The Cherry Blossom Festival is an adventure inspiring awe
Last year was the year of Microadventures. I did some kind of activity or excursion at least once a week that inspired awe. My “rules” were that I had to do it with another person and then blog about it.
This was a wonderful habit to get into and even though I haven’t been blogging about all my 2023 Microadventures, I am going to blog today about a very awe-inspiring excursion: The 2023 Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC.
What makes this a full-blown “adventure” (as opposed to a “micro”-adventure) is that I’ve been planning for it ever since Scotty moved to Washington DC last year! This took planning and travel and was a much anticipated escapade.
I just love flowers, flowering trees, and had heard how gorgeous the cherry blossom trees would be when they were at their peak.
Timing the peak
One of the difficult things about seeing awe-inspiring natural beauty is that it’s difficult to time the peak days, which change from year to year.
Because I needed to make my travel plans in advance, I just estimated the peak to be around early April, and got nervous when this year’s peak turned out to be March 23.
Even though we were there 9 days after the peak, there were plenty of beautiful, full trees. The weather was cool (about 57 degrees) but sunny so the scenery stunning. I absolutely want to make this an annual event (as long as Scotty is living in the DC area). Maybe next year, we’ll be able to hit it right at its peak. Now I feel confident, though, that it’s still worth going even a week or so past peak bloom.
Photos of the Cherry Blossom Festival in historic Washington DC
The Cherry Blossom Trees surround the Tidal Basin of Washington DC’s National Mall. This is where you’ll find all the historic monuments honoring our country’s forefathers.
Getting off the beaten path
The one downside of this adventure were the crowds. Luckily, we were able to take the subway to get to the National Mall, but the sounds of cars honking and whistles blowing (from people who were directing traffic and pedestrians) kind of took away from the audio ambiance.
After getting our fill of the trees around the National Mall, we got back on the subway to the Armory exit and from there took a Lyft to the National Arboretum for more beauty.
The National Arboretum offered up more opportunities for Spring Blossoms. Scotty kept saying they should have a race through these trails. After I’d scoffed at such an idea, we saw that, in fact, there was going to be a 5K in early June when all the azaleas would be in bloom!
It also was the season of bluebells! The vast blooms on this walking trail right by Scotty’s house were gorgeous and plentiful.
All-in-all, this was a super-successful adventure. These early April flowers fill me with joy and I’m so grateful that I was able to experience such a memorable sight with Scotty.
Last year I blogged at least once a week about my Microadventures. This year I’ve been going with “Healthy Aging” as my loosey-goosey theme. I’ve also thought about blogging each week about someone I admire. I can do a twofer with this post by blogging about Becky and how she contributes to my brain health!
One thing that’s super-important for healthy aging and brain health is having good friends. Having new experiences is also great for the brain, so new experiences with good friends is like a double-dose of brain food!
During my snowbird months while I’m in Bradenton, FL, I’ve wanted to get into a routine. My best and very wise friend in the area is Becky Burns. We are both busy with our various projects, but I asked Becky if we could have a weekly get-together while I was in Florida. I love weekly rituals and rather than comparing calendars every week, it’s so much easier to just have a regular day/time blocked off so I can look forward to “BB Time!”
We agreed that Tuesday mornings worked well for both of us and Becky suggested that each week we could do different “microadventures” such as walks, paddle-boarding, cafes, beach, etc. Perfect!
A New Experience: Robinson Preserve and Sage Biscuit Cafe
I asked Becky to pick our first outing. The next morning I got an email titled, “2023 Tuesdays with BB & Yvie #1: Robinson Preserve.” I love the title of the email, both because it caters to my systematic titling of activities and uses my self-suggested nickname! (Though, I like spelling it Yvy, even more to really confuse people!)
Knowing I’d be in Florida for the winter, Tony invited me to join him in Orlando for yet another flying adventure! (I’d also had an unexpected hang-gliding adventure in November).
Wow! Another opportunity to fly? I only wish I’d had my SuperCarpeDiemWoman cape! (Well, actually, we had to wear a special flight suit so… nevermind about the cape. At least I had my butterfly pants and Carpe Diem shirt for the pre-flight picture.)
iFly Indoor Skydiving was yet another activity that I didn’t even know existed!
What’s it like to have an iFly Indoor Skydiving Adventure?
