We Give Thanksgiving

We return to the Manassas, Virginia area, for five weeks surrounding Barb’s birthday and thru Thanksgiving to spend that time with friends and our new church family.  The beginning of this post overlaps a bit with our previous post that ended at Lake Fairfax County which is about 45 minutes to the Northeast of Manassas, Virginia.

We had planned to spend four weeks in the area but with our new church hosting a Trunk or Treat we moved up our arrival by a week to spread out our stay to five weeks in total. Unfortunately, there are no long-term stay campgrounds to be found in the Manassas area. One campground that caters to this clientele was only offering monthly stays to “front-line responders in the medical field” at the time.  The two campgrounds that are local to the area have 2-week limits on the stays and the county park has a 2-week limit within a month total. So that meant we had to bounce around a little bit.

Jason (L) and Matthew (R) conducted “quality checks” of the birthday cake frosting to ensure everyone would be safe to eat it.

This was all worth it so that we could spend time in the area with friends. We got to experience fellowship with friends, with our new church family, and experience new experiences no one in 100-years has ever experienced.

Dates in the area: 10/31/2021 – 11/28/2021

Lesson learned! Do NOT try to go south out of DC the Sunday afternoon post-Thanksgiving!  It took about 4-hours to go 90 miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic which was grid-locked in both directions.

Area Activities

100-Year Flower Laying Ceremony

For the first time in 100 years, the public could participate in this commemoration of the tombs by laying a flower. More than 13,000 people registered for this event. After we laid our flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we paused on the steps overlooking the plaza to appreciate the moment. The guard continued to walk their post but in a modified way alongside and behind the tombs while the public was permitted to walk across the plaza.

November 9, 2022, was a beautiful day on the Arlington Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater which is adjacent to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

Shenandoah National Park

While the “mountains” here may not be as high as the Western US they are just as pretty for other reasons, especially when you visit here in the fall during prime leaf color season.  You can access the park primarily from three different gates on the DC side of the park. There are numerous pull-outs alongside the road that runs the length of the ridge of the mountain range and the park primarily hugs the narrow foothills of this range so this is the only road.  There are a couple of campgrounds inside the park but most sites are geared for smaller RVs and tenting.

Overlooking the Shenandoah valley from the National Park southern ridge drive. Photos do not ever seem to do the fall colors justice, but it was an absolutely amazing view. (November 4, 2021)


Spy Museum

The new Spy Museum is located just a couple of blocks off the National Mall. Parking is available below ground in the vast complex of parking and shopping sub-terrain in the plaza. We visited their original site about 15 years ago and this is even more fun and cool to check out. River Falls, Wisconsin, born mega spy Aldrich Ames is now included in a key exhibit with newly declassified details of his escapades with the Soviets.

National Zoo

Jason and the Giant Panda at the National Zoo


The “cub” (R) doesn’t seem so much like a baby anymore, but we did enjoy watching him practice (and fail at) climbing trees and tumbling around outside for the zoo visitors.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

A 184-mile narrow boat canal system operated for more than 100 years in the state of Maryland alongside the Potomac River. Now the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a quiet place to stop and enjoy the natural setting. Due to CoVID the attached museum and other buildings were closed, but you could still walk around the grounds. It is a good spot to check out to get out of the bustle of the DC area for a while.

Dizzy Pig

The “world headquarters” for Dizzy Pig spices is located in an industrial park of Manassas, Virginia. Jason has mail-ordered and used their spices for years. It was only by complete accident we were driving by and saw their sign! Of course, we had to stop in and re-stock the spice rack.


Most of the campgrounds in the DC area are very focused on short-term tourists and it is hard to find long-term stays in the area at an affordable cost. Most campgrounds will be more than $50/night and some will even be more than $100/night in the area.

Greenville Farm Family Campground

Greenville Farm Family Campground is a Good Sam campground with discounts for members. We were able to reserve a site with no money down. At over $50 / night, it is one of the more pricey campgrounds we have stayed at, but proximity and availability are key to the pricing.

