Amish Country: Quilts, Transportation & Great Food

The Amish

 

This is Part II of my posts on the Lancaster, PA, The Amish community.  Today I’ll be focusing on art, great food and unique transportation used by the Amish. Lets start with the quilts. I consider them a work of art. Finding beautiful quilts in Lancaster is not difficult. You can find them in shops or hanging on clothesline in the backyard.

First, Sylvia’s Quilts, in Bird In Hand.  It is one of my favorite places to visit.  I’m always in awe of what awaits me on her front porch and clothesline. Her quilts are handmade and flawless.  Furthermore, they start around $500 and up.  This type of artwork doesn’t come cheap.  Amish women invest hundreds of hours making quilts.  So, it is not uncommon for a mother and daughter to work on a quit together during the winter.  Also, it’s a great way for widows to occupy themselves during winter months.  Once you have admired the artistry outside, head inside her shop.  You will find hundred of quilts in every size as well as wall hangings, fabric and more.

 

Amish, Amish quilts, Amish handmade quilts, Dahlia quilt, Lancaster PA quilts

Dahlia

 

amish quilts, Lancaster Pa quilts, spinning star quilt, Sylvia's Quilts

Spinning Star

 

Additionally, murals can be found on the side of various buildings in Lancaster. This particular mural was on the side of a business in the Kitchen Kettle Village.  Quite frankly, I think it sums up Lancaster nicely:  yesteryear, rolling hills, and the warmth of beautiful art.

 


 

 

 

 
Most importantly, the main mode of transportation for the Amish is the horse and buggy.  Additionally, they use scooters and do plenty of walking.  Just like an automobile, their horses are groomed and brushed to perfection. You will spot several types of Amish buggies and wagons.  As a result, they have buggies for every day transportation.  They have buggies for church or wagons that are used to pickup supplies and the harvest.

Most of the buggies are black; however, the Lancaster Amish drive gray buggies as well.  You will find brown buggies in New Wilmington, PA. and yellow buggies in Mifflin County, PA.  However, the Nebraska Amish drive white buggies. In addition to horse and buggies, scooters that are used by youth and adults can be purchased for a starting price of $200.00.  Although they are not allowed to own motor vehicles, they are allowed to ride in cars, buses and trains.  No airplane rides are allowed.
 

 

Amish, Amish Shetland Ponies, sheltland ponies


And you can also find the unexpected in Lancaster.  What’s the chances of finding mules in that order or a young Amish boy riding a miniature pony up and down the road.   There’s definitely photo opps in Lancaster.     

Now if you’re hungry and you’re near the Kitchen Kettle Village, check out the Kling House Restaurant.  It’s located in Intercourse, PA. It’s a great place to eat lunch.  Somehow, I’ve never managed to get there in time for breakfast.  But the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch.  Depending on what you’re craving, their sandwiches are great.  And they have a nice selection of salads.  You should know, the restaurant was actually a farm house.  And the surrounding area acreage. The front porch, living room, dining room and office remain a part of the restaurant. Service is great and so is the ambiance. I was lucky enough to get a seat by the window.  Saturday’s are great days to watch the action.

In addition, across the street from Kitchen Kettle Village are a few vendors that sell pizza, wings, Whoopie pies etc. The wings alone are worth the trip.

Furthermore, the smorgasbords in Lancaster are worth a trip.  If you have a hardy appetite, check out Bird In Hand, Millers and Shady Maple buffets to name a few.  They serve everything from Prime Rib to homemade apple pies. Oh, the apple pie alone is worth the trip.

 


Not far from the Kling House Restaurant in Kitchen Kettle Village is Lapp Valley Farm. Their specialties are homemade ice cream and kettle cooked potato chips!  Because I have a weakness for kettle cooked potato chips, I always buy a bag to munch on later.  In Lancaster, Whoopie pies are big among the Amish. Unfortunately, they are little too sweet for my taste.  So, I leave them for others to enjoy.

Finally, I hope that you have been inspired by The Amish series.  In the future, I will be posting on fall foliage, places to stay & more in future posts.  Until then, you may also like Why You Should Visit Amish Country.









