Before Scott and I could welcome in fall with last weekend’s clambake, we needed to say so long to summer. At the very end of August we packed our CRV and headed on the road for a bit of family, a bit of comics, and two weeks of vacation fun.
Things started off similar to our last vacation in May – with stops in Virginia to see my sister and parents. Although we’ve spent the last few Augusts in Culpeper where my sister lives, we still seem to discover new things every time we visit.
Admittedly, a lot of that has to do with my sister being an excellent tour guide and going out of her way to find fun things to do.
Highlights of this stop in Culpeper included:
- A day of shopping in downtown Culpeper where I picked up: Blood Orange EVOO and Tangerine Balsamic from Taste Oil Vinegar Spice, Maple Bourbon Pickles from Culpeper Cheese Company, and candy from My Secret Stash.
- A tour of the Copper Fox Distillery, home of Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky and Copper Fox Rye Whisky. Both were 2013 International Review of Spirits Gold Medal winners achieving 92 and 94 points, respectively.
- And visits to nearby Taste of the Mountains and Cedar Point’s sister park Kings Dominion. We splurged on a couple of Fast Passes for Kings Dominion, which were worth the $50 – allowing us to get in a very full day of rollercoasters. I was glad to make use of my CP Platinum Pass on vacation. After reading that Kings Dominion is celebrating their 40th anniversary next season, a return trip is in order for next spring!
I think my favorite part of our stay in Culpeper was getting afternoon tea at Culpeper’s Miss Minerva’s Tea Room. Voted the #2 tea house in Virginia, we enjoyed an hour of trying a variety of unusual loose-leaf teas in a quaintly beautiful setting. Even Scott and Gabbie, who aren’t huge tea drinkers, enjoyed the Ice Wine Tea, English Caramel, and rose-petal-infused Mademoiselle Grey. The very friendly service and a selection of delicious cranberry scones, small sandwiches and desserts complemented this calming afternoon activity.
This was one of the longest vacations we’ve taken so Scott and I had to seriously pace ourselves to avoid vacation burnout. After four busy days at Gabbie’s, it was nice to just unwind for a couple days at my parents’.
While we did take a tour of Ingleside Vineyards, the rest of the time in the Northern Neck was spent lounging by the Chesapeake and hanging out with my parents and their feline friends. Scott even squeezed in a driving lesson with my dad:
It was hard to say goodbye to my folks, but knowing that they plan to visit this winter helped. Plus, we were excited for the next leg of our trip – Baltimore Comic Con!
After four years of Chicago’s C2E2, Scott and I decided to mix up our comicbook convention-going by attending this year’s Baltimore Comic Con instead.
It also gave us an excuse to briefly see Scott’s sister Laura and her fiancee Max on our drive from Virginia to Maryland. Lunch in DC was followed by a visit to the International Spy Museum, where Laura works on their exhibitions and programs. I couldn’t have asked for a better first time at the museum as Laura gave us her personal tour through their current James Bond Villains exhibit. I really enjoyed hearing how they put the exhibit together.
I even had time to introduce Scott to one of my favorite restaurants from when I was a kid – Il Porto in Old Town Alexandria. Their escargot and frutti di mare dishes were as good as I remembered. Afterwards, we walked around Old Town, visited the coolest vintage cocktailware store, and enjoyed glass harp and polynesian dance shows by the waterfront.
We couldn’t stay out late because we had to wake up early the next morning for two whole days of comic book goodness.
Presented by Cards, Comics and Collectibles of Reisterstown, Maryland, the Baltimore Comic Con is dedicated only to comic books instead of other forms of entertainment like many other conventions.
This meant excellent panels dedicated to learning about the process behind our favorite (and new favorite) comic books from the writers and artists. The panels were less about selling books and more about sharing a love for them. On top of that, the convention floor boasted one of the larger Artists Alleys I’ve seen – dedicating much of its space to up and coming artists.
After Sunday’s show, we squeezed in a couple hours at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. In addition to a mind-blowing collection of comic books (including Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics #1), the museum features toys and memorabilia spanning from the 1920s to today.
Although I enjoyed reminiscing over many of my favorite childhood toys, I loved seeing things like the Howdy Doody display from when my parents were kids. If you are in Baltimore, Geppi’s and its floor-to-ceiling pop culture is a must-do.
After a whirlwind weekend in Baltimore, a stopover in New Jersey to say hi to Scott’s parents and grandmother was a nice break before driving back to Cleveland. Although my car may not be happy that we put so many miles on it, we had a fantastic time!