Tony, an experienced iFlyer, had bought us each three flights with one of them being a high flight, where the instructor brought us up high in the wind tunnel and spun us around.
We didn’t have our phones or cameras when we were all suited up and flying, so no pictures of me flying, but here’s a YouTube video of what it’s like:
Yeah, that’s exactly what it was like! OK, we weren’t doing any fancy flips, but our instructor, Ryan, did tell me I did “very well.” And for the record, he didn’t say that to everyone. I was a proud graduate of the First Flight of iFly Flying School.
iFly Indoor Skydiving is for every age!
I thought this might be a fun thing to do with Diego and Reneya and asked what age range could fly.
“The youngest is 3 and we’ve had a few people who are over 100,” answered Ryan.
Ages 3 to over 100! One of the women in our group was celebrating her 70th birthday. I love an activity that spans all generations! Maybe I’ll take Mom, too!
If you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do, fly it out!
It’s getting late on New Year’s Eve and I’m enjoying a tradition that I’ve grown to love – quiet reflection about the events of the past year as I peruse my photos, journals, and blog posts.
Last year my New Years Resolution was to have at least one “Microadventure” a week with at least one other person and blog about it. I thought it would help me be more intentional about creating fun experiences with people I love and maybe make some new friends, too! It turned out to be a huge success!
Some of my favorite Microadventures
When I describe this project, people often ask what were some of my favorites. Here are some that are memorable for me:
Santa School Graduation – This was fun because it was a surprise (Thank you, Michael Bolé!), something that I loved and didn’t even know such a school existed!
Hang-gliding in Nags Head, NC – This was special because I didn’t ever think I’d even want to try hang-gliding! Doing it with my kids was extra special!
In this summer-time MMAP (Multi-MicroAdventure Post) (which was light on blogging), I loved realizing that my life was filled with daily Microadventures! I especially thought it was cute when Reneya suggested we go to IHOP as a Microadventure.
Of course, I loved all Microadventures that included my grandchildren, but this Trick-or-Trot 5K race was another highlight for me because I never thought I’d be able to run another race!
This post about a series of Microadventures while I was in Florida reminded me that the people were the magic ingredient that made my adventures so special.
Oh my goodness! Yes, there are so many more that I love because I love the people! I’m so grateful for all of the people who shared this year with me. What wonderful memories. My heart is full.
The people! Whether family, good friend, or someone I was just meeting, doing this with at least one other person made it extra special!
Knowing that I was going to be writing about my Microadventures, I took more pictures, and paid closer attention to the details of the event. I often provided a hyperlink, and that would give me more information about the place I visited.
Writing the blog posts helped solidify the memory for me. Tonight, as I’m reading through the many, many (117+) Microadventures I’ve had, I’m amazed at all the incredible experiences I’ve had this year.
It helped to not plan too much! As I was thinking about my favorites, a lot of what made them my favorites is that they were unexpected or surprising in some way.
I was very flexible on my “rules”.. which made it very easy for me to come up with at least one Microadventure every week.
I had microadventures even on the weeks that were hard for me for some reason.. When I look back at the year, I’m reminded much more of these happy memories rather than my difficult ones.
Could have been better
My WordPress skills
My writing skills
I haven’t spent the time to write about all my recent Microadventures and its the last day of the year! I have a few more to catch up on!
What I’ll do next year
Continue weekly blogging
Take at least one class a month (including a class on writing)
Continue looking for new experiences and people to enjoy them with!
After leaving Nags Head, Matt, Stella and I headed down the coast to the town of Wilmington, NC. We stayed at this charming Airbnb named the Sunflower House after the Van Gogh masterpiece.
Stella needed to work our first day in Wilmington, but Matt and I ventured out to the RiverWalk and did another DIY Walking Tour (we’d also done one in Asheville), learning some of the history of the town. We also perused the Cotton Exchange shopping center, all decked out for the holidays.
The following day we learned a lot more about the history of Wilmington at the very informative Cape Fear Museum.
This museum included a photo scavenger hunt, and, yes, even though it’s for children, I thoroughly enjoyed finding all the items. It was only a little embarrassing when Matt let the museum personnel know that I’d completed the scavenger hunt and should get the promised prize. It turned out to be a sticker which wasn’t enough to warrant the embarrassment, but I admit, I was curious about the prize myself.
