Hello! How are you on this lovely Thursday? Did you have a good holiday? Mine was great- but I didn’t actually celebrate. I taught spin class at 8:00 am and then came back home and spent the rest of the day cleaning and organizing the house with Greg. I know that may not sound like the best way to celebrate the fourth- but both of us were perfectly content spending the day indoors in the air conditioning (especially since ours broke last week and we spent 4 days without it- and it was near 100˚ each day!) I ate a few red, white and blueberry protein muffins and we saw some fireworks that our neighbor set off… but other than that, not much celebrating happened. And to those of you that had to go back to work today… I’m sorry. Having a holiday smack in the middle of the week is tough!
In case you were out and about yesterday (and not home reading blogs!) make sure you check out the NuNaturals giveaway and enter to win! I love their stevia, and want you to love it too!
Anyway. I promised a re-cap of my short trip to Charlottesville, so here goes! Warning- super long-winded post with lots of photos ahead.
Last month, my mom and I decided to take a road trip that would happen the weekend before July fourth. We wanted a few days to hang out, away from the husbands, and just have some quality girl time. We would usually head to the Delaware beaches, but thought they would probably be too crowded during that particular weekend. I suggested Charlottesville, VA, since it’s only about two and a half hours away and because Greg and I enjoyed it so much when we went last fall. We booked a room at a hotel and left Sunday morning after I was done teaching Spinning class. We had nothing planned, other than a pedicure scheduled for Monday morning. The “plan” was just wing it, walk around town, maybe go to some wineries or other tourist destinations, and just relax and enjoy each others’ company.
When we arrived in C’ville early Sunday afternoon it was hot. There was also a lot of damage due to some crazy storms that had come through the area two nights before- and a ton of power outages. Half of the people staying at our hotel were actually local residents who didn’t have electricity at home!
We grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the pedestrian mall to do a little shopping and walk around. Sarah met us at a local coffee shop, and I was so happy to see her! Poor Sarah was without power and getting ready to head up to Philly to leave for a vacation, but managed to squeeze in a little time to say hello.
I adore this girl! We met at Blend, and I fell in love with her spunky personality immediately. We were able to catch up for a bit (talking a mile a minute!) and she gave us a few suggestions on where to get dinner later. Then it came time for us to part ways, and Sarah headed out to make the drive up north. Mom and I shopped around a little bit more and scoped out a few menus at possible dinner locations. Since we were both a sweaty mess, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and change before coming back our for dinner.
We came back to the Pedestrian Mall and ended up at a new restaurant, Citizen Burger Bar.
Apparently this place just opened, and was rumored to have really good food. It wasn’t too busy, but all of the booths were full. We grabbed a seat at the bar, which was just fine with me!
I was so impressed with the beer list! I know it’s tough to read exactly what’s on there, but check out how long it is!
Lots of craft beers- many from Colorado! Greg would have loved it! Even though there were about 20 different beers that I wanted, I ended up just sticking with water. When we browsed the menu, we saw that there were a ton of different burger selections. You could order one from the menu or build your own. I ended up going with the “Kinda Vegan” burger, which was made of beets, quinoa and millet and came with fries (which I subbed for sweet potato fries). Unfortunately, lighting was not on my side, and my photos do absolutely no justice.
I must learn to re-create this burger immediately! The fries were really good, but I didn’t eat too many of them because I ordered a side salad. My mom got a grass-fed beef burger with bacon:
Again… no justice. But man, it was good too. The burgers were also the perfect size- big enough but not enormous. You might think that $13 is too much for a burger, but I’m happy to pay $33.25 for a good dinner!
After dinner, we walked over to Splendora’s to meet up with Kath and her husband Matt for gelato. I had met Kath last fall when Greg and I visited C’ville and let her know that I would be in town again. She suggested meeting up at Splendora’s for dessert, because they apparently had the best vanilla gelato she had ever tasted. After tasting a few different flavors, I settled on a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of salted caramel. Honestly, vanilla is my favorite flavor of ice cream, yogurt, gelato… you name it. And salted caramel? Who could turn that down!?
Yeah… this was really good. Perfect size too!
The four of us had a good time chatting, and it was fun to hear about the preparations for the baby, since they are about to be new parents very soon! Kath certainly looked just a little different than when I saw her back in October. And she definitely has the pregnant glow!
I was also very interested to hear about her experiences with Bodypump, since she still takes the class regularly. As an instructor, I definitely am curious to hear about how she’s needed to modify different exercises during pregnancy.
After our yummy dessert, mom and I headed back to our hotel. We were exhausted! We ended the night watching Extreme Makeover Weightloss Edition (we’re both obsessed) and promptly passed out.
I was up bright and early the next morning to hit the hotel gym. I was happy to see that it was pretty decent, and had enough room for me to do the Tabata workout I had put together (which included about a million burpees!)