Why You Should Visit Amish Country – The Home and Farm

 

I spent the week-end in Lancaster, PA recharging my battery and admiring the Amish.  Regardless of the time span between my visits, I always find it to be peaceful. First, who can’t use a little peace in their life, right. We may recharge our batteries and seek peace in different ways, but we all need to stop and take action at some point.
Next, watching the Amish and their way of life causes me to pause. The fields of corn, horse and buggies, roadside produce stands, handmade quilts and the slow pace take me to a peaceful and simple way of living. They are gentle people with a deep belief in God and family above all else. Furthermore, they have a deep sense of community and helping their neighbor without the distraction of modern technology. Most importantly, they are self-sufficient, independent, and they take care of each other. They pay taxes, but no welfare or social security benefits for their community. They have no desire to integrate into our society, their lifestyle is a choice.  Plain and simple is their motto and they live it.
During my visits, I’ve taken tons of pictures and I thought I would share some of them with you in a two part post on the Amish and their lifestyle. This is Part I  – The Amish Home and Farm.  Before the Amish Home and Farm became a tourist attraction, Amish and Mennonites families lived in this house for many years.

 

 
Because most Amish families are large, most have 7 or more children, Amish homes are usually quite large.  When parents get older they remain at the home.  They usually stay in another home on the property called a Dawdi Haus.   The second home can also be used as a guest house.  The Amish take care of each other life.  Rarely is an Amish person put into a nursing home or sent elsewhere to live.
Furthermore, the Amish are a deeply religious community.  However, they don’t attend churches as we know it. For example, families take turns hosting church service at their homes. The picture above shows an Amish living room that has the furniture removed.  The host family removes the furniture and replaces it with benches.  Or, benches are set-up barn or buggy house on the property.
Benches are placed on both sides of the room. Women sit on one side and men on the other.  So, benches are placed on both sides of the room.  German is the official language of the service.  After the service, lunch is served.   Everyone socializes while the children play.  Sunday is the day of worship, so only the basic chores are done at home.  Therefore, businesses are closed. Visiting neighbors is high on the list for the Amish on Sundays.
 
There is no divorce in the Amish community.   The women take care of the home, husband, children and kitchen gardens.  The men bring home the money, work the fields and take care of the farm animals.  There are some Amish men and women who work outside the home or farm.  They own businesses such as making furniture, storage sheds and yard furniture.  Additionally, they also work as waitresses, in factories or other jobs with the English, non-Amish. I own 2 storage sheds built by the Amish.  Their work is superior.
Those who work on the farm are ready to go at sun up and stop working at sun down.  As a result, they eat a hearty breakfast before heading out to the fields.  Normally, they return around noon for lunch and again for dinner. They usually start their day at 5:30 am and are in bed by 8:00 or 9:00 pm.
The above picture is a typical Amish kitchen. Appliances are powered by propane gas.  Lights, faucets, sewing and washing machines, as well as blenders and mixers are powered by compressed air. As in most homes, the man sits at the head of the table and his wife to the right of him. The oldest child sits on the opposite end of the father. There are no pictures of family or children hanging on the walls, Amish do not take pictures. They do hang quilted wall hangings, a framed list of their children and their birthdays, framed puzzles etc.
 
Amish serve hearty meals.  They typically preserve hundreds of jars of vegetables, fruits and meat during the canning season to feed a family of 9 or more during the winter months. They are masters at baking bread, pies, and cakes.  Fortunately, they are able to grow their own fruit for jams, jellies, pies and cobblers as well as vegetables in their kitchen gardens. Their gardens and flower beds are meticulous. You won’t find a weed in them. The children start in the morning pulling weeds to ensure that nothing distracts from mom’s garden.  They butcher or use Amish butchering shops for their meat. Self-sufficiency and being experts at it is the name of the game.  And the Amish know how to play. They are astute at making things happen.
Amish women are experts at sewing and quilting.  They do the sewing for the entire family.  Furthermore, they make their own dresses and aprons, pants and shirts for their husbands and all of the children’s clothing.  Additionally, they also make quilts, diapers for infants and a host of other items. Most prefer the old Singer treadle sewing machines shown above.
They do shop at local stores such as Wal-mart for plates, glasses, and other home goods as well as undergarments, socks, hosiery, Birdseye diapers/pampers etc. Most stores provide hitching posts for their horse and buggies while they shop.
 
 
This is the typical wardrobe for Amish girls.  Dresses are muted colors and calf length.  Muted colors include: pink, green, purple, blue, brown and black.  However, no prints are allowed.  Prayer coverings are black or white. And are pinned onto the solid colored dresses.  Hook and eye closures can be used, but no buttons.  Prayer caps are white and heart shaped. Shoes are black.  I have seen the Lancaster Amish wear sandals, Crocs, sneakers or go barefoot.
 
