Great Wolf Lodge


So I’m sure you’ve heard commercials for this place. I believe there are multiple locations. We went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA. For those of you that DON’t know what this place is, it’s basically a resort with an indoor water park. They’ve got a wave pool, a kiddie play area, a children’s “hot tub”, and adult hot tub, boogie boarding, a few huge slides, a swimming pool, a lazy river…


and this big climbing thing. Aside from water activities, they also have an arcade, which has this human size wack-a-light type game that I want to come back to play when I’m not pregnant. They also have minature bowling, a kiddie spa, and adult spa (with maternity massage!), Shadow/Magic quest which sends you on adventures all over the lodge and of course story times, face painting and a balloon animals guy. THERE IS A LOT TO DO.


The husband and I have always wanted to check it out, but since we didn’t have kids of our own yet, it would have been awkward to just plan a weekend there. Luckily, our friend has children, of age, and it was spring break and they asked us if we’d like to join. Uh..yes. There really was something for everyone, and I’d love to come back with our mini bun. During the summer they open up the outdoor part of the park so there is even more to do! One thing I recommend is getting the souvenir sipper cup. For $13 you get the cup and free refills your entire stay, and anytime you come back. Well worth it for us because this included Icees, and I am all about the Coke Icees. A small icee which is half that size is about $4 so it started paying for itself!


I was actually quite surprised to see some teens there. Looked like they brought their significant others as well. This particular location was very close to wal-mart, sonic, chick fil-a and other restaurants,so if you find the food too expensive in there you can always go off the resort for eats. They also provide a fridge and microwave in your room so bring snacks and your own water!

I definitely would go back with our little one, and friends and theirs!

The Secret Garden Cafe


I never walked around Occoquan before. Perhaps the scary show about it being haunted is what kept me away. Is that why everything closes at like 5pm?


Any whooooo. We had dinner AND brunch at this place called The Secret Garden Cafe. I love the outdoor seating, and their dinner was pretty delicious.


For dinner we chose to eat inside, because it was hot and I’m trying to avoid getting anymore mosquito bites this year. The dining room is pretty intimate and the tables are small. It kind of looked like we were eating dinner at someone’s home (maybe that was the point?).


The staff is friendly and attentive. And they had a little bakery section if you wanted to take home a dessert! They had a big selection of wines, beers and ales to choose from. I rarely drink but I liked their hard apple cider.







For brunch, you can order off the menu or do the buffet. We sat outside for this one. Enjoyed their yummy MIEMOSas (had to do it), and went for the buffet.


It wasn’t a large selection, and if you are sitting outside you have to walk into the restaurant and back out again. The buffet included a made to order omelet station, and fresh belgian waffles. Plenty of bacon and sausages, home fries, fresh fruit, pastries, etc.

gbaF8n6qsG8M4w8e.jpgI definitely enjoyed the atmosphere. It kind of reminded me a little of France because of the quaint outdoor seating. Will be back!

The Secret Garden Cafe
404 Mill St
Occoquan, VA 22125

(703) 494-2848


Bangkok Noodle


Not sure if you noticed, but I love noodle soups. It’s so comforting, and even though it could be 100 degrees outside, I could probably still have some noodle soup. A couple of people have mentioned Bangkok Noodle House in Springfield, so we decided to give it a shot one day for lunch.

They also serve a regular thai menu, but we were there strictly for the noodles. The service was attentive and friendly. I chose the floating market soup. I have never had it before. It was flavorful, but I don’t think I would get it again, it was too…liver-y for me.

But their homemade ice cream? YES. Winner. We had a scoop of coconut, and a scoop of taro. AND IT HAD BITS OF REAL TARO in it. Taro is one of my favorite flavors, artificial and real.


I love burgers. But you probably already know that from my other posts. Guess what? There’s a new place to satiate my hunger for juicy burgers and fries… Smashburger. Lucky me, I got to go try them out before they opened. And yes, they won me over. I got to meet the founder Tom Ryan, and he even took me into the back to teach me the secrets of how they get their burgers so juicy..oh yeah and I got to smash one myself!

But first, lets talk about food. Let’s talk about 100% angus beef, fresh not frozen, that gets bowl cut (meaning chopped into tiny pieces instead of run through a grinder) and then smashed and seasoned on the grill. Oh and butter? Butter is always better. Their patties get hand rolled into perfect 5 oz meatballs (for the regular sized burger) and then smashed into their signature smash patty shape. If you aren’t a fan of burgers, there’s chicken. Their chicken is smashed and then grilled, or battered and fried like chicken fried steak. Take your pick. I had the BBQ, BACON, Cheddar burger with added garlic mushrooms, with a side of Beefy chili, fried pickles, smashfries, and sweet potato smash fries, and downed it all with their signature mixed teas.

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They have 3 teas, which will probably be different at other Smashburger places (I heard there was a sweet tea and a mango tea somewhere out there) the ones are this location are called, citrus smash, passion punch, and classic crush. You can mix and match to your taste. I personally like the citrus smash. Light and refreshing! Tom found these guys (Teako Teas) at a farmer’s market and loved their display and their handcrafted flavors that Smashburgers became their first national client.

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Everything was amazing. I didn’t even need to break out the ketchup bottle. Yes I did use the Smash sauce (I’ll share the secret, mustard, mayo, relish and lemon juice). The fried pickles were crispy from the batter and puckering awesome. Both types of smashfries were seasoned with olive oil, rosemary and garlic came out crisp on the outside and perfect in the middle. Not a fan of meat? There is something for everyone…

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This right here is their Spicy Baja Black bean burger. Aka the veggie burger. You can have that or create your own with their multitude of sauces, buns, cheese and toppings. These are also made fresh in house.

