Vacation: From Washington DC to South Carolina- Days 1 & 2

Hey all!

It’s been a while since I’ve ventured to these parts, and while I’ve missed my outlet to share what’s been going on, life and food wise, we’ve been busy!

We recently just came back from a much needed and wonderful vacation, with which I’d like to share with you all!

Vacation, whether it be going away or staying close to home, is needed in this busy, sometimes stressful world we live in. We all work hard, both inside and outside of our homes, and leaving the normal responsibilities of life behind, even just for a little bit, definitely puts some pep back in all our steps!

I’ll be breaking our vacation down into different posts, to not inundate you with loads of pictures and words. We really had a wonderful time, and I hope you all have some plans to do what you love this year, whether it be travel, or just stay home!

Day One: Washington DC Bound!

The week leading up to our road trip vacation was a little chaotic, which made us crave some freedom! We were so excited to hit the road, mostly in part because we knew my momma would be staying at our house and caring for our sweet pups. Love my momma!

Our day started out not so bright (rain, rain go away) but definitely early, and we hit the road excited to get to our first destination, Washington DC!

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We stopped to get our beloved Starbucks, because well, vacation mode!

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The drive was nice into DC, cloudy but full of sunshine from our car! Love driving with the hubs, we have some of our best conversations in the car.

When we arrived to Washington, just a little after five hours, we were hungry. Okay, I’m lying, I was hangry. So after driving around for a little while and not having a clue where we wanted to go for lunch, we ended up at a really cute restaurant on Connecticut Ave! The irony! Lillies Restaurant & Bar was a nice treat to start our trip, and we definitely would recommend this restaurant for anyone in that area.

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Lillies is a family owned-and-operated Italian local neighbourhood restaurant, located steps away from the Woodley Park Zoo. It features modern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

We shared an appetizer of their calamari served with a herb aiola sauce, and it definitely curbed the hunger beast that may or may not have come out 😉

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Since we felt like continuing our shared lunch, we opted for their Herb Chicken dish and it did not disappoint.

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Herb marinated chicken in the house sauce, served with wild rice and steamed vegetables

We licked the plate clean, the hubs eating the rice and I enjoyed the vegetables with the tasty sauce!

After eating, we decided to visit the Smithsonian National Zoo! The sun was shining and it was free, so perfection!

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After the zoo we drove to our hotel for the evening, the Hyatt House in Herndon, VA. We  picked this hotel based on location and a great price. I would recommend it, it was clean, spacious, and had a free breakfast buffet!

After relaxing for a little bit, we showered and got ready for our dinner reservations at the Founding Farmers. After doing some research, I really enjoyed what this restaurant company stands for and I’m so glad we got the opportunity to dine there.

The values of the American family farmer are at the heart of all we do at Founding Farmers. Like the more than 47,000 family farmers who own our restaurant, we strive to work hard and operate with a genuine concern for our land and our community. We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy high-quality food that is delicious, and grown with care.

(To hear more about the restaurant, visit their website and then go eat there!)

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We started our dining experience off with none other than a well deserved bottle of vino!

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Cheers to vacation!

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For our appetizer we ordered the Bread, Chips, Crisps. This was served alongside four different dips, Romesco, Pimento Cheese, Green Goddess and Onion Dip.

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Here is where my love of pimento cheese became a reality. Oh my word, if you have never had it, go get some. Better yet, just make it yourself. It is so easy to make! I see that in my future summer festivities!

For my entree, I tried to remain with a healthier choice so I ordered their Rotisserie Chicken with green beans. It was very good!

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We wrapped up dinner, finishing our wine and talking about what the future week would entail. Then we headed back to our hotel because we had a 7 1/2 hour drive the following morning!

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Day Two: Road Trip to South Carolina

Day two started off early (again) because I was super enthusiastic to head down south! We got ready, put our bags back in our car, and headed to the free breakfast buffet the hotel had to offer.

Trying to be good in my low carb lifestyle (for there were many meals consumed during this trip that didn’t live up to that hype, haha), I went simple with an egg omelette and sausage with salsa. It was rather good!

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Back on the road again, we left the dreary Washington and headed straight for our lunch destination in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The hub’s love for BBQ runs deep, so after driving for about five hours, we went to Fuller’s Old Fashioned BBQ for their well known BBQ buffet.

Here’s my take on the buffet, it was good! Although, a lot of the food I felt was off limits for me, since I wanted to stay somewhat on track to my healthy goals, they had a great variety of BBQ, Chicken, and all the good ole’ southern comfort foods.

My plate consisted of chicken, okra, shrimp, corn and I caved and tried my first hush puppy! Mmmm, I get it now. Oh that I do.

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After lunch we continued down to South Carolina taking a very scenic route, and it was such a beautiful drive through the country. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The sun was out, the music was on and we were crossing a destination off our bucket list!

We went from this….

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To this!

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We arrived to our final destination around 4:00 pm, just in time to check into the Plantation Resort. We settled in, we explored the area, then went to the grocery store to stock our refrigerator with water and snacks. Afterwards, we relaxed and hit the hay because our vacation was just getting started!

Stay tuned!

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A Weekend in Boston- Day 2

A Weekend in Boston – Day 1 – if you missed it!

Day two started bright and early, thanks in part to an internal clock that thinks we are always going to work! Since there was no work to be had, we got ready and met our travel buddies downstairs to explore!