Girls wear a white prayer cap around age 9.  A black bonnet can be worn over the prayer cap.  In the winter, a black cloak is worn.  The black bonnets may be worn without the cloak, but the black cloak can’t be worn without the black bonnet.  Also, Amish women do not cut their hair.  Amish women are not allowed to wear prints or jewelry, not even a wedding band.
 



This is a picture of a nursery or small child’s bedroom in the Amish home.  They have the usual furniture that you would find in a nursery: a crib, rocker, changing table and dresser.  What I didn’t see was a bottle warmers, mobile or  baby monitors.

 

I bet this changing table is worth a mint.  It was heavy and study.  The hardwood floors are the wide planks and absolutely beautiful.  Amish women take their ability to keep house seriously.  As a result, their homes are spotless.

 

This is the typical Amish boy’s room. The boys wear black pants that hit about the ankle.  Their shirts are muted colors with snaps and hook and eyes.  The pants are worn with suspenders, but they have no zipper.  Instead, hook and eyes are used.  On Sundays, the boys and men wear black pants, white shirts, black vests or jackets.  Married men grow beards without a mustache.

 

This is the typical dress of a married Amish woman.  Her aprons are black instead of white.  Her husband’s clothing, is the same as the boys.
Another fact is, Amish women usually give birth at home and are assisted by a mid-wife.  However, they can use a birthing center or hospital if they desire.  

 

 

It looks like an older son is replacing posts on the farm.  Also, he has several of his younger siblings on the wagon.  He made sure everything was in place after making each turn.  Amish boys work the fields with their fathers at an early age.  Women and girls also help if needed.  Usually, Belgian horses or mules pull the equipment.

 

Corn fields are abundant in Lancaster.  It is harvested in stored in the farm silo to feed the farm animals.  This young man above is handling a team of 6 horses.  The Amish are masters of their domain.   The women are subordinate, but equal partners in their marriage.  Women are involved in the daily operation of making the farm efficient and productive.  Many can be seen hand picking various vegetables or helping with the harvest.
Amazingly, the Amish still use wringer washers to do laundry.  Hanging clothes outside on a clothesline is still a part of their chores.  Once dry, they iron the clothes.
Most of all, Lancaster is a combination of things. For example, traffic, shopping malls, horse and buggies and endless rows of corn and other vegetables.  It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the simplicity of a culture.  The beauty of the farm houses and acres of rolling land capture your deepest senses.  Furthermore, it draws you into a life that can only be admired by those who are willing to put down their smart phones and laptops.  I admire their ability to persevere in the mist of modern technology.  Also, their calming affect takes me back to the days of running through the cool grass bare foot.  Eating homemade ice cream or drinking ice cold water from the hand pump down the lane when I visited my grandparents.  Oh, how I yearn for those days now.
Last, if you have an Amish community nearby and you haven’t visited, you should.  We can all learn from the Amish, and it’s a great family activity.  Additionally, you may also like:  Quilts, Transportation and Great Food.  
 
 

6 Tips To Save On Travel Food Budgets

travel food budgets

When I’m traveling with my family, setting travel food budgets is imperative.  I look for ways to save on meals, but also ensure we have a great time. My grandchildren like snacks and sandwiches.  But, I’m also feeding adults who need meals that will fill them up.  Eating 3 meals and snacks out for 7 days can be expensive for a family.  I have a grocery store budget and an eat out expense within my travel food budgets. Here’s a few ways that I ensure we stay within the set limits:

1.  Check Out Resorts That Offer Kitchens/Kitchenettes  –  First, I always book accommodations that have a full or partial kitchen. This allows me to cook meals and save on food expense.  Having a kitchen is great, especially when I’m traveling with my grandchildren. It’s difficult to get them up and out for breakfast and sometimes lunch.

2.  Look For Discounts in Travel Guides or Online – Second, I research local restaurants wherever I’m staying. And if I decide that I would like to check out a few of them  I search for a coupon or discount.

3.  Take Advantage of Happy Hour –  So, if you want to eat light check out restaurants that have happy hour.  I have taken advantage of specials on wings, burgers, stuffed mushrooms etc. It’s a great way to have a few adult beverages on the cheap too.

