Thursday, November 21, 2013

Family Getaway to Lake Anna

Over Veteran's Day weekend we traveled to Lake Anna with my family. We rented a great house that was located directly on the water. Lake Anna is the second largest lake in the state of Virginia, measuring 17 miles long with 200 miles of shoreline. The greatest part of this little weekend getaway was that it was only about an hour and forty-five minutes from DC. You can take I-95 to Fredericksburg or I-66 to I-29 if you're looking for more of a scenic route.

The name of the house we rented was Libby's Landing and my mom just so happened to stumble across it online at Vacation Rentals. It had great reviews so we thought we'd give it a shot and it certainly didn't disappoint! As you can see from the pictures it is a huge house with 6 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. Its peak season are the summer months for fishing and boating; however, we found it to be the perfect fall escape.

A view from our backyard
Lake Anna is about 50 miles outside of Charlottesville so we decided to make a day trip into town on Saturday. We enjoyed lunch at Michie Tavern which had some of the best fried chicken I've ever tasted! One of my dad's cousins, Cathy, and her husband, Hal, live in Charlottesville so they came and joined us for lunch. The Tavern itself is located about half a mile below Monticello and accommodated travelers with food, drink and lodging more than 200 years ago. Today visitors are welcome to tour the grounds and dine at their rustic restaurant where the servers dress is period attire and offer you nothing but the best southern hospitality. Their buffet is based on 18th century Southern recipes so be prepared for a very rich and filling meal! Following lunch we visited the General Store and stopped for a family picture.
The General Store 

After lunch we headed up the hill to Monticello. We were excited to tour the grounds of Thomas Jefferson's home but were disappointed to discover that all the home tours were sold out through the afternoon. We decided that it wasn't worth the price of admission to go on the grounds without getting an opportunity to tour the home so we visited their new museum and then headed to Carter Mountain Orchard for some tasty apple cider doughnuts! This is a great place to take kids on a nice day. They offer hayrides, apple picking and gorgeous views.
Playing at Monticello's children's museum
Gorgeous views from Carter Mountain Orchard
The best apple cider donuts!!!
On our way home from Charlottesville we decided to make a pit stop at Barboursville Vineyards which is home to Virginia's Octagon wine. We enjoyed a fun wine tasting (16 to be exact!) and a gorgeous sunset before heading back to the house for the evening. Carter went without an afternoon nap on Saturday so he was beyond tired by the time we hit the road to head home! It was the perfect time of year to be in Charlottesville. All the leaves had changed color and the views were spectacular.

We decided that Sunday was meant for rest and relaxation! We enjoyed being outside and taking advantage of the beautiful weather and of course the guys had to squeeze in some quality time for football. Mom and I even managed to convince the guys to take a few family pictures. My mom always struggles to find the perfect picture for her Christmas card and I now realize her frustration. It's not easy getting the entire family together and snapping that perfect picture but I certainly think we managed to do it this year. I made sure to leave those pictures off the blog for a Christmas surprise, ha!

Since Chris, Carter and I are staying in DC for Thanksgiving I decided it would be fun to have a separate pre-Thanksgiving dinner with my family since we were all going to be together. Chris fixed a rack of pork and green beans and I was in charge of the sweet potato casserole. We also managed to squeeze in some biscuits and cranberry sauce onto our plates too! It was a wonderful meal and it was nice to be together as a family considering we won't see each other at Thanksgiving. We also celebrated another Panther victory which made dinner even better!

Lazy day around the lake
Can you tell that Carter enjoyed his first fishing experience? Ha, maybe uncle Justin will have better luck next time. Carter wasn't the biggest fan of our evening fires either. 
These ducks came to visit with us every time we walked down to the dock. Notice how Chris is trying to show them "all finished" in the picture above when he ran out of bread. The ducks weren't happy.
Yummy rack of pork, Carter's Jacuzzi tub for the weekend, lounging by the fire while watching TV and snuggling with dad. Hard to beat!! 

The best thing about the group shot in this frame is what happened immediately beforehand. We had our camera set-up on a tripod so Chris had to move very quickly from the shoreline to the pier to get in place. He was in the process of running from the tripod and made a jump to the pier and little did he know that one of our friendly ducks was directly beneath him in the water. I guess Chris's sudden movement scared the duck so he flew up directly at Chris. There was a huge splash and we all thought Chris fell into the water. Notice how we're all laughing except for Carter. He wasn't amused. 
Pre-Thanksgiving dinner with the family. Notice how we all got dressed for the occasion. 
It was just the weekend we all needed. If you haven't visited the Charlottesville area I highly suggest making a trip. There were several things that we didn't get to see while we were there so I would certainly go back. I had a number of people tell me that Charlottesville has some of the best restaurants they've ever eaten at so if you have a babysitter or can manage to get away for an adult weekend let me know and I will send you the recommendations. If you plan a trip there in the fall make sure to check UVA's home game schedule.

I'm not sure if I'll get another post up between now and Thanksgiving. I feel like we've had so much going on lately. So in case I don't get to say this later, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving full of love and joy. It's been a great year and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.