Long Weekend, Long Post

I can’t believe that my spring break is almost over. I don’t want it to end! I know, you probably have no sympathy. I realize that I am very lucky to get a spring break.

Greg was off work on Friday as well, so we decided to take advantage and head down to one of our absolute favorite places to hike: the Billygoat Trail! We like to hike this trail on holidays or weekdays more than anything else because it gets super crowded on regular Saturdays and Sundays. We’ve gone on Easter and other holidays before, and it’s not nearly as packed. And on this particular Friday, there was almost no one there. The last time we hiked at Billygoat, it was definitely a lot more crowded, which makes some parts of the trail much more difficult to get through. Billygoat has A LOT of rocks and scrambling. The trail requires you to use your hands (and butt!) almost as much as your feet. There are a lot of parts that you just really have to be confident andgo for it when getting from rock to rock. I’ll admit it- there are parts that make me a little nervous, but I just buck up and say “I can do it!” and then I feel like a rock star.

The walk to the trail head is 1.5 miles. There was construction along the towpath, and the detour on the way back added another mile (plus) to that! The trail itself is only about 2 miles, but can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete, because it’s SO technical! Luckily today, since there was barely anyone on the trail, we got through it rather quickly. We always start at the “B” end, which has awesome views of the river

Notice that I’m wearing my new UMBC sweatshirt in this photo? Yeah, I pretty much haven’t taken it off since I bought it. In fact, I’m wearing it right now, as I sit and type this post!

We usually see rock climbers across the river. We only saw one today.

Poor Greg wasn’t feeling 100%.

After negotiating a pretty tough rock section, we reached “the big rock.” This one goes straight up about 50 feet or so, and can be much more difficult to climb when there’s a lot of people trying at the same time. Luckily we had it all to ourselves! I scrambled up it like a spider monkey!

It’s always amusing to watch people try to come up or down this rock. You can always tell who is a “first timer.” πŸ™‚ This was definitely my fastest climb UP to date! (Coming down is actually much, much harder!)

Wearing Vibrams for this hike is KEY. They definitely help with the scrambling (although the hubby will inevitably complain about how much they hurt his feet since he barely ever wears them…)!

A little later on the trail is a wide-open area that I call “my beach.” I set my camera on a rock to take a self-timer pic.

Though much of the trail is wide-open and rocky, there are also a few wooded areas. And the scenery is so pretty! Beautiful colors all around!

When we reached the end of the trail, we had to walk a ways to get back to the detour. We didn’t mind though- the view of the Potomac is always so pretty.

We usually see a ton of turtles, but only spotted this lonely guy today!

We got back to our car and headed up north towards home, with a quick stop for lunch on the way. I had promised Greg that we could go to Dogfish, since we pretty much always hit the Whole Foods salad bar for lunch when we’re anywhere near Gaithersburg. We both got the seasonal beer- Aprihop- which is one of my favorites! I opted for a 4 oz. sample instead of a regular 12 oz glass, because I still had to teach Spinning and Bodypump just a few hours later!

We ordered the hummus. Duh.

Guess whose lunch is who’s….

Bacon cheeseburger….

Wood-grilled chicken and shrimp salad….

Sorry it's so blurry...

Did you guess that the salad was mind? Did Greg’s hand give it away? πŸ™‚ My salad was okay. Greg’s burger was bland, but his fries were pretty damn good! And the hummus is always the best thing we eat there.

Dogfish definitely isn’t known for their food… it’s mediocre at best. But really, you for the beer. And just because, ya know, it’s Dogfish.

I taught my classes in the evening, which ended up being awesome! I thought that no one would show up since a lot of people had off work or got off early, but I had a nice little crowd! Can I say again (and you’re probably sick of hearing it…) how much I LOVE being an exercise instructor?!

We capped off the night with homemade pizza and rented “Young Adult” from Redbox. I thought it was really good- I definitely recommend watching it!


On Saturday, I woke up and was SORE. All of that hiking/rock scrambling really worked every muscle in my body… not to mention teaching Spinning and Bodypump on top of that! I opted for a simple workout and headed to the gym. I vowed to do exactly 45 minutes on elliptical at moderate intensity (and not a minute more!) while listening to the latest Bodypump release (and practicing the choreography in my head!), which made time fly by! The launch is at the end of next week, so I need to make sure that I am ready!

After a shower and breakfast, Greg and I headed out so that he could test-drive a few different cars. Greg’s been talking about getting a new car for about two years now, but has really been itching to do lately. He’s been driving a big giant Ford Expedition for about 8 years and wanted something smaller. We went the Ford/Subaru dealership first where I bought my Outback. I really liked the sales guy I worked with there, so we met up with him. Greg and I are both “black car” people, and he was thinking about either black or dark red. But then we saw this beautiful white 2013 Explorer with two-tone brown interior that just looked really sleek. We took it for a test drive and loved it! But we tried not to fall too much in love before driving the other car that he had in mind. We left that dealership and went to another to test-drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition. It was really nice, but just could not compare to the Explorer. And the sales manager was sleazy and rubbed us both the wrong way.

After leaving the second dealership, we headed down to Rockville to hit up REI and burn through our dividends! But first, we stopped at the massive Rockville Whole Foods for lunch. πŸ™‚

I had only been to the new Rockville Whole Foods once- it’s SO massive that it’s almost overwhelming! Plus, to get down to that part of 355 is a huge pain. But the salad bar had about 10x more to offer than any other WF I’ve been to… it was totally worth the trip. I think I got one of everything. πŸ™‚

We left and went to REI and used our dividends to get some awesome stuff. Greg bought a bike jersey that he’s had his eye on for a while, along with a new bike pump. I was really torn between a PrAna sundress and a new pair of trail-running shoes. In the end, the shoes won out. πŸ™‚

I have a pair of Brooks trail running shoes that I love, but have definitely gotten a lot of use. These ones are lighter and SO comfortable, and I’m kind of in love with them. With my dividend and 20% off coupon, there were about $40! Amazing!

