Hi guys! I hope you had nice long holiday weekends – or regular weekends for my non-U.S. readers! Matt and I spent some time relaxing at home and also fit in an overnight adventure to the mountains of Virginia – our favorite.
For a number of years starting back in 2005, Matt and I made a trip to Charlottesville every summer, but we hadn’t been in a couple years – we took a break when Matt was getting his masters at UVA and driving down there all the time! A few months ago we decided it was time to bring back the tradition, though. I let my friend Kath, who lives in Cville, know we’d be coming down for a night and she offered us their guest room – very kind!
After not traveling as much as usual this summer due to being pregnant, I was REALLY excited to get out of town! We were originally planning to leave first thing on Saturday and do some hiking in the Shenandoahs on our way down, but the weather was really dreary, rainy, and chilly, so we took our time and left late afternoon instead, heading straight to Kath and Thomas’s place! When we arrived we found a little cocktail hour awaiting us – cheese and crackers FTW.
For dinner, we headed to a cool area of Charlottesville called Belmont for a trendy Italian place called Tavola. It was PACKED so we had to wait awhile, but we didn’t mind since they had a nice bar area and delicious sounding appetizers. Pesto + cheese + buttery crisp toast = delicious. I also had a fun mocktail made with juice and tonic!
As for dinner, I had the branzino. Also delicious – highly recommend this restaurant if you find yourself in the area! The service was a bit slow but we didn’t mind since we were having such a nice time chatting away. 🙂
We weren’t quite ready for the dinner fun to end so we shared some cheesecake between the 4 of us for dessert. Yum – a few bites was the perfect nightcap.
On Sunday morning, we woke up to a beautiful day and to some really delicious bread Kath picked up for us to enjoy from Great Harvest. When toasted it tasted like a cinnamon roll – so gooey and yummy! I had mine topped with some almond butter.
Before having the rest of breakfast, Matt and I wanted to walk into downtown Charlottesville to pay our respects to the Heather Heyer memorial, and Kath, Thomas, and their dog Gus joined us.
The street where Heather was killed is still blocked off and there is a beautiful display of positive messages surrounding the barrier. <3 It was so powerful.
After paying our respects, we walked back and had part 2 of breakfast – bacon, scrambled eggs, and berries.
Matt also gave Gus some love – he’s so cute! And really big – he looks smaller in photos, I think – he’s about 90 pounds!
Thank you so much for having us, Kath and Thomas! Until next time. 🙂
After pushing off from their place, Matt and I made a quick detour to Bellair Market to grab sandwiches for the hike, then made our way to Shenandoah National Park, our favorite spot. 🙂
I think the last time we were in the Shenandoahs was last fall for our anniversary – it had been way too long! On the drive, I researched hikes in our trusty Hiking Shenandoah National Park book that we keep in the car. It’s so handy! We decided to do two shorter hikes, starting with the Loft Mountain Loop, which is about 2 miles and features some nice views at the top.
It was a little after noon by the time we started but luckily we found a bench shortly after getting going – perfect place to stop and eat our sandwiches! I got a tuna sandwich with various veggies and cheese. Pretty good!
After fueling up (I saved half the sandwich for later – it was huge and I find smaller frequent fuelings feel better now that my stomach is being partially smushed by the baby), we carried on! At 28 weeks pregnant I’m definitely moving more slowly on uphill stretches nowadays, but Matt didn’t mind taking it easy for me. 🙂
The views at the overlook were gorgeous, and we loved that we had this trail mostly to ourselves – one of the benefits of doing smaller random trails vs. the popular well known ones, especially on a gorgeous weather holiday weekend!
We ended up sitting down and relaxing up there for about 30 minutes – the weather could not have been more perfectly and it was so nice to just sit still and take in the quiet and the views. I wish we could have stayed all day.
After making our way back to the car we decided our second hike of the day would be Powell Gap, another short hike (about 1 mile) with lovely views.
We had some uphill to power through but again, the views at the overlook were well worth it.
As before, we sat and rested and took in the views and the quiet for about half an hour. It was so calming and peaceful – there was nowhere else I would rather have been.
Matt and I were sad to say goodbye to the Shenandoahs for the meantime, but we will actually be back in 3 weeks! We’re doing one last quick weekend trip (this time to a cute B&B about an hour and a half from DC that is close to Shenandoah National Park) just the two of us before the baby arrives, and are planning to enjoy some more hiking then! I can’t wait. 🙂
We got back around dinnertime on Sunday and grabbed some salads before picking up the dogs and relaxing at home for the night. It was so nice to have one extra weekend day! We spent yesterday getting some things done around the house, and also took the dogs on a fun walk/jog late morning. As for food, we started with some pancakes first thing (made with this pancake mix, and I added chia seeds to the batter and blueberries as they cooked):
And for lunch after our jog/walk with the dogs, I whipped us up a homemade variation on Huevos Rancheros. It had wilted spinach, black beans, diced green pepper, guacamole, corn tortillas, and fried eggs. Plus strawberries on the side! So good.
As for dinner, we had some friends over for a grill night. Perfect weather for it!
Sausages + kraut = always a win!
And now, it’s time to catch up on my exploding email inbox. Have a nice day, my friends!
How did you spend the holiday weekend (or the regular weekend)?