Vacation on a Budget — Part II

Here are some other low-cost or free activities our family enjoyed while on vacation in Montebello, VA. (You could probably do most of these on any camping trip too!)

Mark took Emily to the lake to feed the fish. I think she was throwing in entire hot dog rolls — they were quite stale. Mark tried to show her to break them up into small pieces, but those fish got mostly huge chunks.
On one of the last days of our vacation, Clara turned one before our very eyes! Incredible! Here she is listening to suffering through the three of us while we attempt to sing Happy Birthday to her.
We splurged on a pony ride for Emily on the last day — $20. I’m certain she will remember Clover (the pony’s name) for a long time.
All four of us went in the paddle boat, but it was too difficult to get a photo while the baby was sitting on my lap. Here’s Emily steering the paddle boat while Mark does all the work. The boats were just $4 for an hour.
Another free activity we enjoyed was driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway, and watching the sunset from an overlook. Who knew a kid would have so much fun waiting for the sun to go down?
This was well-worth the wait.
Another place Mark could not resist checking out — Gertie’s Country Store. Borrow a pen, and if you can find a space, sign your name on the walls or ceiling (they are covered with signatures of people who passed through). Try their potato salad, barbeque and slaw, and be sure to meet the owners, who are well-known for their hospitality.
Coming up…. more frugal crafty goodness, another fun giveaway, and recipes for tasty (and cheap) summer eats! Mmmmm!


  1. Val in the Rose Garden says

    The fish in our local pond got many a stale piece of bread when Alex was that age. But I don't think that Logan has ever fed fish! I will have to try that with him. πŸ™‚ What beautiful memories your kids will have from that frugal trip.


  2. Homemom3 says

    She looks like she had a ton of fun and the pony ride will definitely be remembered. I took my kids when they were younger, my youngest girl still remembers that gray horse and the name. She constantly talks about that ride even though it has been a long time. I love those paddle boats.

  3. Stephanie Griffith says

    I love the look on Clara's face as you are singing to her. That is priceless!

    What a great trip!

  4. @ Val in the Rose Garden – Oh, I'm sure Logan would love feeding the fish! We have a fish hatchery nearby, and I've been meaning to take the girls there sometime this summer. It's always a lot of fun (and a good way to get rid of stale bread) πŸ™‚

    @ Homemom3 — That is so sweet! I love how kids remember things like that. I wish I had a photo of Clara in the paddle boat… she was giggling like crazy!

  5. @ Stephanie — Hahaha! Clara was completely overdue for a nap at that point, but she gladly stayed up for singing and cake!

  6. sunnymama says

    Watching that sunset is a really wonderful frugal activity. How gorgeous! A happy belated 1st birthday to Clara πŸ™‚

  7. I love Clara's expression in the birthday photo!

    I went on a pony ride when I was 7 years old and I still remember what a thrill it was more than two decades later, I bet Emily will too πŸ™‚

  8. @ sunnymama — Next time I would love to pack up a picnic dinner beforehand. They had lots of tables and picnic areas all along the Blue Ridge Highway… beautiful!

  9. @ MaryAnne — That is amazing! I hope she remembers these things too. If not, I'll have plenty of photos to help jog her memory. We took almost 100 photos a day while we were on vacation!!