Back in late-March, when I reported on Gaige and Joey’s visit with us, I mentioned that I had a cool girls’ weekend planned for when Brianna was able to visit.
Well, that weekend FINALLY arrived.
It was actually a busy weekend that started with dinner on Friday night at Allison’s Restaurant in Crofton, Maryland. That’s where Eric, our youngest, is currently working. Within the past year, he started attending Anne Arundel Community College’s culinary arts program. And he LOVES it. All those years of letting him help in the kitchen paid off. He finally found his niche. Which is awesome considering all the difficulties we had getting that boy through school. But that’s a whole ‘nother story…
After a lovely dinner with Eric’s fiancee, Kelsey, and her parents, Jane and Greg, I went to their house, which is where I spent the night. (If you’re wondering about Hubby, I left him at home in Virginia with the dogs.)
Saturday morning, I continued north to Edgewood to get Brianna. Then it was back to Virginia.
We had to hustle as we had a 2:00 PM appointment. I didn’t let her in on the plan for the afternoon as it was supposed to start storming at some point, which meant our plans would have been canceled. She would have been so disappointed and we never would have heard the end of it.
All I told her was that we were going on a ride through the countryside and that I had a 2:00 appointment. She had to be wondering where the heck we were going as the place was pretty darn remote.
I have to give her credit, though her curiosity was probably killing her, she didn’t ask too many questions. As we neared our destination, the roads got steadily narrower, hillier, and windier. We were definitely in what felt like the middle of nowhere, riding through wide-open farmland and through cow pastures. I kept yakking away about how much I like the country, how pretty I thought it was, how much I like critters, etc.
At one point she said, “Do you still have an appointment?” I told her yes. Then she said, “Is it just for you?” After I told her, it was for her, too, she was quiet. She was probably wondering what the heck this appointment could entail in such a remote area.
When we turned in at the entrance to our destination, she read the “trail ride” part of the sign aloud. She probably would have questioned that, but that’s when she spotted the pasture full of horses.
“Horses!” she exclaimed. “G, I want to pet some horses.”
I laughed and told her I thought she would definitely be able to pet a horse.
She was so busy thinking about getting to pet a horse that she didn’t ask any more questions as we parked, got the stuff we needed out of the truck, then headed to the barn to sign in for our trail ride. As I handed the guy the release forms we’d had to fill out in advance and my credit card, she said, “I want to ride a horse.”
When the guy said, “Well good, that’s exactly what you are going to do,” I think she actually squealed.
That’s when the chatter started.
G, I’ve never ridden a horse before. This will be my first time. Where are the horses. Will I get to ride by myself? Which horse will I ride. Have you ever ridden? This will be our first time together. Etc., etc.
We waited on the back porch of the barn as the last few folks arrived. The horses were all saddled up and ready to roll.
She was super-excited and declared that she wanted a white one.
So she was really tickled to learn that she would indeed be riding a white horse. He had brown spots, but was apparently the horse she’d been hoping for. His name was Applejack.
And she got to ride him all by herself!
Getting to do grown-up seeming stuff, like controlling a horse, is HUGE when you are a kid. Especially when you are only 11 and the stuff you get to do is usually limited by the age and/or abilities of your younger siblings.
We had to ride single file. I told the ranch folks just to make sure I rode behind her. I wanted to be able to see if anything went wrong. It was also handy for taking pictures.
The one time I’d ridden previously was when Hubby and I were dating. We were at some little stable in Howard County Maryland on old, tired horses with one thing on their mind. Returning to the barn. It sucked.
This ride experience was MUCH different. It was ten times better. We rode for about ninety minutes, doing a big loop through pastures and woodlands. Over hills. Through dells. Across streams.
It was awesome. Really.
Brianna did a fantastic job guiding her horse. Yes, they were docile trail animals, but they did require guidance. Applejack kept wanting to pass the lead horse. Since we were instructed to keep the horses single-file at all times, she had to rein Applejack in frequently.
I was quite proud of the way Brianna handled herself on Applejack.
I could not have picked a better place for our ride. Having read all about the ranch beforehand, I was really looking forward to our trip. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
The Marriott Ranch, which is where we went riding, is a 4,200-acre ranch owned by the Marriott Corporation.
Bucolic may seem cliched, but it is the best way to describe the place. Hubby and I had happened through the area by chance a couple of weeks earlier while out riding our bikes. When I told him about the place a few days before our trail ride, he remarked that he’d seen a Marriott sign and wondered what that was all about. I mean, the place really is remote. The Appalachian Trail even runs nearby.
In reading about the facility, I was quite intrigued to learn of its history. There’s a manor house located on the original property purchased by Marriott that had always been referred to as Fairfield Farm. The house is now a working bed-and-breakfast inn. In fact, it is the only B&B in the Marriott portfolio of properties.If you follow the Marriott Ranch link I provided earlier, you can read a bit of the history.
Does “Fairfield” ring a bell? Fairfield Inn by Marriott is a lower-cost brand of hotels owned by the Marriott Corporation. Now you know where the name came from.
It really was a fabulous day. We are both ready to go back.
I told Brianna her Mom would probably enjoy it, too. She wasn’t so sure. When I asked her why she didn’t agree, she said her Mom scares easily and doesn’t like to mess up her clothes. That comment made me laugh.
I wonder what Amy would have to say about that?
I also had to laugh later when we stopped at a country market for drinks. We each bought Sponge Bob ice cream bars. As the guy rang us up, Brianna said, very seriously, “G, I have an important tip for you. Eat the eyeballs last.” After the cashier and I both giggled, she said, “Really. The eyeballs are bubble gum, so you have to eat them last!”
The rest of the weekend was fun, too. After dinner, we watched some movies. And ate some ice cream. Then on Sunday, Brianna and I painted sun-catchers together and baked some blondies.
As usual, the time went by way too fast. But at least we got to make some fun memories together that will hopefully last a lifetime.
I really got a chuckle when, after our ride, I told Brianna you have to be at least ten to ride there.
“That means your brothers can’t do this. Too bad for them, eh?”
“Yeah!” she said, with a conspiratorial giggle. I’m sure she loves knowing it is something she’ll be able to savor all for herself.
We just might have to make this girls’ weekend an annual thing. At least for the next couple of years.