Are We There Yet? Apple Picking Adventures

16 Nov

We just got back from a spontaneous trip apple picking in Charlottesville with the kids.

Everett and I both went to college in the Virginia mountains — Ev at UVA and me at JMU — so we have a soft spot for the locale, especially in the fall.

Last year we took the kids apple picking at Carter Mountain…in the rain and dense fog…all in a day trip. We were EXHAUSTED by the time we got home. I vowed the next time we went, we would stay a night and actually enjoy the trip.

For about six weeks, we’ve been planning to go but life has gotten in the way. But Friday, Ev and I decided it was now or never, so I booked a Priceline hotel special and we planned to leave early Saturday morning for Carter Mountain.

When we broke the news to the kids we were going out of town, their enthusiasm was lackluster at best. But then when I mentioned the INDOOR POOL AND HOT TUB…and boy, let me tell you, they perked up.

Jackson woke up SUPER early Saturday morning. He took it upon himself to get Abby up so he could pack them for the trip. I, on the other hand, woke up with a SUPER headache. Not the best combo.

Eventually, we got our act all together and the car packed by 11 am. We drove through Chick-fil-a on the way out and off we went!

We were only to York County — roughly halfway through a chicken sandwich — before the “are we there yets” started.

I chose this time to take my next dose of Tylenol.

There’s really nothing like the burst of color of fall leaves against the mountains as you drive up. Which is something we totally would have enjoyed had we gone, say, three weeks ago. But two-and-half hours of “are we there yets” and half-naked trees later, we finally made it to Carter Mountain.


It was an absolutely gorgeous day to pick apples. The sky was blue, the visibility was clear and the apples were crisp and sweet. Jackson took off running through the trees and Ev followed him close behind. I hung back with Abby and we explored about…two trees. First she would pull real hard to pluck an apple, giggle and giggle and giggle, then chuck it at me or onto the ground. Then she remembered apples were EDIBLE and not just projectiles, and she turned her attention to eating. That folks, was the end of Abby’s apple picking adventure.

Mmmm. Apples.

Mmmm. Apples.

Jackson, on the other hand, quickly resurfaced with Ev…and two HUGE bags of apples. Then he took Abby’s empty bag and proceeded to fill that one too. After several…just one more, buddy…and that’s enough, dude…and I SAID NO MORE!!! We ended up with 37 lbs. of Charlottesville’s finest fruit.

Jackson Appleseed!

Jackson Appleseed!


With the apple picking adventure coming to a close, the kids refocused their energy on the most important part of our trip: the indoor pool. About 15 minutes later, we pulled up to the hotel, I checked us in and got our room key and we started unpacking the car.

Jackson was the first to ask: hey, where’s my suitcase?

Um. Hmm. Good question. Where IS the kids’ suitcase?

Crap. Shoot. CRAP. It’s still in the living room at home. How are the kids going to swim? Is underwear allowed in public? Then I remembered passing a Marshall’s just a couple minutes from the hotel. No problem, I told the kids. They’d have swimsuits. (In the fall. In the mountains.) No problem, Mommy’s on it!

So I left everyone in the hotel room watching cartoons and hightailed it to Marshall’s. I took the first left at the light and….PLOP, PLOP, PLOP…rollllllllll. Smack. That would be 37 lbs of apples rolling around in the back of the car. This is the point in the story where I called my sister for moral support.

So, surprise, surprise, there were no bathing suits, nor any shorts/tanks in the kids’ sections. So, I straight up improvised. Jackson got size small men’s shorts and Abby got some type of pre-teen Jazzercise spots bra and underwear combo that at least looked bathing suit-ish. Plus, I threw in PJs and underwear for both kids…because…no suitcase, remember?


Going swimming!

Rolling and smacking my way back to the hotel, the kids were thrilled to be back on schedule and suited up for swimming. They had a blast. Jackson’s suit was so big he mooned us every other time he got out of the pool…and Abby’s was so big, I had to hold it together with two bobby pins. But it worked!

Fast forward to dinner, bath and bed at the hotel. We woke up after all sleeping soundly, went out to breakfast and toured UVA for a couple hours. The kids seemed to really enjoy running around the Lawn.

Getting some energy out before the ride home.

Getting some energy out before the ride home.

Abs and Daddy on the Lawn

Abs and Daddy on the Lawn

Tommy and the Benstens.

Tommy and the Benstens.

Charlottesville Apple Picking Adventure of 2014

Charlottesville Apple Picking Adventure of 2014

Then only 37 lbs worth of “are we there yets” and we were back home before dark! Ahhhhhh, home.

P.S. — Next time, I think we’ll remember to check all the suitcases made the trunk.


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