One of the most interesting things we learned on the tour was about the 1898 coup at which White Supremacists overthrew the government in the only successful insurrection in America’s history.
I was amazed that I’d been unaware of this important and mostly hidden piece of American History. Matt, Stella and I watched the Documentary, Wilmington On Fire to learn more, and as we were leaving Wilmington we visited the 1898 Memorial.
While we were at this Memorial, I saw a bus advertising Website, WilmingtonColor.com. Though we didn’t discover this site or opportunity to learn more about this heritage tour until we were leaving Wilmington, it’s on our list for our next visit.
Another thing I learned about Wilmington is that it is the home of Carnivorous plants, including the Venus Fly Trap. We visited the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden and learned that the Venus Fly Trap can only be found in a 75-100 mile radius of Wilmington! The Venus Fly Traps were really quite tiny and hard to find – not the big scary-looking plants that I’d imagined based on The Little Shop of Horrors!
One of the surprisingly interesting Wilmington Microadventures was touring the USS North Carolina Battleship with Matt. I say ‘surprisingly’ here because I’ve never been that interested in Battleships. I wouldn’t have picked this particular tour on my own, but Matt wanted to go, so I thought, ‘why not?’ secretly hoping we wouldn’t spend too much time there. We ended up spending at least 3 hours as we slowly went through the huge ship, taking it all in.
It was incredible to me that the men who served on this ship in the 1930’s might still be alive today and that all the technology that controlled the ship was before the age of personal computers or the Internet. Also crazy how uncomfortable and lacking in privacy it must have been for them with very uncomfortable looking bunks stacked up four in a row.
There’s so much more I could write about each of these microadventures. In fact, there are quite a few more experiences we enjoyed in Wilmington, including crossing the bridge from One Tree Hill, exploring unique coffee shops and dinner spots, and Civil War Memorials.
Mostly, it was just wonderful to be sharing these microadventures with Matt and Stella. Even when we all lived in Colorado, we rarely travelled together.. or even saw each other much during the Covid years. I feel super-grateful to them for this trip and for this past two months full of new experiences and memories!
As I mentioned in my last post, hang gliding was just one of many microadventures I experienced in Nags Head, NC last week.
Matt, Stella, and I arrived at Nags Head on Friday, Dec.9th, in time for dinner. It turns out that this is the off-season in Nags Head and the first three dinner places we tried to eat at were closed (they really need to do better at keeping their Websites current.)
We’d passed this very festive-looking place called “Jingle 12” which I thought looked perfect! Matt, however, had given it a thumbs down. Even after three of his picks were closed, he wanted to go to the Outback.
It took a bit of persuasion, but I finally convinced Matt to try Jingle 12. We were all pleasantly surprised. Sure, it was over-the-top Christmas, but if you’re gonna decorate, go big, right? Every inch of this place was covered with lights and Christmas decor. The theme continued to the menus with holiday-themed drinks and dishes.
The food was delicious and unique. We even took home a cookie sampler as though we’d been to a traditional cookie exchange party.
All of this was a “pop-up,” only available for the month of December! Despite Matt’s initial hesitation, Matt, Stella, and I all agreed that it was the perfect way to start our Nags Head Microadventures.
Scotty arrived in Nags Head, joining us at the Airbnb late Friday night. Saturday morning, our first stop was Bodie Island Lighthouse.
We read about this history and debated about it’s ‘distinctive’ black and white design. (When Scotty and Matt are together, everything is a debate.)
We also walked through the grounds with the dogs (though, unfortunately, this is where they may have been exposed to ticks). Still, it was good to get some steps in and just the beginning of our very full day.
The family discussions and walking continued as we roamed through the beautiful Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC. The grounds were gorgeous and decorated for the holiday season.
The snowmen bench provided the perfect photo op for family holiday cards.
These gardens were meant to recreate the gardens of England and as a memorial for the Lost Colony – settlers that came over to the area over 400 years ago.
Personally, I didn’t know anything about the Lost Colony, but one of the guides at the park, told us all about it. We got a kick out of his dramatic story-telling. Maybe I’m getting used to the faster speed that Matt & Stella listen to podcasts, because I was getting a bit impatient with his theatrical pauses and rhetorical questions.
