Monday, May 31

The 3rd Annual Girl’s Weekend

This year marked the 3rd year myself, my mom, Meg and her mom have gotten together for a Girl’s Weekend.  We have been taking turns hosting and this year we planned the weekend with my baby shower. 

Overall our goal of the weekend was to relax and do fun girly type things.  The first year we went to the beach and last year we went to Kathy’s house where my mom and I began our obsession with tea.  This year was no different.  We started the weekend off with a Chilean Wine Tasting at Southern Season - I even enjoyed a few sips.  Then, of course we had to shop at Southern Season and pick up some new tea and other foodie goodies.  I made reservations for us at 411 West on Franklin Street, which I think everyone enjoyed. 

Saturday morning we were lazy sipping tea and nibbling on fruit, muffins and scones for breakfast.  We packed a picnic lunch and headed to the Duke Gardens – which ended up being a perfect day and there were lots of people who had the same idea.IMG_4828IMG_4829IMG_4619 IMG_4833 IMG_4832IMG_4834IMG_4837IMG_4633 IMG_4848After a leisurely lunch and stroll through the gardens we did a little shopping in downtown Apex.  Apex has already grown so much since we moved to our house two years ago.  There are so many fun shops and restaurants downtown and of course one of our favorite tea rooms, The Pineapple Tea Room, where we had afternoon tea.

Ben was a gentleman and offered to make us dinner – some of his gourmet pizzas and salad.  Us girls relaxed with wine and gabbed while he endured many earfuls of girl talk that he probably wished he had not heard!  After dinner we headed back to my mom’s house for a girly movie and lots more relaxing.

Sunday was my baby shower and it was a slow morning getting ready and heading back to Apex at Hilary’s house, where she and her mom Pat hosted.  I had so much fun and got lots of nice things for Baby Tipp’s arrival.   After munching on all the delicious food at the shower we were barely hungry for dinner.  So we made a spread of munchies and had even more girl talk on the deck with wine.  Who knew girls could talk so much!!!IMG_4740IMG_4742I think that’s the best thing about our girl’s weekends – we just pick right back up where we left off.  I love this has become an annual thing and every year we reminisce about the first day our parents dropped us off at Virginia Tech and we all met.  It’s amazing how many things have changed since that day – we graduated, had weddings, and now baby showers – all in the past 11 years!  I’m already looking forward to the next many years celebrating our friendship even if I see Meg only once a year!

Babymoon: Savannah

The second part of our vacation was spent in Savannah.  My mom and Papaw headed north to the beach house and we headed south to the Savannah Waterfront and our hotel, The River Street Inn.  Our room was perfect and had a wonderful view of the river.  IMG_4645For dinner the first evening we ate at Moon River Brewing Company.  That specific evening Earth Hour was being celebrated, so we enjoyed dinner by candlelight!  The food was delicious and Ben loved the beer sampler.  For appetizer we devoured Fried Green Tomatoes – a southern favorite -  and I had chicken stuffed with crab and brie.  They also serve an amazing side dish  of brie mashed potatoes.  We ended up making it back to Moon River several times for a mid-day drink, especially since Savannah allows open containers in the historic district – possibly the highlight of Ben’s weekend.IMG_4758Prior to any trip I do tons of research on the best restaurants in the area and we plan our trip around eating.  I had read so many reviews about Goose Feathers for a favorite breakfast spot near City Market.  Our first morning we headed straight there for breakfast.  There were so many options and I almost could not decide, but settled on oatmeal with bananas and maple syrup.  Ben had the most amazing bread pudding.  Our only regret was we did not pick up a few whoopee pies while we were there.  We eventually came back for them on our last day, but Goose Feathers had already closed.  IMG_4653IMG_4654The rest of the day we spent getting acquainted with the city and took a trolley tour.  It was by far the best way to see Savannah and we were able to make a list of all the historic homes and sites we wanted to come back to.   Included in our tour we were able to get off and on the trolley all day.  IMG_4659IMG_4665IMG_4667IMG_4664IMG_4675After our tour we enjoyed lunch at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s, a  low key pizza by the slice place in City Market.  Unfortunately as soon as we were finishing our pizza outside the bottom fell out and it took us forever to finagle our way back to the hotel.  Once the rain cleared up we headed down the River Street for a little shopping and dinner at One Eyed Lizzy’s, which was a fun little Tex-Mex restaurant.  (I told you all we do on vacation is eat!)  It was a long day, so I was eager to get back to our room and relax early.IMG_4759IMG_4762Monday morning, after a fantastic night’s sleep, we started our day with fresh coffee in real coffee mugs in bed then headed downstairs to Huey’s Southern Cafe on the River front for breakfast.  Huey’s is a New Orleans's style restaurant famous for it’s brunch and beignets.  The brunch was amazing and it was probably the best breakfast I have ever eaten.  I got the Pontchartain Omelette, which had spinach, artichoke and swiss cheese stuffed in an omelette and a side of cheese grits.  Ben enjoyed the seafood omelette which was stuffed with shrimp and scallops.  And of course we both split an order of beignets – I was so sad they were out of their famous praline sauce – nevertheless they were amazing without the sauce.IMG_4692 IMG_4691IMG_4694Our plan for the day was to walk around the many squares and visit some of the historic homes, then head to Forsyth Park and St. John the Baptist Cathedral.  We definitely got our exercise walking around!IMG_4700IMG_4704IMG_4706IMG_4716IMG_4723IMG_4739IMG_4743      

