Summer Festivals in Richmond

Dominion Riverrock
Browns Island  – May 19 – 21st
The annual Dominion Riverrock in Richmond, Virginia, is a celebration of river life, outdoor sports and eclectic music. The three-day extravaganza features adventure races, 5k runs, rock climbing competitions, stand up paddleboard endurance challenges and kayaking contests in addition to musical performances from nationally touring bluegrass, roots, rock and alternative acts. Past performers include Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Matisyahu, Soulive and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.

Cotopaxi Questiral Adventure
Gateway Park – May 19 – 20
Comfort zones cease to exist when you take part in a Questival race. Otherwise, it’s not really an adventure, is it? Cotopaxi’s Questival Tour journeys all around the United States and Canada, bringing high-octane action in the form of outdoor challenges. In their respective cities, Teams of 2 to 6 people will compete in a multitude of stimulating activities that will inspire teamwork, friendship and a newfound sense of adventure.

Innsbrook After Hours 2017
Glen Allen, VA – May 20th
When the first concert ends, don’t be sad. There are still over 20 to go—not in one night, of course. Innsbrook After Hours is a series of concerts taking place over the course of a handful of months. But it includes more than 20 concerts and provides an eclectic mix of genres played by well-known musicians.

This post is sponsored by Pearson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.

Virginia Renaissance Faire
Spotsylvania Courthouse – May 20-21, May 27-28, June 3-4, June 10-11
Virginia Renaissance Faire is all about providing an interactive family fun fest focused on history and the arts. And the faire achieves just that. It features street theater, period activities and a cast of costuemd characters to bring history to life in an exciting way. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find demonstrations, hands-on activities, artisans, crafters and tons of street performers of all kinds. While the street performers draw people in, the delicious period and modern foods are one of the main attractions.

Pocahontas Premieres
Amphitheater at Pocahontas State Park – weekends all summer
Sure, you can talk to trees, random animals in the woods and dudes with the most generic name in the world, but you’re crazy and probably at the wrong festival. Pocahontas Premieres brings you upbeat party and dance music, a local Virginian symphony, beach music and plenty more to accommodate your entire summer experience.

Ashland Strawberry Faire
Randolph-Macon College – June 3rd
The Faire is a strong community affair just in time for the strawberry harvest. The family-oriented faire is stuffed with activities ranging from live music all the way to a strawberry pageant. Local vendors, businesses and non-profit booths are peppered throughout the faire to tie the community together even more.

Broad Appetit
Historic Broad St – June 4th
See what the city’s best restaurants have to offer. Each local eatery converges in one spot to serve you delicious food. To wash down your meal are plenty of local and regional wines and brews. You can also catch some good tunes and learn how to make your own delicious dish with the help of chef demonstrations.

Stone Soul Music & Food Festival
Classic Ampitheater at Strawberry Hill = June 10th
f you’re a fan of hip hop and R&B, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything wrong with the Stone Soul Music & Food Festival in Richmond, Virginia. The festival features of a barrage of performances from national hip hop, R&B, inspiration and soul artists. It also features an assortment of soul food restaurants on site.
Kingsfest 2017
Kings Dominion – June 22 -24
There’s no shortage of thrills to be had at Kings Dominion, and they’ve found yet another way to make you scream at the top of your lungs. Alongside its wildest roller coasters, a slew of popular music artists will play a solid show to rev your pulse up. KingsFest features a primarily Christian lineup, so make sure to send up a prayer for all the God-given talent before they grace the stage.

Richmond Jazz Festival
Maymont – August 2017
Good music at a quality venue is hard to come by for some people. That’s a struggle that baffles the Richmond Jazz Festival. After you enjoy the scenic surroundings, world-class jazz music from an extensive lineup of great musicians, mouth-watering food from the region and good times with friends, your new struggle will be finding another music festival that tops this.

Our Lady of Lourdes Filipino Festival
Our Lady of Lourdes Church – August 11 – 12
A unique culture is deserving a unique and authentic festival. Our Lady of Lourdes Filipino Festival is the unique and authentic experience you crave that’s dedicated to Filipino culture. You and all of the guests will be treated to mouth-watering Filipino food, live music and Filipino dancing to bring the culture alive in Henrico, Virginia. In addition, the Race ‘N’ Roll 5K precedes the Filipino Festival so you’ll have the energy to engage with this colorful culture.

Carytown Watermelon Festival
Cary St – August 2017
The Carytown Watermelon Festival offers a mishmash of summer family fun. Of course, there’s plenty of ice-cold watermelon ready for the eating, but that’s just one aspect of the party, which attracts over 100,000 visitors. Live music fills the air, more than 100 exhibitors dot the grounds and a kids’ area adds to the excitement.

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Off Road Fun in Oregon

One of my husbands favorite hobbies that is quickly becoming my own is off-roading (i.e, ‘Jeeping, ‘mudding’, etc). In fact it’s a hobby that our whole family has grown to enjoy, and though I love my state, Ohio doesn’t have much for off-roading adventures that we haven’t already tried. When we began to research some of the best off-roading areas in the U.S., Oregon kept coming up over and over again – so with plans to take the gang out West, we put together a list of places on our bucket list for Oregon!