I have to admit, the story was a lot more interesting than a typical history class and did whet my appetite for wanting to learn more.
After our hang gliding experience, we continued our busy day by going to the Wright Brothers Memorial and Museum.
The museum celebrates the history of flight describing Wilbur and Orville’s early designs and trials.
It’s really amazing that those first flights were a mere 120 years ago! We’ve come such a long way in such a short time.
One of the novelties of any vacation is the lodging. Since Airbnb has become an option, it’s especially fun to be able to stay at places other than hotels. Stella’s especially good at finding unique and beautiful places, and this trip was no different. We were at a house right on the beach where we could hear the waves crashing to shore from our beds.
After our busy Saturday of Microadventures, Scotty suggested we watch the Star Wars Holiday Special. This 1978 made-for-TV special apparently was considered so bad that it won the #1 in The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History. One of my favorite memories of the day was listening to Matt and Scotty laughing hysterically at some of the Chewbacca family scenes.
The next morning we played board games before checking out and eating our final meal in the Outer Banks. Scotty needed to head back to Virginia and Matt, Stella, and I were headed to Wilmington.
It was a short trip for Scotty, but fully loaded. And in just a couple of weeks, he’ll be coming back to North Carolina for Christmas!
I was going to title this blog post: “Learning to Fly.” Flying, after all, is a skill most superheroes have, and this more-than-microadventure experience is totally one that caters to my SuperCarpeDiemWoman alter-ego.
Stella planned a vacation within a vacation for us to Nags Head, NC, during my 2-month holiday visit to North Carolina. Scotty drove down from Centreville, VA to meet us at an awesome Airbnb beach house right on the coast.
Our itinerary included at least 5 events that I’d consider “Microadventures” but I will save the other 4 for another post.
Originally, it was only going to be Matt & Scotty who had planned to experience hang gliding at KittyHawkKites. We’d thought it was a 3-hour training period which concluded with a flight.
Knowing that any previous classes I’d taken involving wind (sailing and wind-surfing) were embarrassingly pathetic, I had no interest myself in even trying.
In fact, I’ve been avoiding any sport that is at all risky or dangerous since I started having back problems 4 years ago. And I’d heard that hang gliding was one of the most dangerous sports there is!
Stella and I had planned to just go find a pretty walk somewhere on the beach while Matt & Scotty took the class and be back in time for a photo shoot of their flight.
However, we discovered that we could tag along for the class, which included 5 flights to actually experience what they were learning. Willie, one of the instructors, asked Stella and me, “Are you sure you don’t want to join, too?”
Stella said she was perfectly happy to watch with Choco and Mochi.
I, however, hesitantly said that I might like to try. I’ve lived through skydiving, bungee jumping, and para-sailing (although I did break my tooth on the skydiving landing.) I’m all about the one-time adventure experience in a controlled environment.
I also realized that this was an opportunity to experience something new and adventurous right alongside my dare-devil sons, Matt and Scotty.
Willie told me that I could watch Matt & Scotty’s first flights and decide. When I saw that it didn’t look nearly as scary and dangerous as I’d imagined (this was a beginner’s lesson, after all) I decided to go for it!
It ended up being amazing! Willie and Megan, the two trainers, were there to guide throughout my three flights and I had no problems at all, even on the landings!
Interestingly, there was a woman around my age, Sonia, who was working on getting a hang gliding certification. We chatted and exchanged numbers and I admired her passion in wanting to advance with her skills with the sport.
Personally, I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to do it at all. Experiencing the thrill of “flying,” the relief of the ease of landing, the excitement of the instructors yelling out, “You’re doing it!” and being with Matt, Scotty, and Stella– yeah, that’s once-in-a-lifetime priceless.
12-31-22 Update: I just received this text from Sonia: Happy New Year, Yvette. I’m back home in Ohio, I arrived only a few days ago. I stopped in Washington D.C. on my way back and spent Christmas day at Mount Vernon–George Washington’s estate. Had no idea how entrepreneurial a man he was, they still have a distillery there and sell his whiskey, that is whiskey produced using his recipes. The best news of all though, is that I got my Hang 1 certification. Glad to share the news with you because, well, you were there for a small part of the journey. Hang 2 or Bust!!! Keep in touch.
