wait to be delivered a tray of delicious:

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So we all dug in and…. well.. it was quite a mess.

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Make sure to ask for a bib when you sit down, you will need it.

We then walked around downtown Annapolis which is such a cute little town. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it as a day trip.

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Parking is a little difficult, but it’s worth it to find a spot to see the state buildings and explore all the cute stores.

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It was a hazy day so maybe you can’t tell, but that’s the waterfront at the end of the street. Would be beautiful on a nice day. We were just happy not to get rained on.

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The Mr and I have already decided that we will be returning soon. It is such an easy day trip from DC that it seems silly we hadn’t been there yet.

 

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Bruno Mars (aka why I will never go back to Jiffy Lube Live again)

It’s been a week and I am finally ready to post about the Bruno Mars concert at Jiffy Lube Live. I bought tickets for the Mr and I the day after the Super Bowl where Bruno Mars absolutely crushed it as the half time performer. We have been excited about this show for MONTHS, so our actual experience was really surprisingly disappointing.

The good: Bruno Mars, his band, the weather

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Seriously, Bruno Mars sounds better in person than on the radio. His voice is so strong, his band is phenomenal and at one point he even jumped on the drums (normally played by his brother) and went nuts. He is such an amazing performer and I can’t really put into words how good he sounds. ¬†If you’re on instagram, you can check out a brief video that I posted on my profile (cmtiu).

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There was fire


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But the best was just him singing. The crowd was filled with young and old (and the people like us somewhere in the middle of middle schoolers and retirees), couples and groups of girl friends all singing along and dancing the night away. It was a concert that brought together all ages and races which is always a lovely experience. He was so entertaining and I would 100% pay to go see him again.

The opening act was Aloe Blacc. How was he? Well I have no idea because we missed his performance, along with half of Bruno Mars’ performance. Which brings me to the bad:

The bad: The venue screwed up at every opportunity, didn’t have enough staff, directed traffic incorrectly, and cost us half of the concert in the process.

We left our house for the venue (which is 40 minutes away) and hour and a half before the opening act was set to start. We thought that even if we hit traffic we would maybe miss some of the opener. Nope. There is only one entrance to Jiffy Lube Live. You would think that knowing this, they would tell the cops to have an even flow of traffic from the two roads (one highway, one local) so that everyone can get in and get to see the show. Instead, the Jiffy Lube staff and police let everyone in from the local road, followed by 5 or 10 cars from the highway (where the majority of the people were coming). Repeat x a million.

It ended up taking us over 3 hours to get in to the venue and to our seats. 90% of that time was spent sitting on the highway at the exit that leads to the entrance or just outside of the entrance. As we were trying to get in we could hear Bruno Mars playing and had to listen in the distance as our experience that we paid handsomely for just drifted away without us.

We finally got in to the parking lot, only to discover that getting out of the parking lot at night was going to be a huge problem. We noticed that everyone who was “directing traffic” at Jiffy Lube seemed to be too young to even drive a car themselves. At the end of the night, after hearing 6 Bruno Mars songs (which we paid about $32 a pop for) we got to our car and proceeded to wait for over an hour just to try to get out. The “staff” at Jiffy Lube was not actually directing traffic until it had pretty much cleared out.

To say that the Jiffy Lube location ruined the concert for us would be an understatement. Bruno Mars was amazing, I’m sure Aloe Blacc was as well but we will never know. I will buy Bruno Mars tickets again, especially considering I missed most of my favorite songs. That said, I will never give any money to Jiffy Lube Live ever again and will try to talk every person I know out of attending a concert there. Which is disappointing since Jimmy Buffet is a regular there and I love me some Jimmy.

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Chicago Style

This weekend I took a quick trip up to Chicago for a bridal shower/bachelorette weekend. Having never even to Chicago before I was pretty excited to check it out. The city did not disappoint.

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The weather was perfectly warm yet cool and breezy. We did a ton of walking and took in the city.

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All of the buildings were so beautiful. Next time I visit I plan to take the architecture tour to learn more.

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Garrett’s popcorn was so worth waiting in line for! We could smell the fresh popcorn down the block. Some of
The Chicago mix made its way back to DC, but the Mr has already polished the bag off.

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Had to take a trip down to the river!

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And of course checking out the bean (otherwise known as Cloud Gate).

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We took a quick walk over to Portillos for an authentic Chicago style hot dog. So incredibly delicious!

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We had amazing drinks like this Moscow Mule from the Hubbard Inn, complete with a copper cup.

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We also had delicious food everywhere we went. This was my Asian fusion eggs Benedict from Sunda. So yummy!

I seriously had the greatest time in Chicago. I’m sure a large part of the fun was because I was surrounded by wonderful people celebrating one of my closest friends. But I have to say, I think Chicago had a lot to do with it. I can’t wait to go back!

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