Goff Speak: Last-minute family day trips

Between summer travel and camp schedules, there are always those random holes in your calendar where nothing is planned. Here’s a list of places you can easily head to on the fly.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens / Photo courtesy of Angie Goff

I am the queen of the day-of day trip. It drives my husband nuts, but it always ends with a that-was-fun spontaneous adventure. Between summer travel and camp schedules, there are always those random holes in your calendar where nothing is planned. If your family is like mine and likes to always be “doing,” here’s a list of places you can easily head to on the fly:

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna
Meadowlark is more than 100 gorgeous acres of gardens, bridges and cherry trees. The children love running up and down the rolling hills. There are beautiful gazebos and three sparkling ponds. One year my daughter and I went on a fairy hunt after she fell in love with the fairy garden right outside the atrium. The kids also are fans of the tea party garden and bat cave. One of my favorite parts is the Korean Bell Garden. It is a symbol of the friendship between Virginia and South Korea, where my mother is from.

TIP: Meadowlark hosts one of the most spectacular light displays during the holidays.

Great Country Farms
8780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont
It doesn’t matter what month it is, I can always count on something fun going down at this farm. Some special times this summer include the Peach Daze Fuzztival, which kicks off with a peach pancake breakfast, peach eating battle and peach pit spitting battle. The farm always has adorable animals the kids can see including my favorite, Elmer the pig. You can make a day of it out on the farm: wagon rides, pumpkin jumping pillow, mini golf and fishing, too.

TIP: On the way home don’t forget to stop by Hill High Bakery on Route 7 and pick you up one of those famous pies.

Salamander Resort and Spa
500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg
This is a wonderful place to go with your other half if you just need to get away. You can do it on a budget in a day. Book a spa treatment and then brunch after. There are many great vineyards, like Barrel Oak and Boxwood wineries. The shops in downtown Middleburg are fun to peruse, and grabbing a scoop at Scruffy’s Ice Cream Parlor is a must. We’ve found the resort to be very kid-friendly. Call the equestrian center and book a pony ride after lunch. There’s also big courtyard where the kids can play on the giant chess set or get in on a game of ladder golf or croquet.

TIP: Love both horses and yoga? Try a horseback yoga class in the stables.

(July 2016)

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