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Our first stop was to get some delicious coffee at Thinking Cup. They do an awesome job living up to their personal philosophy to provide delicious coffee, pastries and food in a cozy and enjoyable environment. I could get use to starting my day this way!

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After feeding our bellies with some fuel, we decided to start walking the Freedom Trail, went to Quincy and enjoyed the sunshine on our faces! Nothing makes me happier than being around family, having sun on my face and just feeling content. There is something spectacular to be said for just going away for the weekend. Leaving all your responsibilities for a few days, and soaking up life! Life is fleeting, you need to truly enjoy it while you can!

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After some browsing in shops, we ventured to the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. We went to Europe for the first time last year, and what I loved about this part of Boston, was it gave you such a nostalgic feeling. With its perfect old character paired with modern accents, the beautiful cobblestone streets and most importantly, the local older Italian men who sat on the sidewalks barking at each other from across the street, it was just a joy to experience.

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At the recommendation of a family member, we decided to have lunch at Antico Forno. It was one of the our best dining experiences of the weekend and in the future, we would definitely go back for dinner!

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Their entire menu looks delicious but true to this Italian girls heart, I just can’t pass up chicken parmigiana!

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Parmigiana di pollo- breaded chicken, fontina cheese, basil, San Marzano tomato sauce with a mixed green salad

I should have asked for no bread, but I took it off and a lovely mister in the our party decided to take it off my hands, the perks of family!

The hubby had one of his favorites as well!

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Polpette- homemade meatballs, parmigiana cheese, roasted peppers, basil, San Marzano tomato sauce with a mixed green salad

After a fantastic lunch it was back to walking around our favorite city, and no good day in the books ever forgets dessert.

We stopped to get gelato and honestly, I just can’t stop with the coconut. I want it every day, all the time, in everything. Yum!

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Then we retired to our hotel rooms for a mid-day break to get ready for our night activities!

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When we were ready in our evening fancy attire, we stopped at the bar to get a drink. I just love my sister! Baby blues forever!

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Then we walked down to where the theater was and stopped into an awesome restaurant/bar which I have no recollection of the name. I will find it though, because it is the coolest atmosphere. I felt like such a modern-day woman in that place!

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After a few drinks and an appetizer we headed to the Charles Playhouse to see The Blue Man Group!

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That was so much fun! I love going to shows and creating new experiences, so it was definitely one of my favorite moments! If you haven’t seen them yet, find a show and enjoy it!

When the show was over we headed back to where our hotel was and stopped into The Beantown Pub for a drink and some grub. What is a weekend away without good eats?! Nothing, absolutely nothing.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day or travel buddies than these! It was a great little trip and I am so looking forward to our next adventure. Where will that be?!

Boston, we miss you already- but you are only a hop, skip and a jump away. So until next time, much love!

A Weekend in Boston – Day 1

I cannot say it enough, I heart Boston. Everything about it, just makes me feel calm, happy and excited all at the same time.

There is just always something to do, see, eat, drink…. and be merry about!

I thought I’d share a little about our weekend away, because it is something I want to always remember. It will always be etched into memory but writing it out to look back on, just seems right.

We ventured up to Boston on a Friday afternoon. The weather was quite dreary but that didn’t stop our anticipation to meet up with two of our favorite people.

We arrived at the Omni Parker House around 3:30 pm where we were delighted to be gifted valet service right at the doorway. We don’t typically do valet so we already were feeling like a King and Queen!

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We checked in and went straight up to our gorgeous room where we were greeted with another surprise! Our weekend dates were spoiling us even before we got there, and we appreciate it all!

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After settling in, we met these beautiful people downstairs!

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Then it was time to take a nice stroll through Boston to get our feet wet (no pun intended, for it was raining!) What I loved most about this hotel besides it’s perfect description “A classic soul with a modern twist” was how close we were to everything. It is right on the Freedom Trail, and so close to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. It made walking around the city, so very lovely!

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We ended up walking to dinner which was at Mast. It was kind of a weird experience all around in the dining world but our company was spot on, so despite the vibe that was throughout, we enjoyed ourselves.

Why must dinner always be served with this scrumptious but evil food? Mmm, bread.

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We started with sharing the Calamari, a family favorite for sure!

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Sadly, all we could taste was the salt! I’ve never had such salty calamari but we don’t waste food, so….. it was obviously still eaten!

My sister and I shared two small plates and one of them stole the show! The cauliflower was tasty!

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Polpettine Trio- a meatball trio of angus beef al ragu

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Roasted Cauliflower- with a spicy chile goat cheese and baked four cheese spread

The men stayed true to their roots, one enjoying a pasta dish (Italian man through and through!) and my hubby sticking with a roasted chicken.

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Orecchiete Baresi- Orecchiete pasta, friarelli (sauteed broccoli rabe), fennel sausage, pecorino romano

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Pollo al Mattone Sette Spezia- half all natural chicken, grilled, smoked seven spice rub, Borretane onion agrodolce

We ate, we talked, we laughed, and were in the best company!

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After dinner we walked back to our hotel for a drink and dessert!

The hotel has a famed whiskey bar called the Last Hurrah. We sat down at one of their tables, each getting a drink of choice and we shared their famous Boston Cream Pie!

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After, we called it a night!  We needed our rest for Saturday and it seriously was the best day! Stay tuned…..