Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fall Vacation, Day 3

My sister, Jeanie, lives in a small town in Virginia called Front Royal.

Front Royal is a cute little town, with shoppes lining both sides of the street in its "downtown" district". It was a beautiful sight to see in that time of year with all of the oranges, reds and purple color of the trees and shrubs. Usually when we visit my sister it's already dead winter and all of the fall color has faded and fallen to the ground.

This is a shot of the clock that stands at an intersection in downtown Front Royal. The place you see in the background in red is also a must if your visiting this area. It had some of the best food that you wouldn't expect in this are of Virginia. It's called Soul Mountain Bistro and It's soulful alright!

In the city plaza sits this copper topped gazebo, perfect for wedding venues. I just love the look of it situated in the center of the town surrounded by the fall colors.

Next stop of the day was a small drive down a winding dirt road to Chrysalis Winery.
This place is unlike any other in the region for wine and one of the many Virginia winery's that serve wine made from Norton Grapes. I would consider their wines very eclectic. The views from this winery and travel to this winery are unlike any I have ever seen. From the rolling hills to the mountains in the distance this place is truly beautiful. 

We did a wine tasting here and the wines are very good. Im not a white wine type of person but I thought the Stainless Steel (chardonnay) was pretty damn good. After the tasting I decided to have a glass of their sweet red called Sarah's Patio Red. There's a very interesting story as to why they call this wine Sarah's Patio Red. Sarah was a former family member of the original owners of the property back in the old days and Sarah is actually buried near the patio, with tombstone and all. 

After about 2 hours of wining, we decided to leave and venture around a little more. 

Leaving the vineyard, we came across a few old dilapidated homes that were eerily beautiful. 

The place we found to do our apple picking was actually only 5 miles from my sisters home in Markham, Va.  Hartland Orchard was a very beautiful orchard on a mountainside. Unfortunately the apple season had come early and they had to go ahead and do all the picking which was a real bummer but we understood. The owners let us walk around the orchard anyway just to explore the farm. 

This particular orchard made its own honey and the BEST unpasteurized apple cider I've ever had in my whole life.

The orchard also had a corn maze but being as late in the day as it was when we went it was closed. This place was truly amazing. 

The last two pictures have to be my favorite pictures of the day at the orchard. To me they looks like pictures from a magazine.

I enjoyed this day very much and hoped that it was just a sign of things to come during our fall vacation. 

Stay tuned to see more from my trip to Virginia.

 - Rich

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fall Vacation, Days 1 & 2

Whoa. I can't believe it has been since October since my last post. So much has gone on in the past few months that I just kind of got sidetracked!

In October, John and I took a fall vacation to visit my family in Virginia.  It was an amazing trip filled with a lot of traveling. This post will be just one of a few that I will do to show off pictures from our trip and our excursions throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Day 1: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

We also walked around and did a little bit of antique shopping and had lunch at Tari's Cafe. The food was amazing and the service was unlike any other. Must stop in and have a bite while in this tiny town.  

It was a very small town with charm only seen in movies, possibly most famous for George Washington's Bathtub . It's a stone structure that is said to have been the place in which George Washington bathed in 1748. Crazy, I know!We also did a little exploring and found a park near Berkeley Springs in which it was a 2 mile drive to the top of the mountain, it was worth it!
This was the view driving up the mountain, the fall colors were amazing! I have never been to see the changing of the seasons. 

This is yet another view of the drive up the mountain side. 
This is what was awaiting us at the top of that 2 mile drive up the mountain! The view was breathtaking and much colder than it was at the bottom, for sure! The colors almost look fake. I was in awe of the West Virginia countryside. 

Day 2: Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Lancaster Pennsylvania is known mostly for its Amish country. This was my first trip to Pennsylvania and my first time seeing anything Amish! It was a lot of fun, we drove around "stalking" the Amish (not really), but we drove throughout Lancaster County. We got to see covered bridges, Amish families in their buggies and even did a little bit of shopping in the Amish shops. 

This is a traditional Amish buggy, the family would all pack inside with mom. We even passed this small child at most, 5 years old, driving a single rider carriage. It was the cutest thing. 

The covered bridges were a sight. I could take a day trip photographing these beauties! Unfortunately, I only captured this one because my camera went dead. 

They also had roadside carts selling the fall gourds and pumpkins from their farms. They were so trustworthy that they left a box for you to pay. 

As you can tell so far, we had an amazing time and took too many pictures to post. I will post more as we spent 7 days there. Stay tuned!

 - Rich

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Give Thanks"

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged. I hope everyone is getting ready for the upcoming Holidays. Thanksgivin' is right around the corner. I am ecstatic that my family will be joinin' me again this year :) Ever since I moved to Virginia it has become a tradition that they drive up to be with me on Thanksgivin'. I wish I could see them more often but I am thankful that I get to see them anytime no matter how long or short the visit.

Around this time of year people really start thinkin' about the things they are Thankful for. I could write a never ending list of things that I am Thankful for. To start and the most important would be My Wonderful Husband, Family, Friends, Vehicles, Food, Pets (aka: Bender Babies), My house & My Church. The last but not least would be my Heavenly Father, My Savior, My God, My Redeemer, My Counselor, The Alpha, The Omega, The beginning, The End, The giver of life. Without him I am nothin' and I have nothin'. He has Blessed me with all the things I have in life and to him I "Give Thanks."

What are you thankful for? Think about it and "Give Thanks" to the one who gave it all to you.

