Friday, July 1st we went out for Jill’s birthday to Hooked (where the sushi was still good – everything else, meh), then went to Friendly’s for ice cream. The next day I went to see Beth Patterson at a house concert in Maryland. She was funny as usual, and a lot more blue then her usual shows at the Old Brogue (which I enjoyed).

Sunday we took Illa over to my Dad’s house in Chesapeake Beach, where he and Patricia hosted us. We had lunch, then hung out on his deck for most of the day. His neighbor had a party that night, and invited us over for some good pulled pork and great grilled wings. Later on, we went out into the rain that had started around dark to watch the fireworks from Dad’s dock.

The next morning was July 4th, which both of us had off, but we didn’t sleep in. We headed home after breakfast, and had plenty of chores to keep us occupied until it got dark, and folks started setting fireworks off. This was the first 4th we’ve had our floating dock, and it was fun to see the fireworks going off on and around Lake Thoreau.

I didn’t take pictures, but check these out from last year.

On Friday the 8th, I got out of work early to attend a childbirth class with Jill that the OB/GYN offered. I thought it would go quicker with only one other person, but we ran long. That was what I feared since we were about to head west on 66 during rush hour, but somehow the storm that happened during our class and accidents prior to where we got on 66 combined for fairly light traffic, and we got to Luray, VA a little early.

We had dinner at Rancho Viejo, which unfortunately served Jill’s dinner cold, earning a thumbs down from her. Too bad, as we both enjoyed the salsa and my carnitas dinner was awesome. We finally got to Piney Hill Bed & Breakfast around dark, and settled in.

Our innkeepers were Wiley & Hank, and they served us a quiche and amazing cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We weren’t in a rush, so checked out the place in daylight, then read on the porch for a couple hours.

Piney Hill porch

I’d made everything that day a surprise for Jill, so first we headed west on 211, then north on Route 11. My first thought in the area was Route 11 Potato Chips, and while the factory isn’t the most impressive thing on Earth, it’s always neat to see what you’re going to eat, plus you could sample any of their chips. Also, I’d managed to route us through the only covered bridge I’ve seen outside of New England.

We had lunch at Southern Kitchen in New Market, splitting a fried chicken platter. Not as great as the last time we road tripped for chicken, but the best in the area. After lunch we returned to Luray for some shopping.

After we rested for a bit, we headed over the mountains for dinner to Washington, VA, but not the fanciest place there. This time we went to The Blue Rock Inn, and it was just elegant enough. Jill enjoyed her fettuccini, and I really liked my lamb – wasn’t the least surprised when I found it was from the farm that delivers mine. We elected not to have dessert as there wasn’t something on the menu we loved, plus our innkeepers had made us one in the afternoon we hadn’t had room for, and it was very good.


The next morning we had French Toast for breakfast, then headed back, stopping in Front Royal for cheap gas and cider donuts. It was Jill’s birthday present, but it was a nice and relaxing weekend for both of us.

That night we went over to my Mom’s for dinner with Dad, as we celebrated Father’s Day and Mom’s and Jill’s birthdays. We had grilled chicken and ice cream, and chatted with Sharon on the phone.

Friday the 15th we headed over to Tysons Corner for dinner at Da Domenico Ristorante for a nice dinner, then attended our first show at the 1st Stage Theatre for the Michael Clem Trio, a fun show (punctuated by free beer – seriously, they just set out a cooler).

Michael Clem Trio

The next day we were back in Tysons at the mall to see the final Harry Potter movie (I’d wanted to see it at Udvar-Hazy like we’d seen the last several, but when tickets went on sale they couldn’t confirm they would be showing it). The 3D was decent, and the film itself was a great conclusion to the series. We had to hurry home and take Illa out before going out to Countryside for Janice’s surprise birthday party. We had a good time (and excellent food thanks to her brother), but couldn’t stay out all night.

Dad came over on the morning of Friday the 22nd, and I dropped him at Udvar-Hazy for the day. I picked him up after work and we shopped at Whole Foods, where I picked up fried chicken and a summer salad pack for dinner (I just had to cook the green beans).

For the first time since we started going in 2003, we didn’t go to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival for obvious reasons (and the heat this year would only have made things worse). It hit triple digits around here on multiple days, but we mostly stayed indoors. Except on Saturday the 23rd, when Dad and I went out to see the 150th Anniversary Commemoration Battle of Bull Run Civil War Reenactment, and we got plenty of warmth, even though we were headed home by noon.


We had prepared with lots of water, ice wrapped bandanas, sunscreen and a mister, so we were mostly able to enjoy the reenactment. And it was pretty impressive – while they didn’t hit the 30,000 in the original, seeing 8,000 folks fighting is quite a scene. My favorite picture is below, but there are lots more here.

Civil War Cannon

That night (after naps all around), we went to see Tim Minchin at the Warner. A musical comedian with elements of George Carlin and Eddie Izzard, I really liked him while Jill found him part funny and part offensive.

Friday the 29th I joined the Jewells for Lloyd Dobler Effect at Friday Night Live!. It was beastly hot, but I like those guys and it was only the second time I’ve made it out this year (although I’m not a big fan of the cover bands they usually book).

Saturday the 30th we went to Mad Fox for lunch, and found we should have gotten the pizza earlier – it’s really good (and the beer is still great). That night I headed up to Frederick and the 2nd Outlaw Jam. A biker themed festival was not my favorite thing in the world, but I wanted to see Mötley Crüe (especially since the original four are still there and kicking). I skipped Poison, but did see some of Shooter Jennings before getting in position for the Crüe. And they did not disappoint – a night full of classics.


We closed out the month with a good house cleaning, then hosted the Jewells for dinner (they brought pork loin and a wicked cocktail, I made slaw, corn on the cob and fruit salad). Later we went out on the lake on the dock, then we had Jill’s peach cobbler when we got back. A nice, quiet evening with friends – may be the last of those for a while.