All’s Well That Ends Well

I apparently can’t blog and travel at the same time.  That will definitely go on my list of skills to improve upon as part of this blog is supposed to be about investigating the world around us a little more. We took plenty of pictures and made plenty of notes, but some how never got around to putting them in coherent posts on our travel.  So what we’ll do is post on our travel over the next several days in order, as if they were currently happening.  You dig?

Good. Here goes…

So we headed north of Charlotte in search of fall. We went as far as Alexandria, VA today and I can definitively say that fall has NOT made it’s way here. It’s stinking 91 degrees! ARE-YOU-KIDDING-ME? Needless to say, I am not happy about this and here’s the pic to prove it.

Actually, at that point in the afternoon I was not happy about much of anything.  The day started off well.  We left Charlotte on time (which is a rarity in any of our travels), had no significant traffic problems, and got to Alexandria around 2:30p.  Here’s where things start to break down…

I’m trying to be a little more adventurous which meant not planning out every minute detail of the trip and being a little more open to the “go with the flow” and “see where we end up” mentality.  (Have I mentioned that such a mentality is in direct opposition to my OCD/Type A sensibilities?) As such, I didn’t make hotel reservations or even decide that we would stop over in Alexandria en route to Connecticut until two days before we were scheduled to leave.  I did a little (emphasis on the word LITTLE) research and found out that Old Town Alexandria was supposed to be pretty cool and a haven for foodies. Since I was basically making last minute reservations, all the hotels in the Old Town part of Alexandria were charging about $100-$150 more per night than we had budgeted to pay. So we made the decision to stay a little outside the Old Town area and save some money.  I have since come to regret that decision.

Wine Girl’s Travel Tip #1 – Always pay the extra cash to stay in the “cool” area of your destination city.  The ease and convenience of having attractions in walking distance are priceless.

With the money we spent on cabs and Metro tickets, plus the frustration factor, we would have come out even just ponying up the extra cash and staying in Old Town proper.

Don’t worry.  I don’t intend to bore you with the minutia of all the situations and happenings that conspired to irritate me today.  But here’s a general list for your amusement:

  1. Let’s just say I was nonplussed with our Alexandria accommodations from the minute we entered our room.
  2. I wanted to go on one of these food tours but failed to notice that we needed to be there by 1 pm…it was now 3:30 pm.
  3. Decided to walk to the Metro from our hotel under the pretense that it was “less than 1/3 of a mile” away.  This was a colossal miscommunication particularly in 90+ degree heat when all I brought with me to wear was an early fall wardrobe.
  4. The aforementioned attempt to “go with the flow” and “see where we end up” resulted in basically not being sure about where to go or what to do once being spat out of the Metro station a few blocks outside of Old Town.
  5. More extensive walking in 90+ degree heat.

Wine Girl’s Travel Tip #2- Do not resist all your natural tendencies simply because you are on vacation.  If you are a planner but wanting to be a little spontaneous, don’t neglect planning altogether.  At least have some general idea about directions, attractions, or activities you’d like to see or do.  This will cut way back on wasted time.

We finally made it to a major Old Town thoroughfare.  At this point, all I want is an ice cold beer in a well air conditioned facility…preferrably a quaint establishment with character, but I’ll take what I can get. We wander up King Street looking for such an establishment, but the first 3 bars/restaurants we came to closed for lunch at 3 pm not to open again until 5pm.  So…we kept walking and finally landed in Red Rocks.

Apparently, I was too irritated and thirsty to bother getting a shot of my beverage (or focusing the camera), but here’s what the BG had

(I’ll let him tell you about that later) and we snacked on this appetizer of asparagus and prosciutto salad upon the recommendation of our delightful bartender.

Our friendly bartender also informed us that there was a free King Street Trolley that ran every 20 min and would take us back to the Metro station when we were ready to head back.  Satiated, cooler, and generally appeased I was up for a little more wandering around before going back to the hotel to shower before dinner, especially in light of this new information.

Well we wandered and took a few pics but the only trolley we saw was “off duty.”  So guess what…

more walking in the heat + feet hurting, shoes rubbing +  sweaty/sticky/smelly = I’m irritated all over again.

We found a cab but it wouldn’t take us to our hotel because it’s “a DC cab, not a VA cab.” Then why on earth are you driving around VA and stopping to pick people up in Alexandria?!?!  More walking…all the way back to the Metro station!  Yep, still irritated!  Thankfully, BG had the wherewithal to call the hotel and have them send a shuttle to pick us up at the Metro station and take us back to the hotel.

I’m feeling about 200% better after a shower and am ready for a dinner date with my fella at The Majestic…also upon recommendation of our Red Rocks bartender.

The food was great, but the service was a little meh.  Our waiter was a tad slow getting these to us

and just wasn’t generally forthcoming with information about the restaurant or the menu.  He wasn’t unfriendly, per se.  It was more like he was overbooked, preoccupied, or just not too worried about us.  The hostess was really nice, though.

BG and I shared the best crab cake I’ve ever had for an appetizer

then these entrees, respectively.

The waiter messed up my order and did not substitute the whipped potatoes for the fries as I requested.  I brought it to his attention and promptly received a bowl of these

Too full to consider dessert, we decided to pass, and head back to the hotel. We were presented with this “parting gift from the chef” before leaving.

It’s a Chocolate and Ricotta Truffle with Coconut Shavings.  All’s well that ends well, huh?

Off to bed now. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover tomorrow…including SUPER EXCITING lunch plans!

Cheers, y’all!
Wine Girl

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