Beach combing is one of the many fun things you can do on a cool fall day at Westmoreland State Park!
Is it the river or the ocean? White caps on the Potomac River
You know how it is when you meet people for the first time and you just hit it off? That is the way I felt about the Koch, Grant, Zelmer, Allan, Tubbs, Carlin, Robinson, Fitzwilliam, Breeding and the Bareford (yes Bareford, I'll explain later) families.
Some of the crew, what great smiles!
These folks that made up families and friends that come to Westmoreland State Park every year and rent almost all the cabins on the cliffs. They started out small nine years ago and have grown to 25 people this year. They are from Northern Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Alabama and I thought I heard an LA. I met some of them last year as they were packing up and I was taking pictures. I asked if I could come back and do a story on them and I am so glad I did!
Cabin #25 on the cliffs
We laughed and shared stories, I was even treated to a much coveted, special ice cream confection that is made locally my Melody Veip. Scrumptious vanilla ice cream, a healthy serving I might add, wedged between two delectable fresh gingerbread cookies, as I heard someone there in what sounded like pure Alabama say, “it is something you would push your mama down the church stairs over” and goodness was he right! Except my mama would have fought me for it! I ate the entire thing with the true abandonment of a two year old, including part of it dripping down my chin, onto my shirt and even a few drops ended up on my pants. It was heavenly! Thank you so much for sharing! The ice cream sandwiches along with a few other traditions are what make the reunions one of the things they all look forward to each year.
THE, ice cream sandwich! Yum!
In spot on Chesapeake Bay fashion, there were plenty of blue crabs from Faunce Seafood and cold beer of course. They even ridged up a monitor so they could have a college football and professional football game day! I do recall wiping some of the erodent ice cream off my mouth with a Raven’s napkin. However, they made it clear that was the only time they actually watched television. The rest of their time was spent exploring and spending time with each other. they also took turns cooking dinner so the food, I was told, was out of this world. It’s also my understanding that some incredible wines were paired and enjoyed along with the food.
Chef John and his Spam trophy!
They also have a creative Spam cooking contest. This year’s winning recipe was seared encrusted spam over a bed of wilted spinach with wasabi mashed potatoes and a honey & soy sauce reduction glaze. It was created by Spam Chef John, otherwise known as Dr. Grant, he received a unique trophy for his efforts. This did, however, bring back frightening memories for me as a child! My normally healthy cooking mother must have had an off day as she served spam cold chopped up with green peppers, elbow macaroni and mayo! Nothing that even remotely sounded like the good doctor’s sophisticated cuisine!
Dinner on the deck
When I asked the group about what they enjoy the most, without hesitation they all said each other and the natural beauty of the park.
Now if you notice one of the family names above is my last name. As I was writing the last names of each person down, when I got to this gentleman he said let me spell it for you B-A-R-E-F-O-R-D. I thought he was kidding because my last name is not very common except in our area. Come to find out he is a distant relative of my husband, yes, it is indeed a small world!
Mr. and Mrs. Koch to the far right
So how did this all start? The Koch’s came the first time with their 5 year old twin boys who are now 43. They came for several years after that then life happened, the family dynamics changed and they quit coming. Then they ran into some old friends that suggested Westmoreland State Park as a good place to gather. So over the years the numbers have been growing. There are even a couple of friends that fly in from Alabama each year, the Koch’s pick them up in Baltimore, everyone else drives in and the adventure begins!
I just want to thank the entire crew, what a great group of people. Kind, funny, warm and big hearted. I am so glad you chose to spend your days relaxing together and enjoying Westmoreland State Park.I can't wait to see you all next year!
Cabins overlooking the river up on the cliff
If you would like to plan a family/friend gathering check out all the facilities the park has to offer:
The park is located on the shores of the Potomac River about 50 miles southeast of Fredericksburg in here for a Google Map.