The Post-Vacation Blues

I think of myself as a pretty good traveler. I’m relatively low maintenance. If we need to stay in a ten-person dorm to make our trip happen, then by all means let’s do it. I can spend all day walking around a city or trying new food or meeting new people. No itinerary necessary. I love it all! Recently I’ve discovered; however, that I am not a good person for coming home. Many people rejoice at the idea of sleeping in their own bed and being able to just grab something from their own fridge. That’s all good and well but that coming home slump is unavoidable for me. Even at 32 weeks pregnant when I really need my own bed and walking around a new city is more tiring than exciting, coming home is still tough to handle.

The last day of our honeymoon, a road trip back to Texas from our wedding in Virginia, Tyler woke up eager to get the long 8 hour drive out of the way. I cried all through breakfast and most of the way home. Sunday when we came home from a wedding in Georgia followed by a one-night “baby moon” I sat at the kitchen counter staring at my to-do lists just sinking into my disappointment at being home.

It’s not so much being home as it is being back in real life that gets me every time. It’s meal planning and no longer being able to buy things with the exclamation, “Who cares, we’re on vacation!” It’s setting an alarm for 6 am but hitting snooze and feeling bad for not walking the dog. Work days just aren’t nearly as exciting as vacation days. Bah.

We set out for Milledgeville, GA last Friday to see one of Tyler’s best buds get married. When they weren’t fishing on salmon and halibut boats he and Rex lived in a trailer together in Alaska on a 9-hole golf course. They worked and lived together for 7 seasons. Every year that Tyler and I were dating, I would go up for a week and stay with them. It was awesome to see them together again after these last two years apart.

Unfortunately we encountered several delays on our way to GA and the during the day before the wedding was a rainy mess so we really didn’t get to explore the town. We drove by Andalusia (inspiration for many a Flannery O’Connor story!) and walked into a couple cool shops. The rest of our time was spent watching one of the Steve Jobs biopics in the hotel and doing wedding activities.

Being sober at a wedding is not something I’ve ever wanted to experience, but I’ve now done it twice this year. It’s not so bad when there’s really good music! We were treated to a Motown-style band from Atlanta that truly killed it. They did an awesome job and while my dance floor time has been severely reduced I have managed to create a pretty sweet belly dance. Don’t be jealous.

The day after the wedding we met the bride and groom with some of their friends for a late breakfast at IHOP before heading down to Savannah. Flooding and downed trees had made the inland journey to GA pretty difficult so we opted for the coastal route back with a stop to celebrate our 2-year anniversary!

img_2257

We stayed at a very basic, but totally adorable place called the Thunderbird Motel. It was decked out in retro colors, super affordable and right on the edge of everything. We would have stayed in an Airbnb but we couldn’t find anything with that didn’t require a multi-night minimum without a pricey cleaning fee. Next time we’ll just have to stay for longer! Regardless, we weren’t disappointed. Our room came with 2 RC colas and 2 Moonpies. Um, amazing.

This was an incredibly short trip (less than 24 hours) so we saw the slightest peek into Savannah. We were able to walk the river area (pretty touristy), through Colonial Cemetery and down to Forbush park. So beautiful! Later I read a guidebook in our hotel room that informed me of the numerous dead bodies under the sidewalks surrounding the cemetery (apparently they needed the cemetery to be smaller- why not just pave over it, right?!) and the yellow fever victims buried in Forbush Park. Next time, I definitely want to do a ghost tour! I love learning about all that kind of stuff.

The houses and parks were incredible. It seemed like there was a small, green park with beautiful live oak trees every few blocks. While it would be hard to trade our yard and quiet street in I was definitely pondering whether or not it’d be worth it to live in an old home in Savannah where you could walk everywhere.