This post is sponsored by Legacy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.

Bend Jeep Tours
Located in the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon is an outdoor lover’s wonderland – and bend is in the heart of it. This is a guided tour, so you’ll be a passenger and be able to take in all the sites – The tour guide will take you on a sightseeing adventure where you’ll discover lava flows, waterfalls,  and a “Top of the World” view of the majestic Cascade mountain range. This scenic off-road adventure provides unique opportunities to enjoy many natural wonders that make bend the outdoor playground of the West.

Tillamook Forest (Off-Road Area)
Only a few hours from Portland Oregon this area provides endless opportunities to wheel all day – and still enjoy the sighs of the pacific Northwest. Oregon’s Tillamook Forest offers off road adventurers one of the best 4×4 areas in the West with over 250 miles of trails that range from easy to difficult. There’s even some off road trails specific for motorcycle or quads if you want to bring your other fun toys along.

Table Rock Trail

Table Rock Trail is about 8 miles of moderate difficulty and located near Molalla Oregon. The trail features some beautiful scenery including gorgeous wild flowers (be sure to bring your camera) The trail offers a ton of activity options and the best times to try it out is between March and October.

Abiqua Falls Trail

Abiqua Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon – though it’s located on private land the falls are accessible to visitors by getting to the trailhead (and it does require some major off roading) The trail is a little over 5 miles long and can be pretty difficult, so make sure that you have an experienced off-roader leading you.

King Mountain Truck Trail

King Mountain Truck Trail is about 5 miles located near Wolf Creek. It’s moderately difficult and people use it for hiking, trail roading as well as off-roading. There is rumor that there are several other truck routes near that aren’t ‘official’ but could be fun to explore.

Coos Bay Wagon Road
The Coos Bay Wagon Road is located near Roseburg and nearly 25 miles long! It offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels; it’s used for nature trips and off roading adventures – pack a lunch and enjoy the view.


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Fun and Free Things to Do in Cleveland

We are just hours outside of Cleveland, so we are planning a weekend long trip to visit Cleveland this summer, and I’ve been doing some research – there is a ton of cool free stuff to do in Cleveland that the whole family will enjoy; here’s a few we plan on checking out.

West Side Market
The West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest public market where over 100 producers, artisans, and vendors sell their wares. Market stalls brim with charcuterie and meats, succulent seafood, freshly picked fruits and veggies, dairy products, fresh flowers, spices, nuts and more. Bakers also sell homemade baked bread, pastries, and more. Artisan chefs and cooks offer delicious ready-to-eat meals. The market offers authentic and culturally diverse shopping experience to locals and visitors, one of the best foodie adventures in Cleveland!

Cleveland Museum of Art
Free and open to the public, the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the country’s most distinguished cultural institutions and of the of the top attractions in Cleveland. Housed in a beautifully preserved neo- classic building of white marble, the museum lies at the center of the city’s Fine Arts Garden. It has an awesome collection of more than 30,000 works of wart that span over 5,000 years – works from ancient Egypt, world-renowned masterpieces from Europe, Asia and Africa including permanent collection boasting Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium
The aquarium opened in 2012 and spread over more than 70,000 square feet of exhibition areas, a 230,000 gallon tank with a unique walk through acrylic shark tunnel, and a variety of exhibits with local and exotic species of fish. There’s many different exhibits that are quite fascinating and I can’t wait to walk through – Lakes and Rivers of the World, the Indo-Pacific Zone, Discovery Zone, Coastal and (my favorite) the Coral Reef. There’s also a 175 foot shark tunnel that offers panoramic views including lots of different shark species.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learning Center & Money Museum
Ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyway? These questions and more are answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Learning Center and Money Museum.

This post is sponsored by Junction Auto Sales.

Little Italy
Little Italy is a culturally rich area located around Mayfield road – that brings a slice of Italy to the heart of Cleveland. Established by Italian sculptor Joseph Carrabelli in the 1880’s when he began sculpting granite and marble works, the area soon began to fill up with Italian families and the heritage of Little Italy is still celebrated. It’s brimming with art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and delis and the area is one of the most beloved cities in the area – and talk about the night life. Dining and entertainment is booming – and Little Italy really comes alive during various festivals and special occasions such as The Feast of the Assumption, the Art Walks, and all types of fun-filled summer nights.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum
Last but certainly not least, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. It’s dedicated to showcasing some of the best rock and roll’s greatest performers and contributors. It was designed by a world-renowned architect and it’s located on the shores of Lake Erie. This world class museum engages and inspires visitors with the power of good ol’ rock & roll with its impressive collections, exhibits and displays. The museum also has featured exhibits like the Rock Portraits by Herb Ritts, The Pink Floyd Wall, Legends of Rock, and more. This is definitely one spot you do not want to miss!