My very first Microadventure for my 2022 Project was a hike on Myakkahatchee Trail in North Port, Florida. Now, here it is, over 100 Microadventures later and I’m writing about a similar experience, this time in North Carolina, on another hike with a chee-ending name: Occoneechee,
Walking and hiking has been a wonderful “happy” habit of mine for the past few years, since I gave up running (and a full time job!)
I’m just amazed at how many parks and trails there are everywhere! And here in North Carolina at this time of year, the trees are especially gorgeous.
Hiking and walking are a wonderful way to make new friends when you’re in a new location, as I am these days.
The Carborro Parks and Recreation has a “Golden Trails” program and I was able to tag along as Naturalist Kate Finlayson led us with facts about the trees, birds, and all things nature! For example, Kate described how you could tell the difference between different types of oak trees based on the bark. I hadn’t even known there were different types of oak trees at all! I loved seeing Kate’s passion for nature and her excitement when teaching us.
I also discovered a Meetup Group for Women (55+) Walkers. This is a very active Meetup group and it’s been fun to find like-minded ladies to hang out with while I’m here in Chapel Hill.
The Pumpkin Loop Trail is in the same Forest that’s right in Matt & Stella’s neighborhood so a short drive to get to the trailhead.
Another hike I went on with this group was in Eno River State Park. I’ve taken so many pictures on every hike I’ve been on and they all are beautiful. Each has its own unique charm, whether that be a river or creek, moss-covered tree bark, or a scene that looks like an artistic masterpiece.
But the hikes I’m describing here add an extra special ingredient: People! Already, a few of these like-minded walkers have met up with me for lunch or an activity. I’ll only be here for a few more weeks, but I’ll be back for visits, and it’s fun to make some new friends during this short chapter of my life while I’m visiting Matt & Stella.
Nature, sunshine, exercise, beauty and new friends – a recipe for happiness!
Since I’ve been in North Carolina, I feel like I’ve been on vacation – I really have no responsibilities. But this past week, Matt and Stella took vacation, too, and the three of us visited Black Mountain and Asheville, North Carolina.
Stella’s an expert at planning fun vacations and is always so thoughtful in everything from picking out podcasts that we’d all enjoy to listen to on the road to finding the perfect Airbnbs and restaurants.
The Airbnb house that they had found for us was big and beautiful and my upstairs room was very comfortable! There were plenty of decks and outdoor seating and a very comfortable chaise lounge and loft area where we played games in the evenings.
The owners of this home clearly liked purple (my favorite color!) and I was happy to see purple influence in the dish-ware, decor, and even this outdoor purple swing.
Matt was the guide and the tour was like a scavenger hunt as we found the different markers, buildings, and statues along the way, telling us about the history of Asheville.
I, of course, liked to be part of the scene, whenever possible.
I thought this tour was fun and informative and I was impressed that it was all free (especially after learning how expensive tickets were to see the Biltmore! Tickets at Christmas start at $99! No thank you!)
Every morning we would start the day with coffee shop pastries – a tradition we were doing on Sundays, but I was happy to see it extend to vacation days.
This was usually followed by a trail walk with the dogs, Mochi and Choco. One morning, while Matt & Stella went for a training run, I was in charge of watching my grand-dogs. So cute!
On our second day, Stella finished up her work early enough that the three of us were able to visit the Asheville Pinball Museum for an all-you-can-play pinball experience.
Playing pinball was very nostalgic for me because my family used to own a pinball machine. I’d spent many hours as a kid playing on our machine and many of the machines in the museum were similar. My brother, Chris, owned a few pinball machines of his own, and had won some pinball competitions. Chris died over 25 years ago, but, of course, the afternoon brought back a lot of memories.
And, even though I really don’t think it has anything to do with skill, I was especially pleased that I was able to beat Matt and Stella when we were all competing. (There are so few games that I ever beat them at.)
We all were a little less mindful of our usual healthy eating habits and indulged in some sweet treats. Matt brought their toaster-oven in order to make us his cookies toped with toasted marshmallow.
On our final day, Matt made a little detour to take me on part of the Blue Ridge Parkway which would give me another stamp in my National Parks Passport book. We also stopped to do a short trail walk with the dogs.
While this was a beautiful walk, we agreed that it was similar to the Carolina North Forest trails that are right in Matt and Stella’s neighborhood!
