Charlottesville, Part Deux

(Please forgive the lackluster blog entry.  Due to some “technical issues”, I can’t insert photos or links. Freaking technology.)

So after the activities of Friday and Saturday, I wanted to sleep in on Sunday. Instead, I hauled my butt out of bed and hit up the Rivanna Trail with a Charlottesville trail running group. The Rivanna Trail circles the city, and is mostly singletrack. Woohoo! My goal was to run the whole thing (18 miles), but after trading emails with some of the group members, I decided not to. I decided a 7 mile jaunt with people who knew the area was a smarter decision. I was right; it was great. The people were great and the section of the trail was awesome. I can’t wait to go back and do more.

After that run, I joined up with S and Little Dude to repeat my UVA 5K route so they could see it. We took our time and lollygagged around the campus, jogging with some walk breaks. (I cannot believe spell-check didn’t underline “lollygagged”! Amazing.) We finished off the run with a stop at Starbucks. I tried their new orange spiced ice coffee. I had them add soy milk and a bit of sweetener. I was wholly unimpressed. There was no hint – not even an essence – of orange, save the sorry looking orange slice floating over the ice. Sorry, Starbucks. You know I love you, but this was a fail. Yuck.

After we cleaned up, we hit the road and sought out brunch. We found a gem of a place called Beer Run. It was awesome! Seriously good stuff. They had a good draft beer list, but also sold singles, six packs and cases. (Yes, we loaded up on souvenirs.) The food was scrumptious. Little Dude and I did all but lick our plate of mixed berry and chocolate chip topped French toast. S got an omelet which he described as delicious. Overall, we were highly impressed.  And fat.

What is the best thing to do when you are brunch-fat? Wine tasting, of course!  We didn’t want to do too many, so we set our sights on our primo pick first: Blenheim Vineyards. It isn’t obvious, but it is owned by Dave Matthews. Yes, that Dave Matthews.

The winery was beautiful but not over the top. The views were gorgeous. The wines were surprisingly good. (I say this because I have had very little Virginia wine, and didn’t know what to expect.)  The best part, though, was that they had a play area for the grape juice drinkers! I had never seen a winery set up with one before. Of course we each ordered a glass and sat for a while, savoring the wine, the surroundings, and the quiet, content child.

Next we went a few hundred yards down the road to Trump Vineyards. No, not that Trump. His son. It turns out he bought a bankrupt winery and brought in some big shot French winemaker. The wines were good, but not great.  It was pretty, but felt snooty. The guy doing the tastings was corny. But we did the tasting outside, so Little Dude could run around and play with the dogs.

We finished up the day with dinner downtown at a restaurant called Himalayan Fusion. It is a Tibetan/Nepalese/Indian restaurant. It didn’t just call my name, it yelled it. I wasn’t sure how toddler friendly it might be, but we decided to give it a whirl. We got a cucumber-red onion-mango salad to start. It was light, refreshing and delicious. LD liked it too. He also liked the tortilla-like chips and the mystery dipping sauces, plus the naan. How can you go wrong with naan? (Remember when I said I am not a great vegan? Vegan fail.)  S got some sort of red meat (bleh) in a green sauce. I paid little attention to what he got because I was so in love with mine. I got a cauliflower and potato curry. It was awesome. And spiiiiiiicy. Wowza. I was on fire. I was very fearful that I would pay for that later. But I didn’t. Whew.

We headed home on Monday, in the pouring rain. We stopped at Trader Joe’s on our way out. Bliss! Not only did I stock up on food, but we got to check out their (cheap) beer and wine. (When I get to go to Trader Joe’s, I go to ones in Pennsylvania. We have severely antiquated liquor laws prohibiting the sale of beer and wine just about everywhere. Things are changing. Slowly.) We loaded up the car and hit the road in the downpour.

We wanted to take Skyline Drive home since we missed taking it on Friday, but fog in the mountains was so dense, we opted out of it. Instead we took a scenic route to get to the intestate. It was nice. We hit up Cave Ridge Winery off of I-81 for a tasting and a scenic picnic lunch, and then drove straight through to home sweet home.

Charlottesville was great! It is totally my kind of town. It ranks up there with Portland, Oregon as places I would live.  I didn’t get to do everything I wanted, but that’s okay. My friend and I are heading back there in August for a girls-only running/relaxation trip. I can’t wait!

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