This campground is very difficult to get to from the East (Manassas) and you should review the route before you begin. From the East Google Maps will take you through residential areas and some are fine to that and others are not.  Instead take the route from the 7-Eleven on Sudley Road SW of the campground staying on Shelter Lane. Note just East of the 7-Eleven that there is a quick turn you will make.

The campground is indeed a farm, you will see and sometimes smell cattle there. Brought back memories of growing up in Wisconsin!  The sites are mostly level and have inclines up onto a terrace and up off the terrace but they are all pull-thru in a field for the big rigs.


When you arrive for check-in you will have to go right at the farmhouse and go around their shed in a counter-clockwise manner stopping at the house to check-in. From there you will then go back out and clockwise around the house, through the beef-cattle feedlot, and out to the campground which is “on the back forty” behind the farmstead.


The Greenville Farm Family Campground is located west of Manassas, Virginia, about 10 miles. It is able to accommodate big rigs very easily but you will be in a field and not in the woods.


Bull Run Regional Park

We stayed at Bull Run Regional Park in two separate segments, first for a week at the end of October and another two weeks at the end of November 2021. Even though the campground is a meer 1000′ feet at most from our church getting to the campground is just difficult due to its location. The campground is located at the back end of the regional park and it is about a 10-minute drive from the highway to the campground through residential areas and the park itself. So everything is at least 10-minutes away and those 10-minutes are not in a useful direction. There are limitations on the number of nights in a 30-day period in which you can reserve a spot.


Site #121 at the Bull Run Regional Park. Most of the sites are half-moon sites that you can pull in and out of them. Some sites have the utilities alongside the road, but as you can see on the left here this site has them set back away from the road. We had to position with our “living” side of the motorhome away from our site and toward the road. This site also required substantial front-to-back leveling and that put the bottom step of the stair a good distance from the ground even with our portable step to assist.


One of the downfalls of Bull Run Regional Park campground is you are in the middle of their holiday light show from mid-November to mid-January each year. The campground does have an alternate route to get from the main entrance to it, but sometimes the traffic to get there is just insane. It was pretty cool though watching the “snow falling lights” from our motorhome every night.



The area is rich with a selection of restaurants that represent many cuisine and cultures. It may seem like we were eating out a lot, due keep in mind we were in this area for five weeks!

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

Not only was the food excellent, but they were also very accomodating with our friend’s allergy requests. We enjoyed burgers and flatbreads on a “date night” with friends at the Gainesville location.

Ashton Family Restaurant

This little restaurant makes it to our list after we had both breakfast and lunch here. What makes this restaurant distinct are the unique flavors with a wide range of ethnicities on the menu.

The Ashton Family Restaurant in Manassas is an excellent place for both breakfast and lunch. Their website explains it well, “Greek, Italian, American and Tex-Mex. Everyone can find something that will please their palate.”

Foster’s Grille

Numerous locations around the area including our favorite in Haymarket.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

If Chipotle and Quoba had a baby its name would be Moe! He would grow up and have hundreds of restaurants across the East and Southeast US called “Moe’s Southwest Grill.” They have a party box that is excellent for full-time RVers to bring to a party, they provide everything in one box.

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill

Mostly a “west” thing there are 11 locations in the East including in Manassas. Why they make it to our list is the fresh tortillas being rolled and cooked in front of you. Not like Chipotle where they are putting pre-made tortillas in a steamer for a few seconds.

Also, this makes our list because of the amazing Mint Limeade and the rice milk horchata.

Blue Ridge Seafood

We returned to Blue Ridge Seafood again because it was so good in 2020 when we tried it for the first time.

The Blue Ridge Seafood restaurant continues to be a local favorite for us. It is sometimes hard to find local seafood that is not covered in heavy breading and deep-fried.