Greg and I talked about the cars, and both agreed that the Explorer was the better option. He dropped me off at the house and went back to the dealership to talk to the sales guy and see what kind of deal he could get. An hour and half later, this was parked in our driveway:

This thing is SWEET! It has every bell and whistle you can think of and is just way too high-tech for me. It doesn’t even have a key, just a sensor and a button that you push to start the engine (or you can do it from outside). It also has Microsoft Sync and voice commands for everything, which is really cool. I won’t go into every other detail, but I’ll just say that I’m jealous! On the contrary, I’m in love with my Outback and am happy to have heated seats and power windows. πŸ™‚


The gym canceled classes on Sunday because of Easter, so I didn’t have to teach my usual spin class. Our plan was to ride our bikes on the C&O canal to Harper’s Ferry, hike there, and bike back (we call his “bike ‘n hike.” Greg still wasn’t feeling 100%, so we decided to just go hike at the Appalachian Trail instead. We took the dogs out in the new car and hit the trail. One of the things that I love about hiking on Easter is that it’s SO QUIET! We had the view from Annapolis Rocks all to ourselves!

We walked down to the natural springs so that the boys could play in the creek and get a drink of water

And took more pictures…

I am really excited for the Mountain Laurel to bloom. They typically peak in early June, but I’m thinking that they’ll be around in May this year. Mountain Laurel are these beautiful little trees that produce gorgeous white flowers and they are all over the place around here. It’s really cool to hike through them. I’m sure you’ll see lots of photos of them on my blog later this spring. We did notice a ton of these little umbrella looking plants everywhere.

We had a great hike! And Greg even let me drive his new car home. πŸ™‚

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and watching baseball, with some cleaning and cooking and eating thrown in there. I have to say, my Red Sox are NOT off to the best start… but there’s a looooong way to go in the season. They have a lot of issues that need to be figured out QUICKLY. I won’t elaborate more than that right now, because this post is long enough!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend… back to reality for me tomorrow!


24 Comments on “Long Weekend, Long Post”

  1. Kostandinos says:

    Loved reading about your weekend! I was originally going to comment not to buy a Jeep, so I was relieved to see Greg got the Explorer! πŸ™‚ Jeeps are notoriously poorly made. I’ll send you a PM to explain. πŸ˜›

  2. What a fun and exciting weekend! Can’t wait to see you this week!!

  3. Kostandinos says:

    Also, sorry my Tigers pounded your Sox! πŸ˜€

  4. Corrie Anne says:

    whew! I know it’s hard getting back into it after sb!! but it looks like it was a wonderful one. and crazy active!! way to go. what a STEAL on those shoes. and they are super cute too!!!!!

  5. Those look like some awesome outdoor activities! I’ve never heard of Aprihop before… I’ll be searching that one out.

    Congrats on the new ride! It looks awesome!!!

  6. What a fun weekend!! That car looks/sounds awesome, for sure!! Wahoo πŸ™‚

  7. I had an explorer as a rental car in January and both the BF and I thought it was awesome. Enjoy!

  8. Michelle says:

    You guys remind me so much of my husband and I–going hiking, him a burger/me a salad, a Subaru Outback in the family, eating at Whole Foods, and spending time outdoors. I love it! We just need a dog, which my husband has been begging for, but we can’t have them in our apartment. I told him we could get a dog when we move out of state. πŸ˜‰

    • Lauren says:

      You guys can move to Maryland and borrow one of our dogs anytime! I hope you get out of there one day!
      And yes- you and I have WAY too much in common!

  9. Lee says:

    Is the new Rockville Whole Foods across the street from White Flint? I grew up like a mile form there, but my mom has since moved to downtown Bethesda.

    Also, we used to skip school in high school and go to Great Falls.

  10. Mike says:

    That Billygoat trail looks amazing. I really wish there were more interesting hikes to do closer to NYC…bummer…

  11. Katy says:

    Love the Billy Goat Trail……my first real hike!! Now I love going to SNP!! Have you two tried Old Rag yet?! It’s BRUTAL, but the views/rock scrambles/challenges…..are SO worth it!! The summit is amazzzzzing, love sitting and just looking at the views. Not dog friendly though, too difficult for them. 😦 I’m in Frederick often, need to try Annapolis Rocks for sure!!!! Love the new car!

    • Lauren says:

      I have NOT tried Old Rag! I was supposed to go two summers ago, and it ended up thunderstorming that day of the trip, so we had to cancel. I’m DYING to go. I need to do that this summer!!
      Annapolis Rock is awesome. It’s right off Route 40. If you need details, let me know!

  12. Jesus, you guys are so damn active! You belong in Colorado! From the dogs to hike to REI to the car! Beautiful! BTW I probably won’t go to blend retreat since it’s our anniversary. When are you coming back with Greg?

    • Lauren says:

      Tell me about it. We’d be out there in a HEARTBEAT if it wasn’t for the horrible housing market here and that stupid townhouse that we own being so under water. It WILL happen one day though- and I’m hoping it’s SOON. If and when we have a kid, I want to raise it in Colorado.

      I’m sad that you can’t go to Blend, but I get it. We get in that Wednesday, so we have two days to do whateva. We’re coming back in July for a week. I think around the 17th or so (that’s our anniversary and it would be cool to spend it there).

  13. […] bike back in 2007. The towpath itself is 184.5 miles long and begins in Washington, DC (the Billygoat trail is at Great Falls near the start of the canal- around mile 14) and ends in Cumberland, MD. I know a […]

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