I love to Give Thanks to my Heavenly Father all year long because HE IS GOOD!

I made a sign for Thanksgivin' to display in my home but then I decided that I should display it year round!

It will always remind me to "Give Thanks" for all that I have!

I made this sign from a piece of wood I had laying around the house.
The writing came from a Pumpkin Stencil that I bought at Cracker Barrel for .99 cents!
I knew that I wasn't going to stencil a pumpkin so I made this instead.
What do you think?

Whatever you do this Thanksgivin', "Give Thanks."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give Thanks in all Circumstance's, for this is God's Will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 118: Give Thanks to the Lord, For He is Good; His Love Endures Forever.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Presidential Election Day 2012

We have finally made it! Election Day 2012 is upon us! I have cast my vote!! After tonight there will be no more "Politial Adds" for another 4 years!!! Praise the Lord... OH YEAH and After tonight I will be able to go back on Face Book!!! I miss my good ol' friend Face Book. My girlfiend Morgan and I have been fasting it for 40 long days and praying for this Presidential Election!

 I don't know about you but I am sure hoping for a Conservative Republican President. Mitt Romney is what our country needs to help save and restore America! My opinion of course :)

Sunday we had a "God Save America" prayer meeting at church and I happened upon these cute "VOTE" shirts in the mens department of Target. $6.00 each. Can't beat that! I bought her and I both one!!

What's hotter than Christian Republican girls wearing Cowboy Boots and Republican Red Heels anyways?

Besides our "Vote" shirts...NOTHING! Hehe

I love this girl to death! Together her and I have fought our way through alot this year! One thing is for sure, No matter how this Presiential Election turns out, her and I will be friends till death do us apart! AND we will always be Republicans!!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Organic Sweet Tea

This is not a paid advertisement but rather my opinion of this product.

A few weeks ago I received some coupons for this "organic" tea atop some bottled water that I purchased at Winn-Dixie.

I dont normally shop at Winn-Dixie but it was the closest grocery store to our tailgate party.

As soon as I saw the coupon I immediately went to find the drinks because it was quite a deal.

With no luck at Winn-Dixie I tried locating the teas at my regular grocery store, Publix. I didnt have any luck and it seemed nobody knew anything about the tea. 

So, last week while shopping I found them! In a refrigerated cooler in the back of the store. 

I was too happy that I found them because they were almost expired. 

I was greatly impressed with the selections of the teas. 

I only purchased 4 because my coupon was $1off when you buy 2 and the store had them for 10 for $10 so I basically got 2 for free and who doesn't like free?

They had original sweet tea, diet citrus green tea, diet original sweet tea, half and half lemonade tea, original lemonade, unsweet lemon and lime tea, peach tea, raspberry tea,  and green tea with mint and honey.

I personally like the Mint & Honey Green Tea

This photo is the " Our Story" on the back.

And under every cap you get a Grannyism! They are always quirky and cute. 

So without dragging this out any further, GO TRY THEM! They are really good.

 - Rich

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

wildflower mini - sessions from spring

I know its a little late to be talking about spring but back in the beginning of spring my dear friend Elise, over at Elise Kersey Photography, took my niece, Emily to a nearby flower field for a "wildflower" mini session.

She has been so busy juggling being a mother (to the most adorable little girl), photographer (the best) and going to school that I was in no rush to get them from her.

I think I actually forgot about them!

Well, the other evening she sent them to me!

She did such an amazing job I wanted to share them with you guys.

She looks like a little Southern Belle!

I loved the idea of the coke and vintage suitcase!

She reminds me of "Rose" from "Titanic" in this picture.

She has the most beautiful smile of any child i've seen. 

If you know anyone around Gainesville that needs child or family portraits, Call her! 

She is the best in the business and is sooo sweet. 

 -  Rich

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's fall at the Bender house ya'll!

Hello darlin'!

It's officially Fall here in the beautiful mountains of Virginia, My favorite time of year!

We've got the golden sunflower yellows, candy apple reds and cider oranges startin' to peak.
I just can't wait till it's in full swing.

The temperatures are crisp at night and sometime dippin' into the high 40's and between 63-75  degrees durin' the day.

Everywhere you look you see changing leaves, corn fields, pumpkins and mums. I can't wait to visit all the Fall festivities.

Over the weekend I decided to add some "Fall Southern Charm" to my front porch. (I am still workin' on the inside though)

I will post pictures of that once I am done.

I went to Wal-Mart and found corn stalk for $3.98 a bunch.
(I bought two bunches)

I also found "real" mini hay bales there for around the same price.
Considerin' you pay close to $10.00 bucks for a fake hay bale I thought to myself "there is no way I'm passin' up that deal. I bought two of them as well.

Thank God I was drivin' my Husband's truck that day.

I loaded them bad boys up and took em' home.

I had a plan :)

I put the corn stalk on both sides of my door.
The hay bales I layed in front of them on both sides and then I sat my beautiful "Hardy Mums" on top. Of course it wouldn't be fall without pumpkins, Had to add them as well.

So now that I have you curious about what it looks like...Here it is...

It kinda makes me feel like I am walkin' up on the front porch to someone's house on the cover of "Southern Living" magazine.

My beautiful "Hardy Mums"!
 I wrapped my smaller Mum in burlap since the pot was white.
Besides every room in my house has a touch of burlap in it. Can't leave out the porch.

I hope I have inspired ya'll to add some " Fall Southern Charm" to your porch.
Just let your imagination control your hands. You never know what the outcome will be.