Double Nickels 2018

Thursday May 4

We left at a civilized hour this morning heading for the Virginia Eastern Shore.  We arrived in Onancock in time to check into our absolutely wonderful house, enjoy happy hour and then head to Mallards at the Wharf for dinner.


First stop today was the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center.  There is a lot going on at this facility, more than we imagined....sounding rocket tests, drone development, space station resupply missions, high altitude balloon development for scientific missions around the!

We parked our cars in the town of Chincoteague and rode the bike trail out to and around the southern tip of Assateague Island.  Our first stop was the Museum of Chincoteague Island where Laurel was very pleased to see Misty!  We toured the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on our way to the Assateague Light House.

Completed in 1867. The lighthouse is 142 feet high
 and can be seen 19 miles out to sea. 

We hoped to see some of the wild ponies in the wild, but we had to settle for seeing them in a corral.

Our final stop was at Tom's Cove before riding the Wildlife Loop and heading back to our cars.  Total miles rode today was 19!


Our first stop this morning was the Onancock Farmer's Market on their opening Saturday! Then we rode a 14 mile loop through beautiful farm country to Accomack, the county seat and back to the house for lunch.

After lunch we rode an 18 mile loop south of Onancock through a forest which felt like one was riding through a tunnel of trees; beautiful rural countryside!  Happy hour included the running of the Kentucky Derby, but we had no Mint Juleps!


Emily, David, Gary and Laurel had not been to Tangier and wanted to see the island.  So, we caught the ferry at 10 a.m. in Onancock.  It's a little over an hour boat ride.  Arriving at the island, we took a golf cart tour with one of the local ladies as our guide.

We walked around town and ate lunch at Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House; a "must do" in all of the cruising guides.  The food is plentiful (pickled beets, ham, potato salad, yeast rolls, crab cakes, clam fritters, apple sauce, coleslaw,  corn pudding and pound cake), very tasty and all you can eat. We waddled out of there and headed to the beach!

Gretchen and I had not seen the beach on our previous trip and it is impressive, over a mile long!  We sailed back to Onancock with a ferry full of islanders who were home for the weekend; apparently headed back to jobs and school on the mainland.  Despite the rain, it was a wonderful day on the Bay!


Time to pack up and head home at the end of another wonderful Double Nickels Trip. Thanks Gary and Laurel for making all of the arrangements.  The house, tours and bike rides were all fantastic.  Thanks everyone for your camaraderie and friendship!

The bikers!!

BTW Emily, how do you pronounce Onancock? 😎


Spring Break Maggie

Monday April 2nd

It's Easter Monday and Grandma and Grandpa are headed to Murrells Inlet to spend time with Maggie on her spring break.  Kelley is making chicken and dumplings for supper.


It's beautiful outside, a good day to go to playgrounds!  Maggie wanted the first stop to be at her school's playground.

Next we headed to Savannah's Playground but we had to stop first for lunch where Grandma and Maggie were acting silly!

After Savannah's Playground, we picked up some shrimp to cook one of Kelley's favorite recipes for dinner.  You see, it is her 40th birthday!


This morning we went for a walk at Litchfield Beach.  Maggie and Grandma thought it was so, so, so hot.

In the afternoon, we went to All Fired Up where Maggie painted a Unicorn!

Plus Grandpa took an iPhone portrait of Maggie.

Grandpa surprised Seth this evening by cooking a Chicken Bog.  Thank goodness we had left over orzo from last night to thicken it up.  Seth said it was good considering a yankee made it!


Today we went to Georgetown to stroll the river walk and have lunch.  It was a beautiful day!

Maggie found some goat friends is the square she really liked.

It was great spending some time with the Hills and particularly with you Maggie!  Coming to Murrells Inlet for your spring break is a great tradition!


Spring Break Audrey&Henry

Sunday, March 18th

Audrey and Henry are on spring break so they are coming to Lynchburg for a week with Grandma and Grandpa.  Grandma met Katie in Danville this afternoon and the crew arrived in the Burg by 4:30 p.m.


We went to the Safari Park in Natural Bridge and the animals still like to stick their heads in the car for a treat!

