We arrived to smiles and hugs from the Clarks on April 26th. Thankfully, we made an overnight stop in LA to chop up our jet lag, so we’re not as bad as we should be from Maui. This is the first leg of our 104-day trip this summer!
Here are a few of the fun things to do in Virginia with kids.
Air and Space Museum
Our first adventure was heading into Washington DC from Aldie in order to renew our Swiss passports. Since we’ve done a bunch of the Smithsonian Museums and walked the monuments on past trips, we decided to head to the Udvar-Hazy Center, the larger and more impressive Air and Space Museum outside of DC and closer to home (Aldie). We’ve been here before, and it’s just so impressive! This time we tried the virtual WWII airplane ride, and we also went up into the tower.
The main attractions are the Space Shuttle and the SR-71 Blackbird. Natalie’s grandfather worked at SkunkWorks and helped develop the SR-71 as a problem solver, so it has extra significance to us. They had a large display available with an old engineer that was available to speak directly from his home. We asked many questions and shared some stories about Grandpa. Apparently, the project was super secret, and he would disappear for weeks and months without being able to tell his daughters or wife where he was off to (packing both warm and cold weather items to throw them off the scent.)
The Branch Bowling
We’ve never taken the kids bowling before, so we were extra excited to share The Branch. It’s been ages since we’ve gone ourselves (probably 20 years), and a lot has changed. On a large display, they had really fun video animations using our own faces whenever we bowled. The rails for the kids also came up automatically each time one of the little ones was up to bowl. They served us food and beers, and there was a game area right next to the lanes.
We watched William play Lacrosse during one of Virginia’s super-long summer sunsets. It turns out that lacrosse is one of the more popular sports out here. It was great seeing William hustle on the field.
Walks, Sharks and Minnows
Springtime is gorgeous in Virginia, and there are endless paths and forests to walk through. Our kids are pretty freaked out about ticks and Lyme disease, so we stuck to more open areas along small lakes, ponds and cleared-out paths. Since they live on a street with loads of other kids, there was plenty of opportunity to play in the street with the neighbors.
This is the kind of place that gets my business brain buzzing! You rent an hour within a couched cubicle on a tower open to a giant field served up as a driving range. Wait staff bring you food and drinks, and you swing away. It’s genius. So much fun! Doing the math, after initial (massive) costs in building the property and the software and tracking system, you’re making quite a bit per hour. It was pretty full too. They must be making a killing. We had a great time here for Sophie’s birthday.
Frying pan Park Farm
We toured this beautiful farm, which we were told was 5 farms that came together to allow the public in for demonstrations and fun experiences. There are just so many animals: pigs, cows, horses, chickens, goats, and more. We even managed to catch the cow milking session where we got to watch them set up a machine that pumped out a few gallons pretty quickly. They then asked if we wanted to try, and of course, we did! My first time milking a cow!
7 days are never enough in Virginia with our favorite people, so we’ll be coming back at the end of the summer to share our crazy trip with them.
Next Stop: Geneva, Switzerland!