Friday, May 20, 2016

labor day staycation

staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
Instead of going out of town for Labor Day weekend (which usually means sitting in holiday traffic for hours trying to get out of the DC area on Friday night/Saturday morning, and then getting stuck in holiday traffic again coming back on Monday evening), Larry and I decided to take a 'staycation' - not just a Let's-Lounge-Around-The-House-All-Weekend staycation, but an actual, Let's-Plan-Three-Days-Of-Activities-And-Do-Some-Cool-Shit staycation. (Is staycation an annoying made-up word? I think yes, but I can't think of a better term either.)

My goal was to make those three days actually feel like vacation, where you plan ahead and make the most of your time off, where you explore places you've never been, where you don't have a To Do list or house projects to work on. I wanted to do something different every day, all within a 2 hour drive of home. It was a lot to cram into one weekend and a lot of driving, but also a lot of fun to wake up every day and hit the road for a new adventure.

Our schedule included a little bit of everything in three states (VA, WV, and MD): live music, swimming and biking, walking around a small town, and trying local eateries. (Also, lots of time in the car together, which I actually enjoy now that we have a new car with more leg room and less dog hair.)

The plan:
Saturday | Appaloosa Festival in Front Royal, VA
Sunday | Swimming and exploring Westmoreland State Park, VA
Monday | Exploring Shepherdstown, WV and biking along the C&O Canal towpath, MD

Saturday was spent at the new Appaloosa Festival held at the Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal. There were a couple dozen bands playing mostly Americana music (including bluegrass/country/celtic/folk). This was a smaller festival, and I hadn't heard of most of the bands - we just wanted to sit outside, relax and listen to music. We also got to see a performance by our current musical obsession: Possessed by Paul James. This makes me wish I hadn't quit violin lessons when I was 12!

We got to chat with Konrad Wert after the performance and he was such a nice guy. (In addition to being an incredible musician, he is also a school teacher and an advocate for special education.) Since we decided to check out Appaloosa Festival on a whim at the last minute, our expectations were pretty low, and all the performances far exceeded them. It ended up being a great day with great music. You can also camp out at the farm if you want to stay for the whole festival weekend, and we hope to gather a group of friends and do that next year. Music and camping? Yes, please! Also, there were singing monks and farm animals!
staycation 2015 | appaloosa festival
staycation 2015 | appaloosa festival
Pig tail, or Barbie hair?
staycation 2015 | appaloosa festival
staycation 2015 | appaloosa festival
staycation 2015 | appaloosa festival
staycation 2015 | appaloosa festival
Just some nuns petting a miniature donkey...

On Sunday, we drove two hours to Westmoreland State Park. All summer I'd been looking for public swimming pools to visit since we do not have a neighborhood pool. I'd wanted to visit Westmoreland's pool for months and this was the last chance before it closed for the season. So yes, we drove four hours round trip to swim in a pool! What we didn't realize was that the park's beach along the Potomac would be mobbed with families barbecuing, sitting in hammocks, playing games, and camping out on every square inch of space along the water. I wish I had taken a picture, because I've never seen so many people! Not relaxing at all! But we were there for the pool, which was large and overlooked the Potomac River. The pool was crowded but not as packed as the beach. (I'd expected a somewhat empty campground pool, but it felt more like a public pool.) There weren't many non-meat food options, so we ate some crappy nachos and ice cream sandwiches for lunch. After a few hours of swimming and lounging, we walked down a short nature trail to reach a more secluded beach with views of Horsehead Cliffs and the river. The Potomac is much wider along the Northern Neck than it is back up in DC - it really feels like you're looking out across the ocean.
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
staycation 2015 | westmoreland state park
On Monday, we loaded the bikes onto the back of the car and drove out to explore Shepherdstown, West Virginia. We spent a while walking around the small town and wandered through a residential area until we found a monument to James Rumsey with a panoramic view. We ate lunch at the Blue Moon Cafe, and then rode our bikes for 10 miles along the C&O Canal towpath. We stopped to take pictures on the bridge between West Virginia and Maryland overlooking the Potomac River, 160 miles from where we viewed the Potomac the day before. Towards the end of the ride, I tried to stop my bike at the edge of the path, went to put my foot down and there was nothing there but air! It was one of those slow-motion-but-can't-stop-yourself-from-falling crashes, and I tumbled ass-over-bike into a ravine. I was thankful for my helmet, which protected my melon, but not my knees. Made it back to the car, and knees stinging, we stopped in Town Run Brewing Company for some medicine, AKA, beer.
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
staycation 2015 | shepherds town, wv
Our first real staycation was a success - so much better to have a plan than to waste the whole weekend trying to decide what to do! I hope we make this a yearly tradition, because it was a great way to see a lot of local-ish places that we hadn't prioritized visiting until we set aside a whole weekend for exploring.

