Hawk Mountain | Memorial Day Staycation

I’m sure of only two things in this life:

1. If there is a mosquito within a 30 mile radius, it will find me. And bring his friends. And relatives. And long lost cousins twice removed. To feast on my delectable blood.

2. When you have three kids, invariably one of them will be having a bad day at any given time. This means that any time you plan a fun family outing, one of them will be doing his or her best to make it miserable.

Nevertheless, we set out on Saturday with a) one ornery child and b) no bug spray.

We are gluttons for punishment, yes.

As I explained in a previous post, I desperately wanted to spend this Memorial Day Weekend at the beach, but my husband’s work commitments prevented us from that luxury so in an effort to stay close to home in case work should beckon, we opted instead to take a couple of day trips. On Saturday, which turned out to be a glorious day weather-wise — sunny and high of 82 degrees, we took a drive out to Reading and visited Hawk Mountain, a bird sanctuary for hawks and eagles in particular.

Located in east-central Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey. Open year-round, visitors enjoy scenic vistas, 8-miles of ridge and valley trails, a Visitor Center, Bookstore, and native plant garden, and each autumn, the chance to observe large numbers of hawks, eagles and falcons as they migrate past our lookouts.

Despite the vengeful mosquitos and the cantankerous child (and the fact that there was no beach), it was actually quite fascinating. We made it there in time to enjoy the Raptors Up Close! event in the outdoor amphitheater, where we got to see a live hawk and owl up close and personal.

The kids got to hold a real talon.

And we managed to obtain our obligatory family photo. You will likely see this again on our Christmas card, so don’t say you weren’t forewarned. Can you guess from those smiling faces which one of our children was less than enthusiastic about this outing? Let’s just say that I’m not above using bribery to get my shot, and that is all I have to say about that.

After the demonstration, we took a short hike to an overlook where we could see raptors flying around. This location is right on their migratory path in the fall so there is a lot more to see at that time of year, but we still enjoyed the view.

The rest of the weekend, we spent lazing around the house, reading and enjoying the weather. Saturday night we enjoyed mojitos on the neighbor’s patio, and after church on Sunday we had asparagus frittata with salad fresh from our garden.

This morning the kids and the huz went fishing bright and early while I enjoyed my coffee on the front porch before the heat gets too oppressive. We have plans for a cookout later today, and if I get lucky, I might manage to sneak in a nap.

Granted, it’s not the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, but I can’t complain.

What are you up to, this official kick-off to summer weekend??