The Depot Grille: Staunton VA

On our way back from Snowshoe, we stopped in Staunton, Virginia at The Depot Grille. The railroad came to Staunton in 1854 and changed the area from a rural town to a center for trade. In 1989 the property that was once the train station was renovated and The Depot Grille now stands in its spot. Check out the paper on top of the tables with crayons for coloring and the toy trains placed around the restaurant. 

Open six days a week, the Grille allows you to eat while sitting next to a caboose. After eating, you can head to the back and walk along the tracks. Find the stairs that lead to the bridge up and over the tracks for a birds' eye view of the tracks. This is a perfect stop for any train lovers! (Also, checkout our stop at Cass Scenic Railroad Park) 

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

At the bottom of Snowshoe Mountain is Case Scenic Railroad State Park. The State park is full of history from the time when Cass was a lumbering town. Much of the town is the same from its founding in 1901, built by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company and then operated by the Mower Lumber Company. Walk along the railroad tracks, checkout multiple train parks, then head inside to grab ice cream from the Last Run Restaurant and Soda Fountain. 

Also on the property is a playground, basketball court, volleyball court, and fire-pit.  Fishing, hiking, biking, and geocaching are also available. There is also a free historical museum.  Walking tours of the town are offered at 12 and noon. There is also the Cass Historic Theater which has documentaries about the railroad and town. 

Scenic train rides are offered Spring-Fall and vary from 2 hours to overnight trips. From May to October Pickin' On the Porch starts every Saturday at 5. People are welcome to bring their musical skills to play or listen to music. 

5 Spots for Littles at Snowshoe Mountain Resort

We were lucky enough to get in one more weekend of skiing and boarding before the end of the season at Snowshoe Mountain last weekend. Snowshoe is about five and a half hours from Hampton Roads in West Virginia. Although it does have the best slopes around, Snowshoe offers more to guests than skiing, which is great when you have little ones with you. Here are some of my top picks to do with littles on the mountain. 

  • Split Rock Pool: Take an afternoon dip in Split Rock Pool, included with your stay at any Snowshoe property. The heated pool flows from inside to outside, so you will be swimming while it snows around you. There is a slide both indoors and outdoors and two hot tubs. The whole property overlooks the mountains and you can't beat the view while you soak. 
  • Bear's Den: Silvercreek is Snowshoe's partner mountain. Take the free shuttle that runs between them over to Silvercreek's lodge for the Bear's Den arcade. In this section there is a children's area with walls set up for kids to play. Legos, gears, locks and hooks will keep them engaged. Let them play on the slides and climbers while you snag a drink. 
  • Shaver's Lake: Walk around Shaver's Lake. Here you can buy a one day fishing pass, go on little hikes, and end up at the picnic tables and playground. The playground is right next to the Boathouse which is perfect to meet those who are skiing. They do have a kids meal. 
  • Tubing at Coca-Cola Tube Park: For kids who love adventure, checkout tubing. Three and under are only $5 per person, and are on a smaller hill that they can enjoy. Kids ages four and up and over 36 inches can ride on the big hill for $15. 
  • Ski School: Checkout Snowshoe's Ski School. It's the closest mountain around that has one. Ski School runs from 9:00-3:30. 
  • As a bonus, checkout Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, which is just at the bottom of a mountain. 

    This photo is a nod to my dad, who loved this run, and sitting at Arbuckle's Cabin at the bottom. Flying down this run, I could see him in my mind's eye. So here's to you, dad. Another adventure in your memory! 

Free demos with Music Together of Hampton Roads

I posted about Music Together of Hampton Roads several years ago on our first visit, and I'm so excited to share that they are offering several free demo classes this week. The Music Together program dates back to 1987 and has spread all over the world. Locally, classes are held in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Chesapeake, and virtually on Zoom. There are both indoor and outdoor classes available. 

Classes are family style and range from birth to age four. Children will explore different instruments, shake their hands, wiggle, and shake their bodies. Classes last nine weeks during fall, winter, and spring, and six weeks during the summer. Each class is 45 minutes. Check out one of the free demos happening this week! Please sign up online to reserve your spot and instruments! 

Demo options: 

  • Tuesday, March 22nd, 10:00-10:45: Outdoor Class - Larchmont United Methodist Church, Norfolk. Meet in the side yard. 
  • Wednesday, March 23rd, Outdoor Class - Chesapeake City Park, Chesapeake. Meet in the shelter by the Fun Forrest. 
  • Thursday, March 24th 10:00-10:45 Indoor Class - RPM Dance, Suffolk 
  • Friday, March 25th, 10:30-11:15 Outdoor Class - Wycliffe Presbyterian Church, Virginia Beach, meet on the front lawn. 

Bluebird Gap Farm: Updates!

We stopped by one of our favorites, Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton, and were so excited to see that they are working on new updates! Besides the usual animals, playground, and gardens, the city of Hampton has added in a pathway which leads around to a beautiful duck pond, more structures for all kinds of birds, and is currently building aviaries for what looks like three birds. One is a red-tailed hawk, but the other two don't have signage yet. There is also a new section with three emus. 

Also new is the rock play garden inside the Adventure Woods section. I am so excited to come back as it gets warmer to see what else is coming! More details about Bluebird Gap Farm here. 

Lee Hall Train Depot

Newport News' Lee Hall Depot was erected in 1881 as part of the Chesapeake and Ohio rail line and served the town of Lee Hall. Service ended in the late 1970's, and the city of Newport News relocated  the building across the tracks to restore it. The museum is small, but it has exhibits upstairs of what it was like for the family to live at the station, and downstairs about the history of the station and the impact on the surrounding area. 
Our favorite section was the "engine" for kids to climb in and press all the buttons, and then the children's area where they have train puzzles, conductor outfits, train whistles to pull, a train going around the top of the room, and of course a train table. Also, while we were there, a train came by and we were able to watch from the porch. There is also a section of tracks laid outside the museum for kids to walk on. 

Admission is free for under 6, ages 7-18 is $6.00, and adults are $8.00. There is a family discount of $20.00 per household also. They do offer a AAA discount. The museum is located at 8 Elmhurst Street and Warwick Boulevard.