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(Tom Ryan, Founder & Chief Concept officer)

Now I know what you are thinking, “Ugh, another CHAIN burger place?”. Okay stop right there, yes there are over a 100 locations and its the fastest growing “better burger” places out there, but founder Tom Ryan strives to make it unique. With each region the Smashburger is located at, he creates some regional menu items. He’s even traveling, and conducting beer pairings with local breweries for each region. Pretty awesome right?

Tom had a vision. He wanted to bring the burger place back. When he was telling me his vision for what Smashburger is, it made me think of the fabulous ’50s, a time of sock hops and poodle skirts. Back when taking your date for a milkshake and a burger was cool. Here you can suck down some haagen daz shakes or a soda float, have a beer with your buddies and just hang out. The food is great, the vibe is fun, and could be the perfect start to your girl’s/guy’s night out.

Key things I learned:

  • The burger stays juicy because its chopped into tiny pieces not run through a grinder
  • The smashing on the grill seals in the juiciness and fat
  • Buttered buns keeps it from soaking in the burger’s juice and getting soggy
  • I am a terrible at flipping burgers in a fast food situation

Hope you guys get a chance to enjoy it! I almost went back the next day (if it wasn’t rush hour, it would have happened…even after the gym).


Cobbler Mountain Cellars

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What a great weekend! It’s always a good time when you gather a group of awesome girls and do a wine tasting. Place of choice? Cobbler Mountain Cellars. We loved it there so much, that we’re probably going to back next weekend, to hike the mountain and do a tasting of their HARD APPLE CIDER! How perfect is that? This family owned and operated winery opened its doors just last summer, June 2011! We got to spend time and hear the magical story of how everything came together on this farm, which has been in owner Laura McCarthy Louden’s family since 1959. The brief history can be read in poem form on their website. Or if you’re interested, I can tell you!
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What stood out to me was how the family turned sadness into positiveness at every turn. Laura’s father purchased the farm in 1959 and had to leave to make a bigger difference in special needs children’s lives in South Carolina. After not surviving a heart attack at a young 42, Mr. McCarthy left a daughter and a wife and a baby in the womb. That baby was Laura. After growing up in South Carolina, with frequent trips to the farm, Laura and her husband Jeff acquired the land. They started restoring the house 8 years ago. Jeff who was a finance man by trade, had a passion for wine making, and kept a stack of wine books for light reading. After making many hobby batches, and studying winemaking via UC Davis extension, the decision to turn the farm into a winery was made. Six years ago, they planted their grapes, moved into the house 3 years ago, and started selling their wines summer of 2011.

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Our tasting was in their cellar which was very quaint and cute. Twinkling lights and the decor made it a cozy place to hang out and sip your wine. They offer a box of goodies for purchase that has local breads, cheese and HONEY to complement the wine. You can take this box, along with a bottle of your favorite wine, take a seat at their many picnic tables or relaxing chairs and enjoy the mountain view.

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You can find their list of wines here, not listed are their Cobblestone White which is one of my favorites. Not only are their wines tasty, they are environmentally friendly! You can bring back your bottles to them to reuse, where they will sterilize and cork new wines in, instead of recycling and using excess energy to melt the bottles down into new products.  All their wines, except the chardonnay, are vegan, since they use clay based enzymes in their process, instead of animal products. They grow their own grapes for the chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv and the viognier.

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They support local businesses by using local honey in their wines, as well as offer local cheeses and breads with their wines when you come to hang out! My favorite is the boursin cheese with the petit verdot! Or chocolate nibs with the cabernet franc… okay maybe they are all my favorite? You can find their wines at the retailers below.

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If you can’t make it to any of the retailers, or you want to make a trip to the winery and come home with a big order, if you buy a case you are automatically enrolled into their Bear Case Club. This gives you 15% off case and shop purchases, complementary tastings for you and a guest, and well as, if you refer a friend to buy a case, you get a bottle on the house. Plus, you get the added bonus…of having a friend you know who has a case of wine 😉

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The girls and I had such a great time. We will definitely come back to try the hard apple cider and maybe bring the puppies for a hike! 😀 Keep an eye out for events from Cobbler Mountain Cellars. They are definitely up and coming, and you don’t wanna miss out on their cool events. They are going to be an Oceania Cruise next summer where they will be part of wine pairings, vineyard excursions and not to mention exploring Rome, Pisa, Tuscany, Marseilles, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Lisbon aboard the cruise line. If I had the money, I’d definitely wanna be on that!

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Walker’s Grille for Brunch

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug On one of his evening runs, the honey discovered this place. So one Saturday morning, we got up and headed over for brunch. It was a lot nicer than I expected. They have outdoor seating, a bar, booths, this place was legit. AND! They have eggs benedict. Yes I know I should probably get tired of them soon. Maybe I should just learn how to poach an egg…. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Anywhoo. The verdict? Great selection. I’d go back to try something else. I don’t know if it is me, or if everyone is using the vinegar trick but all the eggs taste vinegary, 2 out of the 4 places I’ve had poached eggs. But his breakfast tasted amazing, yes I took some of his breakfast too. The hashbrowns are nommy, and the bacon are thick applewood style. SO GOOD. However they shaved their ham so thin it was like prosciutto and I wasn’t a fan. Also their english muffins we’re toasted at all/or enough. Fail. Maybe next time I’ll get eggs florentine with a side of bacon. Love that fresh fruit comes as a side :D.