4.  Find The Local Grocery Store  – Next, I purchase snacks, drinks, bottled water and any items that I need for meals.  After checking in, this is the first task on my list. I’m able to purchase drinks and food for the beach, bathroom items, a candle to relax, batteries if needed and anything else on the list. I save a ton of money by taking this step.

5.  Check Out The Resort/Hotel Welcome Package –  Finally, I visit the hotel or resort concierge and ask for information on local activities or restaurants. They normally have a welcome package which contains coupons for local attractions and other valuable information.  Take the coupons into consideration, it will help with your budget.

6.  Look For Resorts/Hotels That Offer Free Activities – Most importantly, I look for resorts or hotels that offer water slides, lazy rivers, or firework displays.  In addition to the beach, I like to have nearby activities for the kids.  I search for coupons for miniature golf, amusement parks, seek out free concerts.  Furthermore, I use the savings for ice cream treats, Sno-cones etc. while we’re out and about.

Finally, don’t wait until a month or two before you arrive at your vacation destination to start saving. You should be saving all year for your vacation. This takes the stress off and any worries that everyone won’t be able to have a good time because of a cash shortage.

Additionally, you may also like 15 Ways You Can Save Money to help with your travel food budgets expense.



Kid’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Printable – Part 2

 

Our road trip series continues.  We have 2 additional printables that we have added to our Scavenger Hunt. It’s as bright and colorful as the first scavenger hunt printable too. Children like to choose just like adults. If you have more than one child they may not be interested in searching for the same items. Who wants to hear over and over, I don’t want that one or I’m not going to be able to find those things before the hunt begins. Keeping children occupied during a road trip can be challenging. If you’re like me, you don’t want electronic devices to be the solution to everything.  Especially, when there’s so much more that we can be enjoying.

What’s the goal of the trip? Isn’t it to arrive at your destination safely, create great memories along the way and enjoy your time when you arrive. Why get into a struggle and ruin the memory while you’re trying to get there. Pouting, crying and unhappy kids can make the trip seem much longer than is really is.   Give each of them their choice of scavenger hunt printables, a snack, drink, and let the trip begin.

Searching for different items and trying to finish first makes the hunt exciting and challenging. Take their mind off of how long it’s taking to arrive at your destination by getting them focused on their surroundings. One of your greatest memories will be the kids searching for the items, the conversations you will engage in while hunting for them and the peace you will find by having happy children. Now that is priceless.

Print the game on stock game if it’s available.  Stock paper is heavier than regular copy paper, and won’t tear as easily.  Purchasing clip boards is a great idea too.

You may also like this game: Road Trip Print:  Scavenger Hunt Game – Part 1

Kid’s Road Trip Games: Scavenger Hunt

Place an X on each item that you find.  Good Luck!  

road trip games for kids

road trip games for kids

 

Family road trips can be exciting, but they can also lead to a barrage of are we there yet if you’re traveling with children. Kids will be kids, but it’s enough to drive you crazy at times. I don’t know about your children, but anything over an hour seems to be more than my grandchildren can bear.  That is probably typical of most children to be honest. To make things interesting, I created a series of kid’s road trip games.  In particular, Travel Scavenger Hunts and word search puzzles.

Kid’s road trips games are perfect.  Playing them allows us time to unplug and enjoy the beauty surrounding us.  Additionally, road trips are a great way for children to observe the country side and what’s happenings on the interstate and highway.   Observations can lead to questions and interesting conversations with children.  Road trips can be a great way to bond.  Most importantly, you can make the trip educational and also memorable for everyone.

For this particular road trip game, children will love looking out the window in search of items on the paper. We come across most of them during our trips, and we have so much fun trying to find the items. If we find all of them all before we reach our destination we have other games to play. My grandson does word search puzzles, hidden objects or we do another Scavenger Hunt in the series.  I don’t know who has the most fun me or the kids.

Purchase a few clip boards and pencil or pens before you hit the road.  Be sure to print out several copies of the games.  I like to print the games on stock card.  It’s heavier than regular copy paper and that makes it easier to use without tearing.  You can also have the games laminated for a few dollars.  If you like our Scavenger Hunts please share and feel free to print for your use. Stay tuned for other printables in my Road Trip series.  You can download the kid’s road trip games here

You may also like:  Kid’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Part II

These Dinosaurs Are Larger Than Life

dinosaurs, T-Rex, prehistoric dinosaurs

                                                                          Dinosaur Land

Looking for inexpensive places to visit before the kids return to school? If you’re planning a trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia take time to check out Dinosaur Land. It’s an inexpensive roadside attraction that has been around since 1962, and is a great place for photo ops with the little dinosaur lover. 