For dinner we had made special reservations at the Olde Pink House which receives rave reviews.  We ended up waiting almost an hour for our reservation, but luckily our dinner was amazing so we didn’t mind.  We had been eating so much, so we skipped an appetizer although they looked amazing.  I ordered the Crispy Scored Flounder with an Apricot Shallot sauce, stone ground grits and collards.  I was quite shocked when they brought it to me and I had an entire fish to eat!  It was different than I expected, but very good.  Ben had an amazing piece of chicken with a berry reduction sauce.  Since we skipped an appetizer we shared their infamous dessert – The Praline basket – served with vanilla bean ice cream, mango sauce and berries.IMG_4756  IMG_4753imageTuesday morning we checked out of our hotel and immediately headed to get in line at Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room, which is listed in the book 1,000 Things To Do Before You Die.  And believe us – her food is to die for and well worth the hour and a half wait!   It’s southern food at its best all served family style with 10 people at each table.  There were 22 things on the table and we stuffed ourselves silly before indulging in banana pudding for dessert.  Lunch nearly put us into a food coma before our 5 hour drive home!

We arrived home with so many food goodies and had a wonderful little vacation as just the two of us before we bring Baby Tipp into the world.  Although, we cannot wait to take Tipp on many trips in the future!IMG_4764

Tuesday, May 18

Babymoon: Charleston

Before Baby Tipp’s arrival, Ben and I wanted to take a mini-vacation to relax and enjoy some quality time together before all the craziness of newborn life begins and we become a family of 3.  Of course this will not be our last vacation as just the two of us, but any vacations in the future will certainly be different.

Charleston has always been a favorite southern city for us and I have always wanted to visit Savannah, so we made a long weekend out of it and planned it over the annual Cooper River Bridge Run.  This was our 3rd Bridge Run and at first I thought I’d be waiting at the finish line cheering on Ben and my mom.  At the last minute I decided I could definitely walk the 10k at 28 weeks and we invited Papaw to walk with me. 

We made it to Charleston by 5pm on Friday, just in time for dinner at  Fleet Landing, which was Ben’s choice.  We have our “usual” spots, but Ben had read about this restaurant and made an excellent choice - I had the best fried oyster salad!IMG_4587IMG_4577IMG_4578 The race came early Saturday morning and was quite chilly, but once we got moving with the other 40,000 people we warmed up.  I got several looks and a few comments on being pregnant!  Papaw and I finished in 1:41:15…although I came in just 0.01 seconds thanks to Tipp!28 WeeksAfter the race we continued our tradition of lunch at T-Bonz, then the Beer Exchange for Ben, before getting on the road.  Since we were heading south we made a few stops on the way the to Savannah at The Charleston Tea Plantation and the Angel Tree (a 1,500 year old oak tree).IMG_4601IMG_4604IMG_4613IMG_4621