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Maryland Summer Festivals & Fun

Besides all the outdoor fun to be had, Maryland has a lot of great festivals to look forward to this summer. Check out some of these fun-filled festivals coming this summer!

Hollywood Bluegrass Festival
May 13th, St. Mary’s County Fairground
Leonardtown, MD

This southern festival brings boot-stomping fun from a variety of artists such as Big Country Bluegrass, Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition. There’s also a silent auction where some great local vendors offer hand-crafted souvenirs.

May 25th – 28th Allegany County Fairgrounds
Cumberland, MD

Memorial Day Weekend = a 4-day weekend of bluegrass fun; featuring the Del McCoury Band and a stellar list of musicians who excel at Bluegrass.

Secret Garden Tour
May 20th & 21st 100 Lafayette St
Havre de Grace, MD

The lovely private gardens of historic Havre de Grace is open for tours in May. The Havre de Grace Museum is where you’ll start your tour to purchase tickets and a get a map, and wander along the Susquehanna River to see the beautiful award winning garden. They also have a garden market and plant sale for souvenirs, and food vendors.

This post is sponsored by Hoffman GM.

Antique and Classic Boat Festival
June 16th – 18th 213 N Talbot St
St. Michaels, MD
This one is a great one for the entire family – hundreds of architecturally exquisite wooden classics, vintage race boats, and more are on display during the Antique and Classic Boat Festival – they also have live music, boat rides, food and family activities.
Watermen’s Appreciation Day

August 13th Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
St. Michaels, MD
This August celebration ranks high on the list of fun summer things to do, and includes a “watermen’s rodeo” boat docking contest, boat rides, live music, kids’ activities, and—of course—fantastic seafood.

Country Fest and Auction
August 26th Garrett County Fairgrounds
McHenry, MD
Held at the Garrett County Fairgrounds in McHenry, this August event combines history, fine art and tasty Maryland BBQ. Check out the auction items like authentic quilts, crafts and Amish-made furniture, and let the kids take a ride on a pony or “barrel of fun,” and pedal tractor pulls. Everyone will enjoy the hay rides, miniature horse and cart rides, and the petting zoo—plus free admission and parking.

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Top 10 FREE Things to Do This Summer in Maryland

One things that I’ve made a decision about this summer is that the kids and I are going to spend a lot more time in the great outdoors – less time in front of a cell phone, computer screen, or TV or video game. We love to travel but being on a budget we try to keep our adventures on the free side (or at least really cheap). We plan to take a few days in Maryland on our way to see some family, and I found some great places to visit – that fit right in our budget!

Swallow Falls State Park

A park known for its gorgeous mountain views, just a few miles North of Oakland, Swallow Falls State Park is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains. With rocky gorges, roaring rapids, and beautiful century old trees, along with the Muddy Creek Falls and cascading 53 foot waterfall it will be a breathtaking adventure.

Canal Place

In the summer months, live music can be heard from the Canal Place Amphitheater as part of downtown Cumberland’s concert series featuring touring bands from Nashville, Knoxville, and New York City. There’s also year round bike along the canal or hike one of two trails.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park
In the past this famous waterway carried lumber, coal and crops to market – now it’s perfect for biking, hiking, and exploring. There’s historical structures to see, and a breathtaking view of Mather Gorge the narrowest section on the lower Potomac River. It’s just $5 for a 3 day pass!

This post is sponsored by Hoffman Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

Brookside Gardens
Check out the beautiful blossoms at the gardens in Wheaton, that include the evocative Fragrance Garden, the Gude Garden with Japanese tea-house, Rose Garden, and an Aquatic Garden. There’s several exhibits throughout the year, including a live butterfly and caterpillar event.

Days End Farm Horse Rescue

National rescue and rehab facility gives horses a second chance; home up to 80 horses rescued by animal control and humane agencies, Days End Farm offers daily tours so you can come and learn about the rescue cause, hear all the wonderful success stories, and meet the horses!

Ego Alley

Visit the city dock along Ego Alley near the downtown brick-paved streets of Annapolis check out the massive yachts – and they are quite impressive. During the holidays they are usually decked out in some pretty breathtaking decorations.

Mallows Bay
Search for shipwrecks in the largest graveyard on the East Coast just off the Potomac River in Charles County. Take a kayak for a haunting but beautiful afternoon spent drifting amount the wrecked, World War ! era ships that were supposed to be scrapped, but were abandoned instead.

Calvert Cliffs State Park
Fishing hole, playground beach – and fossils! All the best kind of fun at Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby. Hike the 13 miles of trails and search the beach where more than 600 species of fossils have been discovered – including the giant megaladon shark!

Assateague Island National Seashore
Less than 10 miles from the excitement of Ocean City are the shores of Assateague Island. You can watch the wild horses run along the beach – they are a sight to see. Just be careful, they are wild so they are aggressive.

Maryland Scenic Byways
There’s not much more I love than a long drive to clear the mind and open your spirit – and Maryland has plenty of ways to escape the highway. There’s 18 Scenic Byways to enjoy a relaxing road trip to explore charming towns, the splendor of nature and hidden gems.



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