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9 Budget Friendly Activities In Virginia Beach

beach activities, Virginia Beach, vacation ideas

As a single mother budgeting has become second nature to me. This year I will be spending a few days in Virginia Beach with my grandchildren instead of taking them to Myrtle Beach as we normally do.  Before I leave for vacation, I search for things to do to ensure we don’t get bored and find activities within my budget.  Unfortunately, many families think they can’t afford a vacation because they have to fund every activity for the entire week. Not true!

There’s more to Virginia Beach than the Atlantic Ocean and miles of sand.  So, the key is to research free and budget friendly things for the family to do before you leave for vacation or your get away. Make a list of Virginia Beach activities and discuss them with your family. If it’s something they aren’t interested in, you still have time to do additional research before you arrive.  I searched the Hampton Roads area, which  includes Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Williamsburg and Hampton. There’s something for everybody.  Here’s  9 of my favorite Virginia Beach activities:


1. Naval Station Norfolk 
– See the world’s largest naval base. The base houses 75 ships and 134 aircraft  carriers, cruisers, destroyers, large amphibious ships, submarines, supply ships, airplanes and helicopters. In addition, the tour includes historic homes in the Jamestown, VA area.


2.  Beach Street USA Entertainment – Next, you can find laser and light shows to interactive adventures based on a theme or popular movies. You could be required to unravel a murder mystery, play other games or compete in contests. Also, they have nights where you dress up as characters from movies or watch a movie on the beach. Check out the site for activities of for day.

                                                       photo from Virginia Legends 

3.  Virginia Beach Legend Walk – Free tour of Virginians who have made significant contributions to the country and/or world. Some of the inductee are Arthur Ashe, Patsy Cline, Katie Couric, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to name a few.  Great way to get a family conversation going on the inductees.








4.  Virginia Beach Amusement Park – The Hurricane, Skycraper, Music Express and Comic Storm are a few rides that you will discover on the boardwalk. Great entertainment for the entire family, and the park offers all day wrist bands too.

 

                                                                                                                 photo from Mt. Trashmore

5.  Mt. Trashmore Park –  Also, a 165 acre park that has 11 picnic shelters of various sizes, 2 volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, a skate park, restrooms, outdoor fitness stations, concessions and fishing awaits you. If you have a driver’s license or other photo ID you can check out badminton equipment, a football, frisbee, horseshoes, volleyball and net, wheelchairs and more.  So, it’s a great way to spend the day away from the beach and enjoy free activities along with a picnic.


                                                                      photo from Jungle Golf 


6.  Jungle Golf  – So, if you love miniature golf check out this 18 hole golf course with an air conditioned snack bar.

                                                                                                              Photo from Ocean Breeze Water Park


7.   Ocean Breeze Water Park  –  Fortunately, the park has over 30 rides, slides, and attractions.  Additionally, it is located approximately 10 minutes from the Virginia Beach ocean front. Parking, sunscreen and inner tubes are free. Trams are also available to help you breeze your way into the park.  Be sure to put this on your list.

 

fireworks, 4th of july


8.  Firework Display –  The firework display is awesome.  The fact that is ocean front makes it even better. So, be sure to check the schedule for dates and times.




9.  Hunt Club Farm – Last, Virginia Beach has plenty of ocean and sand. But, it also has a Petting Zoo and Pony Rides at Hunt Club Farm. They have chickens that are friendly enough to pickup, llamas, goats, peacocks, turkeys and many other animals.  They also offer pony rides, a playground area and shaded tables to enjoy a snack. The farm also sells homemade jams, jellies, soaps, candles and more.  So, be sure to grab a few souvenirs while you’re there.

Finally, the fireworks displays are truly spectacular over the ocean.  Be sure to add this to your Virginia Beach activities.  Additionally, my grandchildren love the petting zoo and pony rides at Hunt Club Farm. The Ocean Breeze Water Park is  a great way to spend the day too.  Adults and kids can enjoy Beach Street USA entertainment.  Most importantly, you can find something for everyone on my Virginia Beach activities list without breaking the bank.

