Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

My 31st birthday was Sunday, July 22!  I had not really planned on doing very much since it felt like we had just gotten back from vacation and Kellan had been invited to a 1st birthday party on Sunday afternoon.  Michael suggested that we go somewhere on Friday, stay the night, and come back late Saturday.  I told him I would think about it and decide where I wanted to go.  By the time he got home from work on Friday, the thought of packing again, after it seemed like we had just unpacked from Florida, was so unappealing I told him that I thought we should just stay home.  This is very unlike me because I love to go check out new places...but it tells how MUCH I really did not want to pack up everything all over again, even for just one night.

Instead of going somewhere and staying overnight, we decided to spend all day Saturday in Richmond marking through some places on our list of things that we have been wanting to do.

This is our list that we are continuously adding to:
1.  Wilton House Museum
2.  Agecroft Hall
3.  Museum of Edgar Alan Poe
4.  Science Museum
5.  Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
6.  Walk around the Capital grounds and 6th Street Market
7.  The Civil War Museum
8.  The Children Museum (when Kellan gets a little older)
9.  Hollywood Cemetery
10.  Virginia Historical Society
11.  Canal Walk
12.  Byrd Theatre
13.  Former White House
14.  Valentine Museum
15.  Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
16.  Weezie's Kitchen (restaurant in Carytown)
11.  Maymont Park
12.  The Museum of the Confederacy
13.  Virginia Holocaust Museum
14.  The Jefferson Hotel
15.  Dot's Back Inn (Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives)
16.  Village Cafe (Diner's Drive-In and Dives)
17.  Carytown
18.  Landmark Theatre

Michael and I have already visited Maymont Park, the Museum of the Confederacy, Carytown, and the Landmark Theatre on previous visits but we were able to get to a few more this weekend.

Our first stop was Dot's Back Inn for lunch.  This was one of the restaurants featured on the Food Network TV show, Diner's, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  It is a restaurant definitely off the beaten path and its not really somewhere you would find unless someone had told you about it.  It is not that big of a place and not fancy by any means but our food was phenomenal.  We will surely be back to try other things from the menu.

Next, we headed to the Virginia Holocaust Museum.  On the way we passed the Farmer's Market in downtown and decided to stop and walk around there first. It was overcast and a little misty so there weren't a lot of vendors out but we still found a few interesting things.

We bought some Strawberry Basil Lemonade from this little boy's lemonade stand :)
We bought a book for mommy and a book for Kellan from a used book stand...I love a book stand, new or used!

After leaving the Farmer's Market we went to the Virginia Holocaust Museum.  The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. is one of the most interesting museums I've ever been to so I had been wanting to check this one out.  They both have such sad stories to tell but definitely stories that everyone should hear and photos and videos to see.  This museum shared the general history of the Holocaust but also information about survivors of the Holocaust that settled in Virginia.

Next we stopped by The Jefferson Hotel.  It is one of a few hotels in the nation that has a 5 Star AND 5 Diamond rating.  It opened in 1895 and has had 12 presidents, Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and many other celebrities as guests. 

What I found most interesting is that when the hotel opened alligators used to live in the main lobby in a moat that surrounds a statue of Thomas Jefferson.  Guests would bring pet alligators home to Richmond from their vacations to Florida.  When the alligators outgrew their homes, they brought them to the Jefferson to live.  Throughout the hotel and gift shop is an alligator theme.  Including this alligator statue at the front entrance. 

I didn't take any pictures on the inside because there was a baby shower, several groups having afternoon tea, and a wedding reception all going on in every area that we wandered into!  I felt a little too much like a creepy photographer.  So if you want to see photos of the inside look here and click on photo tour.  The grand staircase is a must see...we'll have to try again when we aren't in town on a weekend!
For dinner, I picked The Black Sheep because its description is "Southern, Eclectic."   I love southern food and I like different so this was a perfect choice for me.   After we got there we found out that this restaurant was featured on the TV show Man versus Food.  They are known for their sandwiches but we ordered an appetizer, a bowl of soup, and two entrees.  I would definitely go back and try a sandwich on another visit.
We had a window seat :)
"Oh gosh, decisions, decisions..."

Kellan eating his dinner
Oyster gumbo and Squash fritters with tomato jam

These acorn salt and pepper shakers reminded me of Raleigh The City of Oaks :)

Michael's lamb kabobs
My grilled peaches and pork chop

The plan was to head to Carytown Cupcakes for dessert but they sold out for the day!  We headed to Frostings in Short Pump instead to try out their cupcakes!  We each chose 3 and brought 1/2 dozen home with us.
Frostings was on Cupcake Wars on the Food Network...it was a TV show restaurant kind of day!

Peanut Butter Cup, S'more, Vanilla/Vanilla, Cookies N' Cream, and 2 Red Velvet
And of course we made a stop at Whole Foods before heading home!

And as if I needed any more sweets I brought home a strawberry rhubarb pie.  I've always wanted to try this type of pie and when I saw it at Whole Foods, on sale in July, I just had to get it!  Soooo good...definitely worth the 10 pounds I will probably gain. 
It was a great day-before-my-birthday filled with good food and fun adventures!  I guess I have to now officially say that I am "in my 30's."  30 itself just seemed like a buffer zone but now I'm really in there!

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