Henry liked to feed the animals and he was strong enough this year to hold the bucket!

Audrey was quite thrilled to see kangaroos, even a baby one!

The park seems to be doing well and they have added several new exhibits since I was there with Henry 4 years ago.  Did you ever think you could ride a turtle Audrey?

On the way home we stopped and walked on the Appalachian Trail Foot Bridge across the James River.


It was a cool and cloudy day.  In the morning Grandma and Audrey ran errands and stopped by Randolph College to see folks in the Health Center. Grandpa and Henry went grocery shopping. In the afternoon, we went to see Paddington 2 and everyone loved that movie.  Spring arrived today!


It is spring....and it is snowing in Lynchburg!

The kids did not have snow shoes so we spent the day inside playing games and watching movies!


In the morning we went over to see the Clarks and their Easter decorations; and the kids got an Easter package!

In the afternoon, Audrey and Grandma went to All Fired Up.  Audrey chose a cupcake jewelry box to paint! Grandma painted a puppy for Henry.

Meanwhile, Henry and Grandpa went to Rise Up, a climbing gym with 40 foot walls!  After an hour or so, Henry got his climbing moves down and went up one of the routes to the top.  

After several more complete climbs, he saw there were signs on the routes with names on them.  The guide told him he could get his name on one route if he could climb straight up without resting.  Well, he did and his name is now on the wall!


We got up really early (6 a.m.) so Audrey and Grandma could ride the train to Charlottesville where Henry and I will pick them up.

I believe they had a great ride!

 We stopped at Wegmans on the way home and arrived by lunch. After lunch we packed up and headed to Mebane to drop the kids off at their Daddy's house!  Grandma and Grandpa  had a really fun week with you two.  Love you much!!


Seventy Years Old

Wednesday February 21st

To celebrate Gretchen's seventieth birthday, I planned a short getaway.  We went to Waynesboro for a few days and stayed at the Iris Inn.  On Wednesday, we traveled to Staunton and spent a few hours exploring the downtown.  It has a much more funky vibe than we expected!  With no research, we chose the Farmhouse Kitchen and Wares for lunch, and it was excellent!  After checking into the Inn, we discovered they have an excellent happy hour which we enjoyed nightly with some neat folks from Maryland, and Virginia.


Today, we had reservations for lunch at Barboursville Vineyards.  It was a cloudy but rainless day so we were able to walk around the vineyard and ruins.  

Lunch at the Palladio Restaurant was gourmet as usual....always a treat!  We  bought a bottle of their Octagon which we will save for our 50th anniversary since it is a young wine just released.  We also found their Barbera Reserve is we bought a bottle of that as well...not to save!

I ponder the numbers in this blog, and I realize that life with you Gretchen has been long and wonderful!  Plus, it appears we have many adventures yet to come.  Love you lots!


Family Weekend

Friday, February  16

Katie, Audrey and Henry arrived in time for dinner with Sally coming shortly thereafter.  It was great to see Sally and catch up with what she has been doing.


It was quite a rainy day so outside activities were not in the offering.  Indoor games were the norm for the day!  Henry could not get enough Parchesi and Audrey spent a lot of time building a fort to sleep in! Sally brought Christmas presents and Henry’s chemistry lab was a big hit!

We made snow flakes that were warm, not cold!

In the afternoon, Sally, Katie and Audrey went to Apocalypse Brewery to get some local beers to take to N.C. for Katie’s Monday happy hour. The rest of us played more Parchesi while Gretchen made chicken pot pie for dinner. It was wonderful!


It was a beautiful morning so we walked to the playground.  Sally captured her first Pokémon, a cute little thing. What is it Henry?

The kids played and the family posed for a photo on the rope bars.

Thanks everyone for coming to Lynchburg. We had a great time.  Sally, we were really worried about you so it is so great to know you are doing well!  Please stay in touch.

Love to all.


Washington DC 2018

Thursday January 4th

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...viewing ice on the Potomac River from the train foretold the severe weather we would encounter.  How cold was it?  Well, let's just say it was cold enough for David to wear socks; temperatures  in the single digits with wind chills 10-20 below zero!  

