Labor Day Weekend at Huntley Meadows

I was torn between wanting to get out of my house this weekend and finishing the last bit of work on my room, so we compromised and did a little of both. On Saturday, Robert and I headed out to Huntley Meadows Park for a little woodsy therapy. (The original choice was Mason Neck, but Huntley Meadows was closer)

I was surprised to learn that he had never been – perhaps because the boardwalk trails at Huntley Meadows were such a large and memorable part of my youth that I can’t imagine a Northern Virginia life without them. My father, having studied ornithology in school and then worked as a park ranger in Ohio (to say nothing of his general love of the “out-of-doors”) took every opportunity he got to take us to some park or other and spend hours looking at birds through his binoculars.

I didn’t bring a pair of binoculars this time, but Robert and I were armed with cameras.

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The weather this weekend was PERFECT! Warm without being uncomfortable and sticky, with a nice breeze every now and then. There were a number of people on the wood trail that led up to the boardwalk, though we saw fewer folks on the far side of the deer trail, as we started back towards the Visitor Center.

Google originally told us that the Visitor Center would be closed at 1pm, but we were pleased to find that it was still open until 4pm, for Labor Day weekend. It is a nice space with a little diorama of animals, birds and fish you might find on your walk (I remembered it from the visits I made as a kid) and a nice assortment of buttons to push that make things light up (don’t look at me like that…push buttons are fun!).

The gift shop also has a nice assortment of children’s books, stuffed animals and, more importantly, owl pellets for sale! I do love an owl pellet. So much so that I found a website where I can order them in bulk, as well as ordering specialized owl pellets that have been sorted by prey species.

Yes, I am weird. I make no apologies, because owl pellets are freakin’ cool and also we shouldn’t apologize for being the interesting people we are.

We drove past Historic Huntley Manor on our way to the park but didn’t get a chance to stop. The park is named for the manor, which once belonged to the grandson of George Mason (oft-forgotten Revolutionary-era statesman from Virginia). The Northern Virginia area is home to a great number of stately, old mansions that have belonged to famous families throughout the years, so it’s not really a surprise that we haven’t happened upon this one yet. Perhaps we’ll get a chance to check it out before the weather turns cold again.

For now, I’ll leave you with new pictures of the cats, lounging about the house and enjoying their Labor Day Weekend.

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