Mom’s Summer Camp

So, as many of you can see I have not been writing on this blog very much as of late.  I have had a whirlwind of things happen since my last posting.

Besides the holidays, my husband and I tried to put our house on the market to sell.  What a disaster!  I think we kind of flung ourselves into the house buying process after seeing some bright and shiny new builds.  With our latest addition to the family (Caroline) we seem to be running out of room in our current home.  Our oldest is now upstairs in the old playroom but the problem with that is there is no door for privacy.  And I never thought that an eight year old would need so much privacy already!

Well, turns out we were ready to sell our house, but our house was not ready to be sold.  We had multiple offers but our roof started to leak and after an inspection found out that we had previous termite damage.  I won’t go into that…it will take this whole blog posting and we aren’t here for that today.   So, needless to say we replaced our roof and we fixed all damage (which was a support wall behind our front porch) and reinvested almost $8,000 back into our home.  Savings?  What savings?

So, with selling put on hold, we focused on getting our oldest done with second grade.  School is out for summer!  I am so relieved that we made it through another year.  But, now I was going to be faced with having a small, almost tween tell me everyday how bored she was.  I am all for her watching some entertaining shows and having a trusty ipad to help with boredom, but not when kids become zombies in front of youtube all day.  I then devised a plan to keep the kiddos entertained all summer long.  It took me about four days off and on of working to find inexpensive and free things to do around the Hampton Roads area.

I would like to share that list of items with you in hopes that it will inspire your own summer adventure and also to share some of the fun things our metropolitan area has to offer.  Over the next few weeks, I will share weekly plans of things to do in our hometown.  I am also hoping this will kick-start my writing and make me more accountable to get things done!

The start of the summer is Farm Week.  I know, I know… a third grader doesn’t need different units to teach her like a preschooler.  To be fair I do also have a one and two-year old tagging along on all our excursions.

Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton was our first stop.  This little gem is a country setting in an otherwise urban environment.  It is a 60-acre farm and has around 150 domestic and wild animals.  Birds, deer, turtles and the traditional farm animals are just a handful of what there is to see.   An antique display barn offers a history of tools traditionally used on farms and there is also a pathway through a small botanical garden.  My kids enjoyed reading books in the garden and feeding the goats.  A pavilion with plenty of picnic tables and a grill is available for reservations if you have a large party with other tables scattered around the property.  So, you may enjoy your picnic lunch in between seeing all the animals and playing on the playground.  There are snack and drink vending machines location in the barns and a concession stand.  Other features include a nature trail and a new stage and seating for special events.  You could spend the whole afternoon at the farm.  The best part about Bluebird Gap Farm…is it is free!

We have been a few times but on this last outing we realized that Grant was terrified of all the animals and had to make a hasty retreat back to the car.

Bluebird Gap Farm is located at 60 Pine Chapel Road, Hampton, VA 23666 and is open 6 days a week. Their hours of operation are Wednesday thru Monday, with the same hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The farm is closed on all Tuesdays and major holidays.

Our next stop at “summer camp” will be Greenbrier Farms.  This historic farm was established in 1916 and is renowned for its introductions of newly cultivated plants that were developed there.  In 1973 the nursery operation relocated to the Hickory area of Chesapeake. The farm’s main office is located in the beautiful farmhouse on the property.  Today, the new ‘Greenbrier Farms Nursery’ has 500+ acres with quality trees and shrubs and 12 acres of greenhouses.  The nursery offers several pick-your-own seasons throughout the year including strawberries, peaches and pumpkins.  It also has a Christmas tree lot annually.  Additionally, Greenbrier Farms has opened the property to the public for sight seeing and education tours, school field trips, weddings and photo sessions.    We are going to take a tour of the property, take many photo opportunities and pick as many strawberries as our buckets can handle.

Greenbrier Farms is located at 225 Sign Pine Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322

After we have picked our hearts out we will travel a few minutes down the road to Northwest River park.    This park is situated off the beaten path down a winding country road.  Located on the banks of the Northwest River in Southeastern Chesapeake, the 763-acre park is an amazing blend of scenic beauty and recreational past times.  The park offers year-round boating, fishing, and hiking. If that isn’t your thing the park also has an 18-hole Disc golf course, miniature golf course, horseshoes, and volleyball nets. The park has 66 campsites and two rental cabins as well.  We will be playing on the playground that is by the outside pavilion and hiking trails.  The kids love it because it feels secluded and not usually crowded.  The park is open 9 a.m. to sunset year round and is located at 1733 Indian Creek Rd, Chesapeake, VA 23322.

To round out our farm week, we will visit the Farmers Market.  The Virginia Beach Farmers Market is open all year-long and has a variety of agriculturally inspired shops that offer seasonal fresh vegetables and fruit. ​​​​​ There is an organic grocer, butcher shop, seafood market, dairy and ice cream shop,  a florist, old timey candy store, bakery, full-menu restaurant, wild bird store, and home and garden gift stores.  This offers a unique shopping experience. The market’s farm-to-table produce allows you to experience some of the best our community has to offer.  Visit the Farmers Market at 3640 Dam Neck Road, Suite 510, Virginia Beach, VA.

Last but not least, we will picnic and play at Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach.  Mount Trashmore Park has 165 acres and is composed of two man-made mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skate park and vert ramp and trails. ​​​​​The main mountain, ​Mount Trashmore, is 60 feet high and 800 feet long.  The mountain was created by compacting solid waste and clean soil. Yea, it is a former landfill turned awesome park.  The smaller mountain, Encore Hill is located just steps away.   Lake Windsor and Lake Trashmore offer natural beauty in a very urban environment.  My oldest loves playing here.  The larger of the two parks offers a pretty big play area and swings.  I will tell you, it’s a great park, but often can be over crowded as it is centrally located in the city and easily accessible by highway.  I recommend this park for parents of older kids who can be trusted to play and stay!  Chasing a two-year old through a crowd of other parents and kids is certainly a work out.

Mount Trashmore is located at 310 Edwin Drive, Virginia Beach, VA

Those are my recommendations for a great family farm themed adventure.  Join me next week for my take on a “zoo theme” for Mom’s Summer Camp.   Also, keep an eye out for my regular blog postings on genealogy and local fun historic things to do in our area!





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