Traveling Solo As A Female

 

females traveling solo, women traveling solo, travel tips for females


Traveling solo as a female can be invigorating. I’ve traveled solo many times for business and several times on a much needed vacation. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve been asked throughout my journeys, “Are you going alone?” “Don’t you have a friend to go with you?” or “You aren’t afraid to travel by yourself, I could never do that.” Lets not forget this one, “Do you get lonely?”

I remember the first time I traveled alone for vacation although I was married.  At the time my daughter was five years old.  So, I decided to head to Los Angeles to visit my sister and her family. It was the first time that my daughter and I had flown. My husband made sure we got on the plane without issues, and the flight to Los Angeles was smooth. The next task was to get our luggage and find my sister.

This too went without incident. I juggled luggage and a 5 year old through a international airport.  We had a great time in Los Angles and the surrounding areas. We made our way back to Washington-Dulles, and it was at that point I was bitten by the travel bug.

I started making my way around the country for my job shortly thereafter. Getting in and out of airports became second nature to me as well as either renting cars and driving in strange cities or hailing taxis to get from point A to B. When you have a job that requires you to travel, your company doesn’t pay for another person to accompany you so you don’t have to go alone. You put on your big girl pants and you conduct business. 

 

               Vacationing in Savannah, GA

I’m no longer married, but I still love to do personal travel. Yes I have friends that I could travel with, but trying to coordinate a week’s vacation with a friend or group of people can be taxing. I’ve been through that experience before, and it was by far worst than anything I’ve encountered while traveling solo.  I made a vow to never go there again.

I’m not one to sit around and wait for another person to get in a position financially to vacation or find the time for a vacation. Most importantly, because a person is alone doesn’t mean they are lonely. There’s a difference.

The people that I have met along the way have been insightful and have impacted my life immensely. On my last trip I met a lady at the airport that I have now become friends with. She called me her angel. I had arrived early at the airport and the United counter had not opened nor did they have a sign posted about their hours.

As a result, I asked if she knew what time the counter opened. She didn’t, but after a small conversation I could clearly see that she was stressed. She was on her way to the states as well; however, she was an inexperienced traveler. We talked and got to know each other and it turns out that she was from South Africa. In fact not far from where I would like to go on safari.

                                                                                  Vacationing In Mexico
It’s funny people see women who travel solo as courageous or brave. Why don’t they see men this way?  Actually I see myself as neither, I’m simply doing what I love to do. As a matter of fact, I believe traveling solo has contributed to making me who I am today. I also believe that every woman should travel solo at least once in their life. Here’s my tips for women traveling alone:

1. It Forces You To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – It requires you to face your fears. I was quite nervous the first time I traveled alone, but I pushed through and marched forward. As a result, I became quite confident in my abilities to reach a destination and enjoy myself. It is definitely a self-esteem boost.

2. It Broadens Your Perspective  – Traveling allows you to see that that there is another part of the world besides the little piece of paradise that you experience daily.  It allows you to interact with  people outside of your circle and allows you to get to know them and a little about their daily life.  I have met wonderful people along my journey, some I have remained in touch with and some I’ve just had a pleasant conversation with. All remain memorable.

3. It Allows You to Experience Different Cultures and Foods – One of the things that I love most is experiencing different cultures and treating myself to local dishes. Eating out by myself the first time was a little uncomfortable.  However, I decided to take my Kindle and catch up on my reading list. I noticed one lady who was traveling solo doodling.

People find a way to occupy themselves. I’m comfortable enjoying my meals alone and not feeling like an outcast. I’ve had people invite me to join them, but I’ve found I like relaxing and eating alone.  I’m really not into small talk or trying to force a conversation.  Getting on line and retrieving emails is a much better way for me to occupy my time.

4. It Teaches You To Think About Your Safety – Safety should be a major concern when traveling solo. It forces you to listen to your intuition and to become aware of your surroundings. I always do my homework before traveling. I educate myself on taxi fares so I will have some idea of what I should be buying. If I will be driving, I make sure I arrive during the day so I can reach my destination before night fall.

I make it a habit of checking my surroundings, and never venture too far my hotel at night. I always park under lights and always keep my doors locked when driving or in my hotel room. They make peep holes for a reason, I use it before opening the door for room service, maintenance etc.

