A Weekend of Camping

I love where we live.  There are so many wonderful reasons why.  And one of them is the amazing parks system and beautiful places that are outdoors to explore within minutes from our home.  I just returned from a two day camping trip at Burke Lake Park with my kids.  We were there because it was a cub scout camp out, and it was great to take advantage of such a great park that is so nearby.

We had planned to make a weekend of it, so it was close enough at a mere half hour or so from Herndon that I could actually drop off the kids at school, set up the tents at the camp and pick up the kids after school without worrying that we had to rush to get the camping gear set up when we got there, nor worry about setting up in an afternoon thunderstorm.  So, we grabbed a quick bite, and were on our way to a little slice of natural paradise.

The park system in this area is unbelievable.  Burke Lake Park is no tiny piece of greenery slapped in the middle of the suburbs, but a very respectable 888 acres of outdoor adventure awaiting for your arrival.  I have been going to this park for years before we even camped here, as it was a terrific place to take visiting family with the kids when they were toddlers.  They not only have a beautiful lake with rowboat rental and fishing, but it also boasts a nice train ride, a carousel, a frisbee golf course, an ice cream stand, driving range, overnight camping, miniature golf and various picnic areas throughout.

It was great to hang out with the kids and let them romp around with their buddies.  Flag football and three legged races were all a part of the fun, as we had to take advantage of the big open field for running around by the campsite. There is a well maintained path that circles the lake that allowed the kids to earn a 5 mile hiking achievement while they were there–doesn’t seem quite so long when you are chatting it up with your buds.  The kids also were able to progress to the next rank of scouts as the year has come to an end. It’s always entertaining to listen to the kids as they perform their skits and jokes for all. Even though they always produce some groans, it always manages to bring a smile to my face.  What could be more sublime than hanging around the campfire on a beautiful night while toasting up s’mores?

The next day was spent wrapping up camp and getting things underway to head on home. Of course we managed to squeak in some geocaching while we were there, as there were about a dozen finds that were situated around the lake for our exploration.  It was a hoot showing a couple other families what fun it could be.

As much as I really enjoy spending the weekend camping, it definitely is good to be in my own digs.  One of the pitfalls of the weekend was the fact that the facilities did not have hot water for some reason.  My dear brother would beg to differ that “real camping” doesn’t have anything for your convenience but some trees and anything that mother nature provided for you.  Although that may be true, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of modern convenience like a good flush and some hot water to rinse off the grime.  As the weekend away was winding down, we decided to head on home and stop somewhere on our way to fill our hungry bellies that had worked up an appetite with all of the wonderful exercise we were getting.

My husband decided he was craving some meat–one too many bagels and s’mores I guess.  So, he decided to splurge on a trip to Texas de Brazil in the Fair Oaks Mall.  Wow, was I glad we were famished.  If you’ve never been to one of these Brazilian Steakhouses, you are in for a treat.  Any meat loving individual would be in heaven at this place.  Although it’s a bit on the pricey side, the quality and expansive menu make it a nice place for a splurge, and I’d have to imagine a great place for a large group with a special occasion.  The huge food bar filled with accompaniments for your meal had so many choices, it would be quite easy to fill up just on that alone. With choices like a creamy lobster bisque, imported cheeses and meats, olives and sinfully rich au gratin potatoes, what is there not to like?  Not too much.  I’m usually not a big fan of buffets as the food is usually just mediocre and I end up just eating a lot of so so food.  Not at this place, as everything I tried was fresh and top notch. Once you sit down, your table has little markers that are red and green which signal to the folks coming at you with an endless supply of grilled meats when you’d like more, and when you are slowing down or need a break.  Leg of lamb, grilled flank steak, top sirloin, bacon wrapped chicken and parmesean crusted chicken were some of the things that kept coming by our table.  My sons were in hog heaven–Tommy in particular had 7 portions of just the chicken let alone all the other goodies they were chowing down.  What a great way to cap off the weekend!

As much as we had a great time, I could not wait to get home, get everything unpacked, throw in some laundry and try to get back into the normal routine once again.  A nice hot shower was definitely in order–but apparently not for my hot water heater.  Of all times for the stupid thing to be malfunctioning but after a weekend of dirt and dust on the campground.  GRRRR.  Thankfully the water was at least lukewarm and served its purpose, but boy what crappo timing, especially since the showers at the camp had not had hot water either.  By some great miracle above, Tom was able to reset the damn thing, and truly bring us back to civilization once again.

Nothing like home sweet home!


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