Arriving at our hotel, we noticed the sister restaurant to Founding Farmers; Farmers & Distillers was  across the street.  So we ate lunch there and it did not disappoint.  I'd say it was just a good as Founding Farmers.

Gary and Laurie were able to get tickets to enter the National Museum of African American History and Culture this afternoon.  The Museum chronicles the journey of African Americans from the days of slavery to the present; their struggles, achievements and contributions to this nation.  It is a wonderful museum, a superb and needed addition to the Smithsonian.

Sitting at the counter, learning about the  lunch counter sit-in
movement in the 1960s protesting segregation. 

Beautiful circular waterfall contemplation room in the Museum.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants for dinner, Busboys and Poets.  The food and atmosphere were still great.  Back at the hotel, we all collapsed.  I'm told it is more a factor of the early start this morning than anything related to aging!


Norman was talking about how electrifying the atmosphere in his room was last night.......? But Jinx quickly clarified it was the static electricity, that created a loud pop when she plugged in her iPhone and ruined the charger!

Our first stop today was the National Gallery to see the exhibit Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry. It is a wonderful collection of paintings.  One thing I read was Vermeer was deviating from the norm by placing his subjects in the foreground with less emphasis on their surroundings.  It was true that this placement plus side lighting of the subject gave his paintings more impact than his contemporaries.  I was reminded of Galen Rowell's photo tip reminding photographers to fill the frame with the subject!

In the paintings, we noted that ladies were often surrounded by servants helping them to get dressed.  During the day, Gretchen became our lady, needing several assistants to help her don and shed the multiple layers of clothing needed to fend off of the cold!  

Next on the agenda was lunch at the American Indian Museum, always a treat due to the varied menu and good food.  During lunch, Laurel announced that she really felt the bern...which lead her to buy a lake house in Vermont! Congratulations, that will be wonderful for your family!  We all agree that summers in the Burg are stifling hot and hugely humid, so much so that sensible people head north.....hint!

After lunch, we took in The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, an exhibit that highlights how 20,000 miles of trails helped the Inca build and maintain their vast empire.

Next stop was the NATURE'S BEST™ 22nd Annual Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History.  Viewing this annual photo exhibit has become a tradition for our group.  The winning photos taken by amateurs and pros from around the world are simply stunning. Mrs. Rice was a nature photographer and the daughter of the founder of FedEx.  She died of an undiagnosed heart condition at the age 35, leaving her husband to raise two boys under four years old.

Dinner tonight was at Jaleo, one of our favorite restaurants.  We were quite pleased to eat in this establishment today to support the owner who is involved in a law suit with Mr. Trump.  After dinner, all but the Sykoras went to see the Capital Steps.  The show is always entertaining making you laugh from first song to last.  It is also up to date. The Phantom of the Opera parody was about the Fire and Fury book released this week.


First stop today was at The Phillips Collection to see the exhibit about the time leading up to the painting of the Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The painting remains the best known and most popular work of art at the museum.  I read in a note that once Renoir met his wife, women in subsequent paintings had a resemblance to her.  I found this observation to be true as I viewed the ladies in Luncheon of the Boating Party.

I'm drawn to shadows in art galleries!

Following a filling lunch at Paridiso Pizza, we headed to the Renwick Gallery which always has some unique exhibits.  This year they included a sculpture with a seemingly real cloth covering a grandfather clock which on closer inspection revealed the cloth was actually part of the carved wood;  crime scene dioramas built to train crime scene investigators and a stone sculpture of a pillow that looked like it was soft as down.

Urbana was the restaurant the Helms reserved for dinner but they had some hesitation due to reviews so we stopped by earlier in the day to check it out.  Emily quickly befriended Carlos and got the scoop; if we came for dinner, we could take advantage of the free hotel happy hour!  Well, this group could do that and ....we did!  Final conclusion? The restaurant did not disappoint,  everyone thought their food was great!