5. You Return Feeling Like You Can Conquer The World – Traveling solo makes you stronger as a person. It enhances your leadership, planning and organizational skills. It allows you to get in touch with what you like and do they things you want to do. You get to plan and set your own schedule and not feel obligated to anyone. It’s freeing and totally invigorating!

We’ve come a long way baby. We have women who are executives in corporations or own their own businesses and they travel constantly. It seems that traveling for business is acceptable, but there’s still a stigma for a woman traveling alone for personal reasons.  Women want to feel invigorated, and they are refusing to be stifled in any matter.  So, please let us assert our independence.

Virginia Beach Neptune Festival

 

Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, summer activities in Virginia Beach, Things To Do In Virginia, beach activities

 

If you’re looking for an event to attend with the family in the Hampton Roads area, check out the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, VA. It’s a great way to spend the day with the family, soak up some sun and end the summer with a bang.

First, the festival start in September.  So, be sure to check the site for up to date information.  You can stroll along the boardwalk from 18th – 29th street and find vendors under a sea of white canopies selling their wares.  Furthermore, the smell of delicious foods will engulf you. If you decide to attend, find the vendor selling the fish tacos. They are yummy in your tummy. Also, they sell veggie burgers, gyros, and a variety of other foods.   Musicians will gladly entertain throughout the day.

Next, what excites me about the festival is the artists who create the sand sculptures.  They are amazing.  So, the sculptors bring their skills from the USA and around the world.  I have seen sculptors from Russia, Holland, Canada, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland and Singapore.  As a result, big money is up for grabs and big sculptures will rise on the sand. The precision that the sculptors use is incredible.

As a result, it is so much fun to walk along the beach and check out these beautiful works of art.  To give you a taste of what you will see here’s a few pictures from prior festivals:

 

 

 

As a matter of fact, the first time that I saw sand sculptures was in Venice Beach, CA.  I couldn’t believe that such beautiful artwork could be made out of sand.  I was hooked.  Fortunately, my daughter moved to Virginia Beach years ago.  So, I try to attend the Neptune Festival when I can.  The sand artists never disappoint.

Additionally, if you’re willing to pay an entry fee, you can sit under this massive canopy.  If the weather is not cooperating, it’s a perfect place to watch the artists sculpt.  The fee also allows you to mingle with the artists.

Last, mark your calendar for the annual Neptune Festival.  Parking can be found on Pacific Avenue without too much trouble.  And, it allows easy access to the boardwalk.  Be sure to bring a stroller for baby, hat and your sunscreen. You’ll want to spend the day.  Finally, you may also like 9 Budget Friendly Activities in Virginia Beach.

10 Beach Safety Tips

beach safety, children's beach safety tips



Kids often get excited and need reminders on beach safety.  Being safe in and around the water is a must. Although my granddaughter doesn’t like the ocean, she heads toward the water to fill her bucket for sand castles.  As a result, we need to have somebody watching the water and somebody watching her on the beach.  My grandson on the other hand will stay in the water until he shrivels up. We need someone to stay in the water with him until it’s time to take a break.

I’ve put together a few rules that we use for beach safety. Our beach safety tips will help keep your child out of harm’s way in and out of the water.  As parents it is our responsibility to keep our children safe:

  • Never enter the water alone  –  Make sure children understand that they should only enter the water with an adult or older child.
  • Set limits – Provide an area that they are not to wade past while in the ocean.
  • Observe your surroundings  – Teach them to look for family or landmarks when they want to come out of the water.
  • Train your children to listen – Teach them to listen for the lifeguard’s whistle when they’re in the water and to follow instructions from the lifeguard and family.
  • Stay Hydrated  – They should understand the importance of taking a break from the water to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Offer water, fruit flavored waters or Gatorade instead of soda or sugary fruit drinks.
  • Apply Sunscreen – Make sure everyone is adequately covered in sunscreen. My dermatologist recommended Neutrogena. A beach hat is a good idea too.
  • Explain Signs – Make sure kids understand safety signs posted around the beach.
  • Provide Adult Supervision –  Make sure an adult is always present to oversee the children in the water and on the beach.
  • Re-enforce Stranger Danger  – The beach is full of people, so go over the rules of interacting with strangers, especially adults.
  • Provide a Shaded Area – Set up an umbrella so everyone can rest in the shade and allow the body to cool down and refuel.

What rules do you have for the beach?  We would love to add them to our list.  You may also like:  15 Summer Activities For Kids