11 comments:

little green field book said...

- Those nachos look gross, even to me. But I'm sure that would not have stopped me from eating them.
- I want to squeeze that Barbie-tailed pig so bad! I want one!
- I love smaller festivals. The whole "festival scene" these days annoys the crap out of me. Why the hell is there a thing called "festival wear?" Why do you need to dress boho to attend a fest?
- staycations are the best, even if I loathe that word.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Exactly! Totally ate the nachos, because I'm not too much of a "foodie" (Another word I hate! But identify with!) to turn my nose up at pump cheez.

Smaller festivals are the way to go - I'm way too anti-crowd/old/grouchy to deal with a big festival at this point in my life. But a small festival with virtually no rules (we basically paid to get in, grabbed some beers, wandered around and set up our folding chairs wherever we wanted) and was totally laid back was great. I prefer to hear smaller bands in more intimate settings anyway. Had no idea there was such a thing as festival wear!

little green field book said...

I hate crowds too. And lines. And people wearing weird boho stuff that they bought specifically for the fest.

So yeah, festival attire is a thing. My friend and I joke about it all the time. Maybe bc we lived in Cali - it essentially originated with Coachella and then spread to include every outdoor festival. Every year around Coachella I'll see articles about what to wear to Coachella or what to wear during festival season. I have no probs with boho, as I love hippie fashion but if you don't normally dress that way why are you putting on essentially a costume to attend a concert?

I sound like an old person.

little green field book said...

Google "festival fashion." Stores even have shopping categories set up specifically for "festival wear."

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Huh. To me, the best part about going to a festival/concert is that you don't have to dress up at all. Jeans and t-shirt, done and done! :)

little green field book said...

Weird right? I agree - my uniform of tshirr/tank + jeans/shorts + flip flops is my "festival outfit." That + yoga pants/leggings = entire wardrobe. I would feel super bizarre wearinf some of the featival stuff I've seen people wear. Like, do heels really work? And aren't they hot? And aren't flower crowns itchy?

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

That's my entire wardrobe, too! I wonder about people wearing heels anywhere except maybe an office or fancy dinner/party/wedding environment. Like tourists walking around a city in 4" heels? WTF? Why would anyone think that's a good idea? Years ago I saw a woman on a hiking trail in Harpers Ferry wearing high heels!

"Aren't flower crowns itchy?" AHAHAHAHA! Also, I don't think festival fashion has made its way to Front Royal, VA...

veevee v said...

Oh my gosh the heels around town really really really confuses me. When I lived in SF and had to dress like a BR ad to go to work I wore heels. Usually though it was flats then heels kept in my drawer at work. And then we had clubbing heels which were heels that were comfortable enough to dance in for a few hours. BUT I've never in my life traveled with/packed heels or just casually strolled about town. In Asia girls wear heels everywhere, and the streets are pretty rough. It's so bewildering. I've seen people hiking in heels. Like wtf. Do they feel no pain? Am I that much of a grandma?

We are thinking of attending a festival this summer near Seoul and I'm curious to see if festival fashion has jumped the ocean. I'm also pretty tempted to go all out boho. I'm sure if I do nobody else will be wearing anything remotely similar and I'll be that old lady people are secretly instagramming.

Side note: I'm obsessed with "comfort shoes" that don't look geriatric.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

I'm obsessed with comfort shoes, too! I feel like we could start an off-topic book club thread about this! Ha! Keens and Tevas forever!

I pretty much gave up wearing heels years ago. Whenever I see someone walking around town/a park/hiking in heels, I'm like "Are those the ONLY shoes you have?" I just cannot imagine going anywhere without one pair of comfortable shoes! (I almost said "sensible", so yeah, I AM a grandma!)

little green field book said...

I had to resist the strong urge to say "sensible" as well.

I'm a huge fan of teva, merrells, etc and I dont just mean the outdoorsy looking models. I seriously think I own every teva shoe ever made, like the dressier wedges and stuff too.

You know what I also don't get? When people wear heels to/at the airport. And like usually some weird complicated style too. I've done it once bc I had to fly to two separate work meetings and had to rush, but it was so miserable. And I was wearing "sensible" heels too.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Omg, heels at the airport, NO. I'm so glad I rarely had to fly for business and wear work clothes on a plane because my travel uniform is definitely yoga pants.

And if I did have to take a biz trip, I would've been wearing flip-flops on the plane and had heels in my bag!