On Day Two of our epic southern road trip, we packed the fam in the SUV and drove from Atlanta to New Orleans, with a stop for lunch and some sightseeing in Montgomery, Alabama.
After grabbing a bite to eat, we tracked down the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald House. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for tours, so we moved on to Oakwood Cemetery, the final resting place of Hank Williams, Sr., where we met a very interesting and very knowledgeable man who keeps the grave clean and maintained. He told us stories of growing up around Hank’s family and shared some anecdotes about the man himself.
We watched the sun set over the bayou as we made our way into New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain. Once we got into our Air BnB, we ordered some pizza for the kids and a New Orleans classic for the grownups, lagniappe pasta. This over the top, creamy pasta was filled with shrimp and crawfish and had a spicy kick.
After an evening stroll over to the French Quarter, we got back and got some shuteye before exploring the city the next day. More to come…
Back near the beginning of 2021, when it seemed we were making our way out of the pandemic, we decided to take a family vacation. We hadn’t gone anywhere beyond a few days at the beach since summer of 2019, and the announcement that Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas would once again be hosting the American Grand Prix in October was the driver (no pun intended) behind our big Southern roadtrip.
9 days. Over 3,000 miles round trip. WiFi in the car so I could stay connected to work and the kids could keep up with their schoolwork.
Stop One was an overnight in Atlanta. We stayed in Buckhead and drove into the city for dinner at The Varsity, opened in 1928. Billed as “the world’s largest drive-in” and “the FUN place to eat,” The Varsity serves up delicious burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes from a handful of locations, including the one we visited in downtown Atlanta.
After dinner, we headed over to SkyView Atlanta for a nighttime ride. This 20-story tall sky wheel has views for miles and is the perfect way to see the city from the air.
The next morning, we got up, ready to drive to our next stop. Before heading out of town, we visited the World of Coca-Cola, where we learned about the history of this delicious drink, before sampling varieties of soda from around the world and, of course, exiting through the gift shop.
Fall has always been my favorite season. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that it contains both my birthday and my favorite holiday, Halloween. More than at any other time of year, the transition from summer to fall brings the back-to-school season, a perfect time for a fresh start, then soon ebbs towards October, prime time for apple and pumpkin picking, before Halloween and the ancient pagan new year, Samhain.
It’s my favorite time of year to head out and experience the outdoors and food and drink events, and Virginia has plenty of both!
Last weekend, I visited Scotchtown‘s 300th Anniversary celebration in Hanover County. This colonial-era estate, home to Patrick Henry from 1771-1778, along with Preservation Virginia, hosted the event, which brought together James Beard award-winning author and historian Michael Twitty, who spoke on Afro-Atlantic culinary history and demonstrated culinary techniques from the period, with brews from Ashland’s Center of the Universe Brewing Company, Revolutionary War re-enactors and a range of local history organizations. There was also a petting zoo – the highlight for my son!
Virginia has so much to do to celebrate the change of seasons:
Fall Festival at Bryants Cider Farm, Roseland – live music, pumpkin patch, food trucks and family friendly activities (Friday, October 15 through Sunday, October 17, 2-6 PM daily)
25th Annual Apple Butter Festival at Wade’s Mill, Raphine – homemade apple butter made the old-fashioned way over an open fire, food trucks and desserts, live music (Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 AM-4 PM)
Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival, Syria – hayride, hay maze, live music, apples and pumpkins for sale, delicious food, desserts, jams, jellies and apple butter (Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17, 10 AM-4:30 PM)
Historic Jamestowne‘s All Hallows Eve program – Tales of “The Devill, the Witches, & the Enchanters…”: A Haunted Evening at Historic Jamestowne (Saturday, Oct. 16, 6:45 and 8 PM)
Fall Harvest Festival at George Washington’s Mount Vernon – historical activities and demonstrations, beer tastings (Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24, 9 AM-5 PM)
Urbanna Oyster Festival – parade, live music, oyster shucking competition and delicious food (Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6, all day)
This is just a tiny sample of the fun fall activities going on in Virginia. Visit Virginia.org for more and enjoy the gorgeous fall days and crisp nights!
As soon as I felt the first early morning chill in the air, I got excited knowing my fall FabFitFun box would be coming soon. It arrived this week and I was so pleased with the items I received in my box.
In my box this time around were the following products:
The FabFitFun quarterly box curates a unique and interesting selection of trending products, some of which you get to select yourself. Each box is packed with value – for your $49.99 purchase price each season, you typically get more than $200 worth of products. My fall box is actually packed with more than $300 worth!
My favorite picks from this box are the Beauty Bakerie palette, the Botkier tote and the Dr. Dennis Gross serum. Beauty Bakerie is a black woman-owned and founded makeup brand that creates lipstick, eyeshadow, concealer, foundation, powder and more in a wide range of shades and colors to suit every complexion. This palette has the perfect mix of matte and shimmer shades, including lighter and darker options for daytime and evening wear.
The Botkier New York Bond Tote is roomy enough to carry a laptop, phone, chargers and other tech equipment, as well as all my other daily essentials. It has several internal compartments for organization and stylish tassels on the top zipper, as well as side zips with tassels (just for show)!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added a serum to my skincare routine, and this one looks promising. With farnesol, adipic acid and agarikon mushroom, it’s meant to flush away skin impurities and deliver smaller-looking pores without shine. I’m looking forward to trying this under my moisturizer and foundation.
I have to say – this may very well be my favorite FabFitFun box I’ve received. If you’re interested in scoring a free box, drop a comment below with your email address (feel free to format as name at provider dot com to keep spambots from scraping it). I will gladly send you an invite for a free starter box!
We are informed by our past, but we are not all stuck there. Time stands still; time produces evolution. Some things change; some things don’t. There is progression of thought; there is a mindset that is dug-in to the past. There is widespread acceptance; there is widespread racism. There is overwhelming beauty, and there is heart-wrenching sorrow and ugliness. Similarity and contradiction stand side by side. Sometimes it requires understanding, and sometimes it deserves celebration. We are the sum of all our history and all our progress. We are today’s South.