There were actually some pretty nice cardio machines there, but I didn’t need them! I definitely got my sweat on and busted out a pretty hardcore workout in 30 minutes. After showering and getting something quick to eat (which ended up being a Siggi’s yogurt, and banana, and some Justin’s almond butter!), we went over to Cityspa to make our 10am pedicure appointments. I didn’t really know what to expect, because I usually just go to a “cheapie” nail salon by my house, but this was very different!
Mom and I sat side-by-side while the two nail techs worked on our feet. Mine was a woman named Karah (who is also a massage therapist) and she was great!
The foot and leg massage felt sooooo good. And my toenails look a lot better now!
By the time we left the spa, it was almost noon! We decided to head over to Great Harvest so that my mom could try (and buy) some bread- she had never been to a GH before and I knew she would love it. My mom asked Matt about a million questions about every single product… but he was super nice and answered everything with a smile.
She bought some bread, scuffins, granola and sunflower butter and we each ordered a sandwich to take along for lunch later on.
We went back to the hotel to change and grab a cooler to pack up for lunch (I had brought some veggies and apples from home) and set out to explore the countryside. We planned on visiting a few vineyards and possibly Monticello if time allowed. Our first stop was Jefferson Vineyards. Greg and I had been there in the fall, but I couldn’t remember if we liked them or not. We went in and stood there for 10 minutes, and weren’t greeted by a single person- so we decided to leave. They weren’t busy- just not friendly! That didn’t make me want to give them my business. Luckily, I remembered that I did really like Blenheim Vineyards (Dave Matthews’ winery!), which was just a short trip down the road.
I was immediately greeted by their staff, and set up to do a tasting at the bar.
I had such a great conversation with the people there- which is one of my favorite things about wine tastings! They even told me that Dave Matthews had just been there a few days before- he had stopped by just to wash his hands, because he accidentally smashed a stinkbug in his car!!
All of their wines are really good- and I walked away with three bottles.
We decided to eat our lunch there, since there was a nice shaded spot in front of the winery. I would have liked to eat in the back, since the view is so pretty- but it was just too darn hot.
(I think I took this exact same picture when I was there last fall!)
I was so excited for my sandwich- Twin Oaks tofu on Dakota bread.
It was SO delicious- and reminded me to put Twin Oaks tofu on my shopping list! And the bread- also really good. Super dense, nutty, flavorful… and just unique!
We took our time eating lunch and chatting and eventually headed over towards Monticello. Mom had read that you had to buy tickets in order to take a tour of the area, but we thought that maybe we could just walk around without actually doing a tour. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Tickets were $24 and the tour was 2-3 hours long. It was already closing in on 4:00 by this point, so we decided against it. I was definitely bummed that we weren’t at least allowed to just walk around and see the grounds! We browsed in the gift shop and headed back to the hotel.
One more quick trip to the hotel to freshen up, and we headed back to the pedestrian mall to walk around and eventually get dinner. I blew out my mom’s hair (which is very wavy) and took a self portrait (to which she said “Are you going to put this on the internet?!”
Many of the shoppes were closed the day before, but were open Monday. We went in a few stores and saw some crazy things. I loved this poster from Rock, Paper, Scissors and would have bought a miniature version if they had one!
Each “mustache” was a bracket in a different font. I’m a big nerd for graphic design humor.
Another store we went in had far too many entertaining junky items, like these:
And another had some awesome clocks, made by a local artist!
I was very tempted to buy the bike wheel!
I also saw some cute dogs. They looked thirsty.
We got dinner at Mono Loco, which was recommended by just about everybody! My cousin’s cousin also happens to be a waitress there, but wasn’t working Monday night (we stopped by and said hello to her the night before though!). It was really cute- and had fun, festive decor.
There were too many good choices on the menu! I knew that we at least had to order chips and salsa.
Honestly, I was a little turned off that they didn’t offer them for free, but what can you do. They were totally worth the $5 though!
The chips were a combination of flour and corn tortillas. I’m a corn tortilla girl all the way- but both types were great! I ended up getting a salad with braised chicken and avocado
along with a side of plantains that came with some kind of crema… which was unreal!
Mom got two pork tacos
Everyone was right- the food was awesome! Neither of us managed to even finish half of our meal, but that’s also because we intentionally saved room for dessert! After leaving Mono Loco, we headed over to get ice cream at Chaps. There were a ton of flavors, but I settled on a “single” scoop of cherry vanilla in a cake cone.
It was good- but not as good as the gelato at Splendora’s.
That pretty much rounded out the night, and we made it back to the hotel in time to catch most of The Bachelorette. I was exhausted and fell asleep immediately afterwards!
We headed back to Maryland the next morning, and it was so nice to come home to working air-conditioning! The AC repair guy had been out to replace the entire unit the day before, thank goodness! It was a really great little road trip and was also great to catch up with my C’ville friends. And of course, the quality time spent with my mom is priceless!
Do you ever vacation with your mom (or other family members)? Where do you go?