Sunday, October 3, 2010

All Around the Town....

With summer being so hot this year, it was difficult to think about planning short-term excursions anywhere. Sure, we did the long trek in August. It's tradition! But we didn't make many day-long picnic/hike/park outings locally. We're making up for that as the Fall season is just getting started.

A week after we hiked Zoar State Forest, we took a short drive to downtown Richmond and visited one of our favorite river stops--Belle Isle.

Belle Isle is right on the James River. You take a wonderful pedestrian bridge to reach it. (That's Route 1 above.)

It provides for spectacular open views and gives photographers a nice perch for those great cityscape shots they put in the tourism brochures. (It was worth hanging out on the bridge for a few minutes to wait for the train. Never-say-die PR person....)

There are some days when the James is mighty frothy and kayaks are aplenty. The drought has calmed things down considerably. But, the people definitely came out to enjoy a warm Sunday afternoon on the river rocks.

If you come down to the river
I bet you gonna find some people who live
And you don't have to worry if you got no money
People on the river are happy to give.
Rollin' on the river....

The James is full of rocks, which is why it can be a bit dangerous some days. On our outing, it was fairly tame, although kids maneuvering from rock to rock means you need to keep on your toes (and not taking pictures!).

Besides climbing on rocks, there is a long trail, part nature/part historical--that leads around the island. The trumpet lilies from Zoar also found themselves in a thick patch of vines near this swampy lake...

with a turtle!

We enjoyed sitting on the rocks for quite awhile. We also met some puppies. The trail is a very popular spot for people to bring their pets (for a swim!). Overheard a man talking with some other dog-walking visitors about his teeny tiny gray-furred pup that he found. This little puppy wouldn't stop coming over to us for a nuzzle. Tried to follow us back onto the trail. [No, we're still not getting a dog...really...but it was starting to tug on some old heartstrings.] Anyhow, his new owner called him back--"AWOL. Come here, AWOL!" Of all the names....

Although we ended up coming home really muddy (and somewhat damp, in some cases), we had a good time.

* * *

This past weekend, we went to a local carnival, "Celebrating Families." A local church has put on this event for the past 3 years for special needs kids and their families. This was the first year we decided to venture out and take in the sights.

As soon as we pulled in the parking lot, RJ2 spotted the jumpolene. Oh boy! Would she ever leave?!

We did manage to pull her out for a bit. Had to check out the cool trains running around the parking lot. Waiting on line, we discovered one of RJ2's classmates from preschool with her mom and sister. Wow! Fun!! All aboard....

Little red caboose
Little red caboose
Riding behind the train....

As we were walking through the array of stations, CJ noticed the gigaballs. She spent most of her time at the carnival either inside one of these or helping to push someone else who was inside one of these. Definitely not for me, but the kids found it quite fun.

Of course, we had to make one last stop back at--you guessed it--the jumpolene. Practically shut it down with RJ2 inside. We decided to make the carnival a stop for next year, for sure, and we'll have to make it a date with our old friends.

Into October now, with a middle school dance, a big anniversary, birthdays and trick-or-treating still to come. Hoping our delighfully cool weather sticks around for a bit and that the girls will entertain their mama's wish to go back to Zoar one more time in the changing leaves. We'll see....

One thing's for sure, the new interest in hand-clapping games will keep these girls giggling and playing together for awhile, yet.

The Fresh Beat Band went to the store
Here's what they spent their money for....


izzy said...

That huge ball looks fun! How many kids can get in? =P

CJ said...

Um...A LOT!! You are right, it is fun!!

Edie said...

What a fun day! I might give that big ole ball a try. :)