Savannah is also a food destination and I feel like we hit two awesome spots. We stopped for an appetizer at Public to fuel us up for the evening. I broke the rules and shared a salmon bruschetta with Tyler. We’re talking soft, lightly toasted bread with Boursin cheese, fig jam, smoked salmon and caramelized onions. Holy moly! I wanted it to last forever. Unfortunately our appetizer really set the bar too high and dinner didn’t compare. We ate dinner at Jazz’d, an Americanized tapas bar. Meh. I won’t waste time on it here.

img_2252

Breakfast was another story altogether! We splurged on a fancy breakfast at the Collins Quarter. Totally worth it! The owner is Australian so he offered coffee drinks like the flat white and breakfasts that included grilled tomatoes and baked beans. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a menu like that! We sipped on a vanilla milkshake with espresso (not me) and homemade chai (yes, me!) while raving over our meals. Tyler ‘s breakfast was buttermilk biscuits with a link of chicken apple sausage, a smoked bacon gravy, fennel-apple slaw and poached eggs. The weirdest part? It didn’t leave him in a food coma. My meal proved the impossible- vegetables are for breakfast too!  I ate squash and broccolini, ya’ll. For breakfast. And I loved it. It was braised short rib over potato hash cakes with avocado smash and sautéed squash topped with over easy egg and chimichurri. There was broccolini on the side as well. Life-changing.

img_2256img_2255

It was a wonderful trip. We got to see two incredible people get married, explore new areas, eat incredible food and be all lovey-dovey all over the place. And now that we’ve been home a few days, it turns out it’s pretty nice to be home again after all.

img_2254

I know I’m biased but he’s a pretty cute date. 

Misadventure in New York: Proving My Number One Hobby is FOOD

As I’m sure you already know, the true highlight of my trip was eating. Eating a lot.

For a trip to be successful you need to do a lot of research or have incredibly reliable guides. I chose the later. Before arrival I emailed one of my favorite ladies and my cousin (equally lovely) for some suggestions. Without specifically asking (and I was going to ask) my cousin suggested I try Tal Bagels on the Upper East Side. So Friday morning I headed out with only one true destination in mind. Did this bagel change my life? Did it blow my mind? No. Was it EXACTLY what I wanted? Yes. Warm, toasted, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, smothered in cream cheese perfection. I walked away from this bagel with a deep, inner satisfaction.

IMG_0310

When we met up with my cousin Friday afternoon, we didn’t really have the opportunity to eat. She was a great tour guide though, immediately ushering us into Strand Bookstore. After I bought a book for the husband (that I plan on reading as soon as he’s done), we started walking. We hit Washington Square Park before ending up at Purl. I should have taken a picture at Purl because it was entirely picturesque, but I was too in awe. Such beautiful, soft yarns and prettily crafted scarves and blankets everywhere. My wallet prevented me from purchasing anything  which was probably for the best…IMG_0320

Part of wanting to eat a lot when visiting some place is balancing it out. In New York we walked between 10-12 miles every day. Sometimes that meant we had to take a break with a soft serve cone. It’s hard not to when there’s an ice cream truck on every corner. I was pretty impressed that I only ate two of these rainbow bad boys while I was there. IMG_0335

A meal can be great eaten alone, but a great meal is fantastic eaten in the right company. My mom has some wonderful friends in NYC that provided wonderful company every night we were there. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of the best food we ate while we were there. Before we saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime we ate at Barbetta. Life changing. Truly, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The gnocchi melted in my mouth. The wine was incredible. The service entertaining and over the top. The oldest restaurant in NYC owned by the same family has survived for a very good reason.

The last night we ate at a place called Hill Country Barbecue. It was…more accurate than I would have expected. You walked up to a counter in front of the meat pit to order your food. Pictures of Texas Hill Country cover every wall. Only Shiner beers are served on tap. Behind the stage is a Texas flag made of bandanas and other cloths. The posters on the wall advertise shows like Bob Schneider and Rosie Flores. It was like being in a parallel universe.

While the company and ambience was fantastic, the brisket was only pretty good. Let’s say for NYC (or NC for that matter) it was fantastic. If I had been in Lockhart, I would have walked right out…and into every other barbecue restaurant (all of them, not just one- Brisket, I miss you!).

IMG_0338

I try not to be overwhelmingly touristy but sometimes…it can’t be helped. On Sunday on my way to the Met I needed to stop for food. I dropped in a chain french inspired bakery for a hot tea and croissant…and then I took a really poorly down selfie in front of Tiffany’s. I can only be SO awesome y’all. My apologies. IMG_0343

New York City. Go there. Eat a lot. Walk it off. Repeat.