Vacation on a Budget — Part I

Here are some more details from our week long vacation in Montebello, VA. It is beautiful there! We stayed in this cute cottage at the Montebello Camping and Fishing Resort. The rates are very reasonable, and the cabin included a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a pull out sofa in the living room, and a full bathroom. You can see more photos of the cabin we stayed in (as well as make reservations for your own camping trip) here.

Mark and I developed an interesting language while we were there. We felt we weren’t really camping. Camping involves a tent, and we were hardly “roughing it”. So we called it campin’. And if we were doing something, but not really doing it we would leave off the “g”. (i.e., shoppin’, fishin’, hikin’).
We cooked all our meals during our stay, and this saved us a lot of money. For Mark, in particular, this trip offered a chance to unplug from everything — no phone, no internet, no TV, and most importantly no cell phone access.
There is plenty of hiking or hikin’ (whichever you prefer) in Montebello, and lots of places to picnic. We went out for picnic lunches almost every day during our stay.
If you are in the area, a must-see attraction is Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, VA. I have never seen or heard of anything else quite like it. You drive through the zoo and feed the animals right from your car! The zoo can be expensive, but this was a real highlight from our trip.
We also enjoyed swimmin’ in the lake, a free activity, and I think the girls enjoyed this the most.
And lots of beautiful overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here’s Emily at Big Spy Mountain overlook. Gorgeous and free!
Another free attraction, while in Natural Bridge, VA we came across this very interesting sculpture. It is a full-sized replica of Stonehenge, only this is made from foam — not stone. It is called Foamhenge, and Mark thought it was pure genius.
More photos, free attractions, and tips to save money while on vacation coming soon….


  1. Lenetta @ Nettacow says

    Not that you'd ever make it out this way, but if you do, Nebraska offers Carhenge. Seriously.

  2. @ Lenetta — I never knew about Carhenge! If it were up to Mark, he would plan a trip out there just to see it. I'm not kidding!!

  3. MaryAnne says

    Sounds like pretty stress-free campin' πŸ™‚

    My kids would LOVE that safari park (so would I), and I think Foamhenge looks pretty cool!

  4. Mama King says

    I am lovin' Foamhenge! I love all those quirky roadside oddities. I want to visit the largest ball of yarn someday. My highlight of all things kitschy was visiting the Dinosaurs from Pee Wees Big Adventure out in California. I guess I'll have to add Foamhenge to my list!

  5. @ Mama King — The largest ball of yarn sounds like fun! LOL My sister in law went to see the largest frying pan once. There are all sorts of quirky roadside things like that — we love that sort of thing!

    @ MaryAnne — Safari Park is very hands-on, and the animals come right up to the car! I think it was the closest I've ever been to a zebra. It's really incredible!

  6. ONe PiNK FiSH says

    Sounds like such a fun vacation. We love campin' too.

  7. Val in the Rose Garden says

    What a beautiful and fun vacation! Nice pictures too!

    Foamhenge. My dh would be a fan too. Boys. πŸ˜‰


  8. Homemom3 says

    looks like a beautiful area and a ton of things to do. I love the overlook.

  9. Stephanie Griffith says

    Well, shoot. I somehow deleted my comment.

    Foamhenge! I love it! I love random stuff like that. When I was a teenager we trekked out to Darwin MN to visit "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" from the Weird Al song. I've lately been considering a visit to the SPAM museum.

    Lenetta, carhenge looks fabulous too!

    Valerie, where is the world's largest frying pan? I'd like to see that.

  10. @ Homemom3 — The overlooks were some of my favorite parts about the vacation. So glad you stopped by!

  11. @ Stephanie — I never knew there was a SPAM museum!!! That is so funny! The largest frying pan is in Rose Hill, NC. World's Largest Frying Pan

    Apparently, it is still used to fry up large numbers of chickens at a time! :-O

  12. sunnymama says

    I've been to Stonehenge, but that Foamhenge looks so cool I'd visit there too! I love the picture of Emily looking out over that beautiful view πŸ™‚

  13. Stephanie Griffith says

    I love that the worlds largest frying pan is actually used and not just some crazy museum piece or statue. That is great!

  14. …love the photo of Emily at Big Spy Mountain overlook! πŸ™‚

  15. @ sunnymama — Oh, I'm so jealous you have been to Stonehenge! It is as mystical as they make it sound? It must be beautiful!

    @ Stephanie — It must be so surreal when they use that big honkin' frying pan for all those chickens!! I've heard they use it for charity cook offs..? Not sure about that, though.

    @ Sherry — Thank you, that is one of my personal favorites from our entire trip! The landscape was so pretty!

  16. What a beautiful place! My parents live in VA and we hope to visit the safari park on one of our trips up there.

  17. This is a great series, Varerie. I think it's very important to not just try to save everyday but to have a great vacation on a budget as well. We now have a series started on this subject as well.
    I will look up Foamhenge…

  18. Looks like you all enjoyed a great vacay in Virginia!

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