The best place in the U.S. to raise kids: Blacksburg, Va.

Last weekend we drove down to Southwest Virginia for the weekend. When you have a baby, you have to select your road trips carefully. Tom and I have already cancelled our summer vacation plans to avoid a long road trip. 

This weekend involved a total of 9 hours in the car. David no longer sleeps for hours in the car, BUT he can eat snacks. No one told me about the snack milestone. Suddenly I can wield power over my son with tiny, puffed carbs.

In the car we ration snacks to keep him occupied for as long as possible. We’ve discovered that if we break teething crackers into pieces, it takes him a little longer to eat them. Each cracker can be broken into about three pieces, and takes him about a minute to eat the piece and then get upset again.

So when Tom says, “Hey, wanna take a road trip?” I hear, “Are you interested in the possibility of twisting around in your seat 540 times to placate the baby?”


This was David’s first trip to Blacksburg. It was also my first time on campus when I really felt like I didn’t quite fit in. I’ve been out of school for years, but I’ve always felt like I could pull off the swag of a college student. This time was different. This time I found myself fighting the desire to tie the students’ shoes and offer them a jacket. Their mother would appreciate it.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe we still fit in. Here is a photo of random Virginia Tech students on campus. Can you pick Tom out of the group?

Since graduation, going back to Blacksburg has felt like going to your house after your family moved. The house is the same, but there are strangers eating in my dining room. But now the house has been renovated, too. They’ve opened up the kitchen and added on a study in the back. And your bedroom? They painted it ecru. And locked it.

The plan was to meet some friends for the spring game. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. The spring game is a team scrimmage. It’s short and it’s free, which makes it perfect for kids.

This is me waving to my friends. See the joy on my face? HELLO FRIENDS! IT’S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU IN THIS LAND OF STRANGERS!

Moments later I realized I was waving to a group of strangers.

The game didn’t go as planned. When it was time to walk to the stadium a thunder storm rolled through. Since the place has been renovated and there are lots of new security measures since I was a student, we had NO IDEA WHERE TO GO. With two babies in tow, we started running and shouting suggestions at each other. Eventually we found a lounge, one that wasn’t there a few years ago. We waited the storm out for an hour, using most of the time trying to figure out what the lounge was when we were students. Was it an arcade? A laundromat? Maybe an abandoned room where teachers and students went to share ideas and Invent the Future?

After an hour the storm passed and Twitter informed us that the game was back on.

We packed up, started walking to the stadium, and it started storming again. 

Wet and tired and holding VERY PATIENT babies, we headed downtown to Rivermill.

Rivermill is the bar in every college town that’s great for darts and pool and 90s grunge bands on the speakers. It is not a place I ever expected to ask for a high chair. 

Guess what. Rivermill has high chairs. But they only have two, so be sure to get there early.

We left Blacksburg without seeing even one football. David slept the whole way down 81.  

He needed the rest because this weekend? Well, this weekend had barely even started.


  1. Rachel April 26, 2012

    I hear, "Are you interested in the possibility of twisting around in your seat 540 times to placate the baby?"<br>HA! Yes, that is EXACTLY what I hear as well. Glad you made it there and back without a neck cramp. It’s a real danger of traveling with children. 🙂

  2. Tom April 26, 2012

    great use of the word placate

  3. […] a while I could give David snacks in the car, it’s how we survived our trip to Blacksburg last month. He didn’t care what kind of snack and didn’t even ask to check the label and find […]

  4. […] ← The best place in the U.S. to raise kids: Blacksburg, Va. Birdies for my baby → […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *