Monday, June 24, 2013

Williamsburg KOA, Williamsburg, VA

When? June 21-24, 2013
Where? Williamsburg KOA, Williamsburg, VA
Cost? $59.90 (after taxes & all)/night + $3.00/night resort fee
Hookups? Full hookup, 30 amp
Type? Standard water, 30 amp electric, sewer
Site #? A31, no - A52, no - A51 (finally settled in A51)
Check in? 1pm
Check out? 11am
Characters? Heather & Jon
Weather? 80-90s during the day, 70s at night

This will be a very short recap of our trip since well, we weren't at the campground all that much.

Friday, we headed to the storage lot to pick up the trailer. Got hooked up and rolled out towards Williamsburg, VA. Around 12:30 or so, we stopped at a rest stop so that Jon could eat lunch. We got back on the road and headed towards the Williamsburg KOA.

 We arrived at Colonial KOA at about 1pm. The sign just before the campground said to check in there for both KOAs, so we stopped. Dude behind the counter told me to go ahead down to Williamsburg KOA (about .25 miles away). They had just opened the guest services down there for the summer and they'd help me. Um, ok, but the sign says... whatever.

So, we go down to Williamsburg KOA. I get checked in, pay for the stay, the girl runs the receipt and the paper runs out. Ok, I've been a cashier... been there, done that. So, I patiently wait and help as much as I can to get the new roll in. I had been there for at least 15 minutes, so I told her not to worry about it if it was just our copy. We headed over to the site we were assigned - A31 - and there's a car parked in it.

Back up to the check in. Turns out that the long term "resident" at A32 had decided A31 was his own personal parking area... and the staff refused to talk with him. Well, the teenage girl went & knocked on the trailer door. When they didn't answer, she was like "there's nothing we can do". Um, ok, well, find a new spot for us. So, she assigned us to A52.

Armed with a new spot, we go find it. Um yea... it's like 25 ft long, with no where to park the truck. So, we decided just to tow back to the check in. The teenage girl said "but your trailer is 24 ft!" We had to explain to her (after she had just seen the truck & trailer) that we did still need a place to park the truck and there was no where to do so on that spot. So, she moved us to A51. That turned out to be fine. Mind you that it's now 2pm. It took us a full hour to check in and get a spot... and we were the ONLY people checking in.

I should also note that A30 was completely open. She said they had someone coming in on Sunday that was assigned to that sport. Couldn't be bothered to see if they could move the people coming in 2 days. Sigh. From a check-in point, I couldn't recommend this specific KOA.

After (finally) checking in and getting set up, we jumped back in the car and headed to Busch Gardens. We stayed out until about 9pm.

Saturday was a busy day; we left around 7:30am. I had a lot of triathlon "stuff" to do pre-race. (Different blog, different post) Let's just say, we finally got back to the camp site around 8pm and promptly put ourselves in bed because we had a 3am wake up call.

Sunday was race day (again, different blog, different post). We left the trailer at 3am and got back around 1:30pm. EARLY day! After the race, we got back and I showered, then we headed out to run a couple of quick errands and to see friends of ours. They just finished having their retirement home built in Williamsburg. They invited us over to see the house and I was super excited about it! They also invited us to stay for dinner. We had such a GREAT time with them.

Monday, we decided to have breakfast at the Astronomical Pancake House. I had the bacon pancakes. What Jon had doesn't matter because I had BACON pancakes. One more time... BACON PANCAKES! After breakfast, we packed up & headed out. We made it home JUST before the thunderstorms. Whew!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Misty Mountain Camp Resort (Adults) Trip, Charlottesville, VA - Day 4

We woke up to yet another dreary day. It was kind of drizzly and foggy in the mountains. as long as we were in a valley, it wasn't too foggy. After breakfast and cleaning up a bit, we headed to RH & Jessica's campsite to go about our daily activities.

What were those daily activities? Well, it turns out none of us had ever been to Monticello. We were too close not to go, so we planned on spending the morning there. RH & Jessica were planning on leaving in the afternoon and we were staying until Monday.

Monticello. The home of Thomas Jefferson. We parked & went into the visitors center to purchase our house tour tickets ($24/person). We were lucky enough to get the 10:20am tour that we basically had just enough time to get to. They have a 20 minute movie to watch before heading to the house, but we didn't have enough time to watch it. We headed straight to the bus that takes you to the house. Once at the top of the mountain, we got off the bus and found that we had about 15 minutes to explore a little. We decided to walk the gardens a bit. (Note: they have a free garden tour if you've got time to do it while you're there.)

We had to gather about 5 minutes before our tour time. Once everyone was together, we were lead to the house by the "outside tour guide" who was friendly and normal. We were handed off to the "inside tour guide" who was friendly and overly excited about TJ's house and history. Just sayin. She assumed certain things were common knowledge, which it appeared were not given some of the questions she got. Then again, the person asking them may not have been all that in tune with history either. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the house.

After we escaped from the inside tour guide... I mean, were finished with the tour... we headed out to walk the grounds a little. We also toured the underground part of the house (where we WERE allowed to take pictures). After a stop in the little shop at the house, we walked down to the cemetery and then continued on to the visitors center & larger gift shop.

After a bit of retail therapy, we headed back to the car and we all decided that lunch yesterday was so good, we wanted to go back. So, we made our way back to Greenwood Gourmet Grocery and ordered sandwiches. We got back to the campsite and RH & Jessica came over to enjoy lunch with us. They brought the rest of the ice cream from the night before and we had leftover quinoa salad from our dinner 2 nights ago. Perfect!

