Spring has sprung here in Charlottesville, and if you've been following me on the blog for a while or know me personally at all, you know my sentiments towards winter. (This letter pretty much says it all.) Sans one blowout snowstorm, this past winter was relatively manageable with only a few cheek-pinching, windshield-ice-scraping, wrap-yourself-in-a-blanket-and-hibernate type days.
I've been looking forward to spring more than ever this year because of all the great things I'll get to share with my little lady. Charlottesville comes alive in a new way with the turn of seasons, and Kira is starting to get to the point where she's really alert when we're out and about and just learning so much about her surroundings. She already loves being outside so I can just tell we're in for lots of adventures.
I scoped out a list of fun, baby-friendly activities to do as a family this spring and thought I'd share a few here with you. They are all low cost or free, pack minimal stress, maximum flexibility, and lots of fresh air. Maybe we'll see each other strolling around with our little ones and make new friends :-)
1. City Market
Saturday April 2 -
Everyone in C'Ville is pumped about the reopening of City Market each spring. Located in the Water St. parking lot downtown, over 100 venders offer fresh produce, herbs, plants, grass fed meats, crafts, and baked goods on Saturdays in April - December from 7am-noon. This is a great place to just grab a yummy bite, stock up on some treats for the week, let your little one experience new sights and smells, and just mingle around with the local vibe!
2. COMMUNITY PICNIC
Sunday, April 17
To kick off the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival, there will be a giant potluck along the Downtown Mall! From 1pm – 3pm, tables will be set up on the lawn for groups, organizations, neighbors, and families to settle down with a potluck dish or check out any of the awesome local food trucks that will be set up around the area. Live music and a craft fair offer extra entertainment for the afternoon!
(the deadline has past to register an organization to participate, but individuals are welcome to participate regardless.) For details, click this link.
3. Story Time Fun
Sat. March 19, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
In case of rainy day or the need for a little indoor fun, this event sounds so cute and it's at one of my favorite nooks in C'Ville: C'Ville Coffee. Hosted by the ReadyKids Play Partners Program and C'Ville Coffee, kids can listen and explore the new Eric Carle book, Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? There will also be songs and creative activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
Even though Kira's a little young to really enjoy all that, she'll still benefit from the interaction, story, and stimulation. Plus mommy will benefit from a latte. MMM.
4. National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C.
Charlottesville is only about 2 hours from our nation's capital, so this is the perfect excuse for a nice day trip out of town. Every year when the trees bloom, the city is breathtaking. If you're ambitious and don't mind a little hustle and bustle, check out the parade on April 16! Otherwise, head up to the city to take a tour, stroll around and see the monuments, grab a bite to eat to go and plop that little one a blanket in the middle of the national mall!
5. Chris Greene Lake Park
My husband and I are morning people and we love doing things together on Saturday mornings where we can bring the whole fam, including our pup Bourbon. One of our favorite spring/summer weekend activities is so simple yet so relaxing and fulfilling-- we grab Bodo's bagels and coffee on Rt. 29, drive out to Chris Greene lake park, and trek through the woods to the dog park where Bourbon goes absolutely nutso for swimming while we enjoy our breakfast at a picnic table in the woods.
Bonus: If you get there before 10 am it's not only free, but also less crowded (minimizing risk of panting dogs hovering over our bagels! :-) ). We have yet to try it with baby on board, but are definitely looking forward to including her in our tradition!
Do you know of any fun, family-friendly events happening this spring? What are your favorite little things to do together on warm weekends? I'd love to know and pick up some of your tricks! Share below in the comments!