Virginia is (still) for Lovers

Dave and I have just returned from a long weekend in my home state (and his adopted state) of Virginia (which is actually a commonwealth, but whatever) and were reminded that there is more to Virginia than traffic and politics.

We took off on Thursday afternoon from Ft. Myers for a direct flight to DCA, landing around 4:30 PM. After picking up a less than desirable rental car, we headed to the Hotel Indigo in Old Town Alexandria where we would be meeting my stepson for dinner and drinks. It had been years since Dave and I were in Old Town, so we were anxious to strike out and get reacquainted with this lovely, historical area.

We decided to meet Ryan at the Majestic on King St. and took a leisurely walk along Union St. and King, stopping en route at the historic Alexandrian Hotel for cocktails. We finally made our way to the famous Majestic, and Ryan joined us a few minutes later. After catching up (and maybe more cocktails), we headed to dinner.

Dinner was at Vaso’s Mediterranean Bistro, also on King and a short walk from the Majestic. Despite great Yelp reviews, I found the food to be average, but the server was very friendly. The calamari was rubbery, the saganaki tasted like grease, and the entrees were bland. Nothing was horrible, just not memorable. There are dozens of fabulous restaurants in Old Town; I don’t think I would return to Vaso’s.

The next morning Dave and I had lunch at Mia’s Italian Kitchen, and had a good slice of pizza and a decent Muffaletta (not anywhere as good as the Muffaletta at Central Grocery or Napoleon House in New Orleans, but edible. Stay tuned for a New Orleans post in the coming weeks). We had a perfect table on the sidewalk and were able to enjoy the amazing weather and people watching. Afterwards we strolled the cobblestone streets before heading to Reston to hook up with friends.

We checked in at the Hyatt at Reston Town Center and decided to partake in some pre Cinco de Mayo swirls at Uncle Julio’s. We have fond memories of pigging out on chips, swirls and fajitas at UJ Rio Grande Café; although the place seems much more chain-like than 8 years ago, the chips and swirls were as good as ever. We made the obligatory stop at Jackson’s before meeting up with our friends Kitty and John at their lovely home and enjoying a couple bottles of bubbly with them.

We ended the evening meeting up with friends Kristen & Bethy for dinner at Mon Ami Gabi (we were hitting ALL the old stomping grounds apparently) and having a fun post-dinner bar crawl around RTC.

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The Wench, Kristen and Bethy
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Me, Kristen and Bethy

Finally it was Cinco de Mayo and we’d be meeting up with many more fun friends, most of whom are part of our travel crew. We caught up with Dawn and her friends Ben and Karen for lunch, and had the pleasure of meeting Ben’s twin brother Rob, who was so entertaining my face was hurting by the time we parted ways with them. We headed to Sean and Joey’s gorgeous home in Ashburn for pre-party fun and were (hopefully) some help in getting the party ready. Ryan also met us at Shoey’s and we partied and enjoyed everyone’s company until well in to the wee hours. We even reconnected with a former co-worker from our time at Media General and spent some time reminiscing about “the good old days”.

As you can probably imagine, the morning after was a little rough and started late. We made an effort to help clean up as much as we could, and then headed out for a late lunch at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg. I had never been there and really enjoyed the food, which offers sandwiches and sushi (unexpected but beautiful). I had a fried chicken sandwich that was one of the best I’ve had; I could go for that right now actually… And, if you go, be sure to order the crispy cauliflower. You’re welcome.

Around 4:00PM we parted ways with the guys and headed to our final stop of our Virginia weekend: the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg. We checked in to the charming property, resplendent with leather sofas, hardwood paneling and a massive stone fireplace with a crackling fire – perfect for a cool drizzly evening. We were delighted to learn we had been upgraded to the Hayloft suite, which boasts a large veranda overlooking the expansive farmland. I think I can finally relate to the term “bucolic”.

Not long after check-in, we made our way to the Inn’s restaurant for a dinner of scallops with roasted cauliflower and a sweet-tart raisin sauce, and a tender filet of beef with local mushrooms and pureed potatoes. We were too full to order dessert having dinner so soon after our late lunch at Salamander. We knew we had a full breakfast to look forward to, however, and, as anticipated, had another delish meal in the light-filled solarium dining room. We brought the complimentary bubbly to breakfast for mimosas with our eggs benedict and three-cheese omelet and perfectly buttery croissants. And Rosie the cat decided to join us on the other side of our window, which was an added bonus.

After breakfast it was time to make our way to the airport and say goodbye to Virginia, and head back to our new home in Venice, Florida. It was a great trip, not only because we connected with so many friends and loved ones, but we were reminded again of how much beauty, history, and great experiences Virginia has to offer; we are looking forward to our next visit already!

Until Next Time!

Steph

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