Matt reiterated what he’s said before – there’s no real need to go on vacation any more, since he lives in such a beautiful spot!
I know they really took this trip for me! They knew I’d love Black Mountain and Asheville and they were right!
Me and Scotty on a walking trail in his Centreville neighborhood
For the past 5 years or so, my adult children all lived in Colorado and monthly get-togethers for birthdays or holidays were the norm. However, in the past year, both my sons moved to other parts of the country.. Matt (and Stella) to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Scotty to Centreville, Virginia (near Washington DC.)
Centreville is a 4.5 hour drive from Chapel Hill, so while I’m visiting Matt & Stella’s, I wanted to also make a trip up to see Scotty’s new place. I decided to do this over the Veterans Day long weekend before the days were too cold.
I guess he typically does this with friends from work and assures me he’s not alone in this tradition. Personally, since Scotty is an engineer and has never been deployed, his job doesn’t seem particularly deserving of all the “Thank you for your service” respect that he gets from the general public.
I also don’t like him taking advantage of the generosity of businesses to collect a bunch of free food.. However, I’m sure this frugal gaming nature of collecting “free stuff” probably originated from my parenting habits. After my divorce, when I was always worried about money, I did gamify everything from grocery shopping to vacationing, looking for ways to be as cheap as possible, and Scotty very happily played along. I’ve reminded him since he’s been a well-employed adult that it’s no longer necessary to be ultra-frugal. He reminds me of his generosity in sharing his free stuff with me, to which I roll my eyes.
In any case, I resisted my instincts to criticize this tradition.. after all, he’s having fun, its harmless, he’s not breaking any laws and apparently he’s not alone in celebrating Veterans Day this way. And, yes, I get to share in the collected loot. To his credit, Scotty paid my full-price meal when we went to dinner at BJ’s Brewhouse.
I also give credit for Scotty indulging me in my own traditions that he may have been internally rolling his eyes about – walking at least 10K steps every day.
On Veteran’s Day it was very rainy, yet in between fast food stops, I wanted to walk. Amazingly, there was the perfect trail, the George Snyder Trail, which we stumbled upon, right behind one of our stops!
We both had umbrellas, and even though at times the rain was coming down fast, it wasn’t too cold. The blanket of leaves that covered the ground, along with the still colorful trees and the rain made this walk unique and memorable.
There also was a long, scenic trail right in Scotty’s neighborhood that he took me on when I first arrived, knowing how much I enjoyed walking in new places.
Scotty’s house and neighborhood
I actually loved walking in Scotty’s neighborhood, too. One family had gotten a head start on the Christmas season and had enough Christmas decorations to rival Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Even I (a lover of seasonal decorations) thought that this was “too much” and preferred the more simplistic decor of the houses that still had their Halloween decorations out.
I was impressed that Scotty would be able to afford a house in a Washington DC suburb in this pretty Colonial neighborhood. He got a good loan (another perk for Veterans) and rents out rooms in order to help with the mortgage. In fact, while I was there, I helped him get his newly finished basement room set up for Airbnb rental.
I really love my relationship with Scotty. Typically, I’m hosting him at my house where we have our traditions of playing games, watching movies, or eating favorite meals. It was fun to have the roles reversed.. still doing the same things, but this time with Scotty as the host, and me as the visitor.
He cooked the meals (or “provided” them on Veterans Day), picked the movie Coraline for us to watch (finding movies we both want to watch can present a challenge!) and helped me play Magic: The Gathering a game from his youth that he’d challenged me to learn.
Scotty’s the “baby” of the family, but he is 28 years old, and it was fun to see him in the adult role of home-owner and host. Though I’d seen him in this role for the few years he’d lived in Colorado Springs, it was more common for him to come to my house than for me to go to his when he lived in Colorado.
I’d initially been sad about my kids continuing to move further from my big empty nest, but this month I’ve seen that their moves have given me a new opportunity. Now I get to experience visits to their “nests” and see their lives through a different lens.
All three of my kids lead very successful, independent lives – something every parent dreams of. I’m so proud of each of them. I feel very grateful that in the past month, I’ve gotten to spend quality time with each of them. Even though it’s been a little difficult for me to “let go” and fully embrace the empty nest stage of life, I see now that I can still enjoy special times with my kids, including this memorable Veterans Day Weekend at Scotty’s in Centreville!