We helped RH & Jessica get the outside of their trailer packed up some and then said our good-byes. Jon & I decided we'd like to go back to Shenandoah National Park to stop at a couple of the overlooks we skipped over on Friday. Note: if it's foggy & rainy, it'll be a lot worse towards the tops of the mountains. We ended up turning around before we got into SNP. The fog was so bad that we weren't going to enjoy driving Skyline, nor would we be able to see anything at the overlooks. Not worth the stress. So, we headed back to the campsite.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing, exploring the campgrounds a little more, and packing stuff up. All in all, a good day.

Would I recommend Monticello? Sure, on a sunny day and if you have some time to explore a bit.

Monday morning, we finished packing up and headed out. We wanted to be back home by 4 or so, so we moved out relatively early. Looking forward to our next trip!

Misty Mountain Camp Resort (Adults) Trip, Charlottesville, VA - Day 3

When we were discussing this trip with RH & Jessica, we all decided that there were way too many wineries in the area not to do a wine tour!

We knew we wanted to hire a driver/car for the day so that we didn't have to keep one person sober. I took on coordinating this and looked into the campground's option ($250 for a van for 5 hrs) and Wish Wish ($210 for a suburban for 5 hrs) with JNJ Transportation. We decided to go with Wish Wish. I talked with Jennifer from JNJ to set up our pick up time/date.

We had set up an 11am pickup (based on the fact that most wineries are open from 10am-5pm) on Saturday and that it'd give us plenty of time to get to places. We woke up to a kind of dreary & drizzly day. Jennifer called me around 10:45 and asked where to go once at the campgrounds & I told her we'd meet her at the front. Our campsites weren't far enough to have her come in to get us.

We met Jennifer and discussed the logistics of the day. We knew we needed to grab lunch somewhere. Beyond that, we didn't have much of a plan. Jessica wanted to go to Jefferson Vineyards, but upon the recommendation of Jennifer, we didn't go. She said it's gotten a bit too commercial recently. Jennifer recommended the Greenwood Gourmet Grocery for sandwiches. She said if we wanted to, we could order and then she'd pick it up if it was too much of a wait.

But first, wine! Our first stop was King Family Vineyards. We really enjoyed the atmosphere here. Enough that we bought a bottle, some cheese, and baguette, and chilled for a while. The tasting fee was $7 per person, which included the glass. I'm not sure I've ever been to a winery that includes a glass for you to take with you in their tasting fee. Guess it gets them out of doing dishes.

They had probably the only VA viognier that I've ever liked.

"I use antlers in all of my decorating..."
Roseland wine. Tasty!

After King Family, we decided to go ahead and get lunch. This way, it was on the way. Jennifer had given us the option of placing the order and then her coming back for it, but it was only a 15 minute wait, so we decided just to wait for it. While we were in the store, RH found a beer that he liked, so he bought some and had Jennifer run him back to the campsite (since it was literally 2 minutes down the road) while we waited for the food. After we got the sandwiches, we piled back into the car and headed towards our next winery. We all ate a bit before we got there and all agreed that we enjoyed what we got.

Ou second stop was Pollak Vineyards. I personally felt like we were in their way or that they weren't thrilled to have people tasting. Not sure if it was just our person or what. Turns out that they were having issues with their internet connection making processing payments very difficult (which is probably why they seemed annoyed). The building was very modern/contemporary and not super warm & comfy. For some reason, I like wineries to be more "homey"; I guess they make me want to stay a bit more. The wine was ok, but not great.

After we got back in the van, Jennifer asked what we thought and we all said "a little too modern for us", so she took that into account with the next one. We finished lunch on the way to the next winery, which was a very good idea.

Our third stop was Afton Mountain Vineyards. We loved it here. The wine was good, the people were awesome, and it was so relaxing. I could've spent the rest of the day here, on their porch. They have two tastings, the house ($5) and reserve ($7). We did the house tasting, with the pinot nior thrown in (I have no idea how much our tasting fee ended up being since the pinot nior is on their reserve list). Jon & I ended up buying a bottle of everything we tasted. Yes, we liked it that much. But before we bought all of the wines, we bought a bottle for the four of us to split and a cheese ball with a baguette. I hate cheese. No seriously, it's not my thing. Well, certain types are, but not all of them. I'm picky. I recognize this and I just go along with the flow. So, the other three were enjoying the cheese ball and RH says the magic words "this tastes a lot like parmesan". That's one cheese I like! Now I had to try it. And it was amazing. We kept the card off the cheese ball so that I could look it up later. I'm glad we did  because I now have three of them in my freezer. Simply Cheddar delivers! (And yes, they're just as good sober as they are "happy".)

This was our view while we were tasting
Our view while relaxing

After spending at least an hour (maybe an hour and a half?) at Afton, we decided to head to Bold Rock Cidery. Now, I'm not into cider, but the other three are, so I was cool with making a stop there. Besides, you'll never know if you really like/don't like something if you don't try it. So, we made our way to Bold Rock. They have four ciders; one light, one dark, two sparkling. I liked the light one the best, Jon liked both. We got a mixed 6 pack that was already chilled to enjoy during the rest of the trip. The tastings here are done in the warehouse, which is a little weird, but it works. If the weather had been nicer, there are places outside to sit and enjoy a cider or two.

After Bold Rock, our time with Jennifer was running up, so she took us back to the campground. She was kind enough to drop us off at our respective campsites so that we didn't have to lug our purchases all over the place (and look like alcoholics).

We put everything we weren't planning to drink that night (read: everything but the Bold Rock) in the truck and headed to RH & Jessica's site for dinner and a campfire. It had finally cleared up some, which was good. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

We had a great time socializing with RH & Jessica. We all called it a night and set plans for Sunday morning.

Next up: Monticello