Gary and Laurel headed to the Frederick Douglass House this morning which entailed a lot of walking.  Gretchen was up for that but Tom had enough walking.  I'm very thankful my body likes biking a whole lot more than it likes walking!  So we joined the Helms and the Sykoras at the Newseum.  It is a great museum depicting the history of journalism.  One thing that impressed me was the wall honoring men and women who have lost their lives trying to do their job, uncovering and reporting the facts around the world!

Museum studio were ABC Sunday morning
 show was produced for several years.

Alas, our time in Washington came to an end and we boarded the train to Lynchburg.  But wait, three blocks from Union Station the train stopped and we spent three  hours parked  on the track waiting for an apparent brake problem to be resolved.  So our January adventure was extended a bit with us arriving in the Burg early Monday morning!  Thanks for a great trip Gary.  We all appreciate your excellent coordination and planning!


Holidays 2017


Kelley, Katie, Maggie, Audrey, Henry, Jenny and Jeff joined us in the Burg for Thanksgiving.  What a wonderful event it is to have family gathered around the table this time of year. We are blessed!

The kids got cool pajamas from their mothers who could not resist the Walmart in-store promotion!  They got furry slippers for themselves as well!  I wonder how many more years Henry will volunteer to dress in his pajamas for a photo?

The day after Thanksgiving it was time for our in-house rivalry!  The UVA drought continues for another year! (VT 10 - UVA 0)

Maggie and Kelley left for home Saturday morning.  Thanks for coming Kelley,  it was great seeing you!  The rest of the gang just had a low key day including things like a walk around downtown, getting oil and vinegar at Gretchen's favorite store in the mall and spur of the moment haircuts for Audrey and her mom.

Since we now have a tradition of going to the girls for Christmas, Gretchen and I must have been thinking about down sizing Christmas decorations.  The day we were going to decorate the tree, we both looked at each other and said, "I don't want to carry that thing up the stairs."  So, now we have a cute 4 foot tree you can carry with one hand.

It's the week before Christmas and Henry is on winter break, so he is spending the week with us.  Grandma and Grandpa loved having him in Lynchburg and this is some of the things we did.

We went to All Fired Up so Henry could make an ornament for his mother for Christmas.  He chose a ball and did a neat job painting it!

We were close to Ivy Creek Park and it was a beautiful day so we went for a hike around the lake where Henry found a tree to hug!

The week turned colder so we went for a winter hike in Riverside Park, and we saw a train come by on the tracks along the river.  A train did not pass on the track that crosses the trestle.

We asked Herny if he would like to open his Christmas present from us so Grandpa could teach him how to use it.  Of course he said yes and we began playing with Evo, the robot.  By the end of the week, Henry wrote his first computer program!

Finally, later in the week the first appearance of reindeer people occurred! One thing that happened this week was something Grandpa did to Henry's drone which I will not mention!

On Friday we took Henry home, in anticipation of spending Christmas in Hillsborough.  On Saturday, we had Christmas dinner at Katie's before playing Pokémon on our way to the Mystery Brewing Company Christmas Concert.  The concert was wonderful; there is a lot of musical talent in Hillsborough!

Sunday morning we opened presents, and then, before Audrey and Henry  left to spend Christmas with their dad.....

more reindeer people appeared! On Christmas, we had a leisurely day with Katie, which included seeing the movie Wonder, which is simply wonderful!

The day after Christmas, we headed to SC to see the Hills.  This year it was Audrey's turn to come along to spend some time with her cousin.  We tried Airbnb for the first time and successfully rented a condo in the True Blue Golf Community.  We had a great week, eating dinners together and spending time with Maggie and Audrey while Seth and Kelley worked.

One day, a cold day, we went for a ride to get out of the house.  During the ride, the girls had an ice cream craving.  Maggie's favorite ice cream place was closed and Audrey suggested getting a McFlurry at McDonalds.  Maggie said she never had one, but she really liked her Oreo McFlurry!

The cousins had a lot of fun just playing together during the week.

We took Audrey to ride the SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach since Maggie really liked it last year.  The girls loved it even though Audrey kept saying she was scared of heights at the top with a huge smile on her face!

And more reindeer people appeared!

Where is Maggie?

Great holidays K&K, thanks for making them happen!