Note: I had issues with my site after publishing this post, so I recalled it, and I’m trying again!
Hubby, Little J and I recently had the chance to visit Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, Maryland, which is about 40 minutes south of Baltimore. If you’re ever up that way, this is an inexpensive, interesting National Historic Landmark to visit. I’m used to visiting historic mansions and houses where you get to see the downstairs and that’s about it. At Montpelier, you actually get to climb the stairs and go to the upper level! It sounds like such a little thing, but it was neat to see the majority of the house. Tickets are $5 for adults, and kids are free or $2 depending on the age. Montpelier Mansion is a Blue Star Museum, so it’s free for active-duty military, National Guard, and reservists and their family members between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Montpelier Mansion was built between 1781 and 1785 by Maj. Thomas Snowden and his wife, Anne. Guests at the home included George Washington and Abigail Adams.
Upstairs, there’s a children’s room where almost everything is hands-on. They can try on clothes, write on chalk slates, and play with old-fashioned wooden toys.
One really cool thing about the property- they’ve found dinosaur skeletons there! Some of those bones are now on display at the Smithsonian, but there’s a cool kid’s dinosaur room on the property where Little J was able to play with some toy dinosaurs and dinosaur bone replicas, and even build a 3D wood dinosaur skeleton!
We had a fun time, and considering that most of the exhibits had A/C, it was a great place to explore in this summer heat! I recommend visiting Montpelier Mansion if you’re in the area.
What historic places have you visited this summer?
So this post is all about my hair and specifically, growing out my pixie hair cut, which is just a painful process.
I first had my hair cut into a pixie in the late spring of 2014. I was hooked. Over the next few hair cuts, I went progressively shorter, and I even tried to rock an undercut for a month or so. I was inspired by THIS glorious Scarlett Johansson haircut. Of course it didn’t look nearly as inspiring on me; I mean, Scarlett would look beautiful in a potato sack, right? But eventually the upkeep and constant haircuts got to me, so I started to grow my hair out in the fall of 2015 with the intention of ending up with a very short bob.
When I had my pixie, every few weeks I would start to get this mullet-like growth at the back of my neck, and I’d have to get a haircut. It makes sense when you think about it. Your hairline swoops down from above your ears to the back of your neck, so when you’re growing your hair out, an inch at the lowest point of your hairline will stand out more than an inch on the top of your head. When I started growing my hair out, the mullet just got worse.
The biggest problem is that I had my hair cut around my ears. Now I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the hair around/above my ears to grow to the same length as the rest of my hair. In the meantime, I keep getting the back trimmed every few weeks. My goal is to have a short bob, kind of like Jaimie Alexander’s hair in the TV show “Blindspot.”
The photo above was taken July 14 of this year after 8 months of growing my hair out. If you look closely, you can see that line of my hair isn’t quite connected yet. It dips up a bit in the middle where it was originally cut above my ears. Hopefully in a few more months, my hairline will be connected, and I’ll have an actual bob!
Can you believe it’s 2016 already? I feel like this year has flown by. I probably say that every year, but I think the weirdly warm weather we’re having on the East Coast this year makes it feel even less like it’s winter. If you read my last post about camping with kids, then you know we started camping this year. We’ve gone three times- once with just our little family (me, Hubby and Little J) and twice with my SIL, her husband and kids. One of those two times was to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We went during Labor Day weekend, and unless you have reservations (which go fast, months earlier), I wouldn’t recommend just showing up. That’s what we did, but it was risky. I took Thursday afternoon off from work, and we arrived at the Big Meadows Campground around dusk. We were able to get one of the last 5 spots. The other 4 were gone within 45 mins or so. People get arriving all day Friday and were turned away, because they didn’t have a reservation and there weren’t any first come, first served spots available. So we were lucky.
There are other campgrounds at Shenandoah, and some of them are exclusively first come, first served. Ours was the mostfamily-friendly campground. I say that because it had hot showers, laundry facilities and a camp store down the road with gear and food. Roughing it? Not exactly, but if you have three small kids with and-thistime- two dogs…having some luxuries available seemed like a good idea. We did end up going back and forth to that store at least once a day. We also made a trip down the mountain toWalmart once. That was about a 45 minute or longer drive one way, so I wouldn’t recommend doing that often if you camp at Big Meadows.
The sites themselves seemed nice. They have the typical paved spots with a bit of grass that work for either tents or campers. They also have tent-only sites, and we ended up in one of those spots. Each of the tent-only sites had a metal bear box to put your food inside and out of the reach of animals. To reach the tent-only sites, you have to park your car in a little lot and walk up a short trail to your site. It’s really not far at all -maybe 50 feet- but that makes it inconvenient to keep your cooler and food in your car, hence the bear box.
We didn’t see any black bears while we were there, but the park rangers and other campers told us about sightings. A park ranger at the visitor center down the road gave a talk about black bears. He said that if you see a black bear, don’t run! That’s the worst thing you can do. Just stand still, and if they get close, then make lots of noise, and it will scare them away. The kids were hopeful the entire weekend that they’d see bears but no such luck. We did see bear scat when we were walking on the Appalachian Trail, and it was interesting to see the berries inside the scat. Apparently the bear had been foraging on plants, which bears like to eat.
We went hiking on quite a few trails and rode our bikes on the paved paths. There was a playground at the nearby lodge that the kids played on a couple of times. There was a restaurant at the lodge at which we ate. I know…definitely not back woods camping. 🙂
There were deer everywhere. They’d even walk by our tents in the middle of the night! We also saw your smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits and lots of birds.
One thing worth noting…Hubby and I have AT&T as a phone carrier, and most places in the park we did NOT get a signal. We did get a signal at the lodge, and there’s also free wi-fi there.
Conclusion- the views at Shenandoah Park were beautiful; we had a great time; and we will definitely be going back!
Note: This is not a sponsored post, and the opinions expressed are my own.