Mea Culpa & Epic August Road Trip Pt 1

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, guys. I know that a week and a half two weeks is supposed to be an inexcusably long time to go between posts unless you’re actively in labor/bringing home a newborn, saving the world from almost-certain doom, or just really really distracted by something shiny. I have none of those excuses, so I’ll blame it on a combination of still being relatively new to the blogging world (it isn’t a habit yet, I guess) and the fact that the husband and I have been on the first (and second) leg of our whirlwind Epic Late Summer Roadtripapalooza. Yup.

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This past weekend was our first anniversary (mushy and hopefully accidentally insightful post to come about that later) and to celebrate, we went away for the weekend. To West Virginia. Why West Virginia you ask (like everyone else in the last week)? Because it was close. And less expensive than the beach. And all we really wanted to do was to get the (pardon me) hell out of dodge and relax in a nice hotel room with air conditioning, clean sheets that we didn’t have to wash, our favorite shows, maybe a pool, and an unlimited supply of tolerable coffee.

What we got was possibly the most awesomely simple and perfectly us vacation ever. It was sublime, I tell you. When we arrived late on Friday night (I had to work late at the store until about 8, but we headed out from there,) our room didn’t seem to have the advertised microwave and fridge (which was necessary due to leftovers from dinner along the way–we waste NO food in this family.) So we called down to the desk and instead of just sending up an extra little microwave and fridge like I expected, they upgraded us to a whole new GIANT room! With a jacuzzi tub. A big one. That’s what I should have taken a picture of.  It was magical. The service at this place was unbelievably wonderful. They even dug up a vase for me to put the single biggest bouquet of flowers I have ever been given (2 dozen huge, lovely roses) into so I could enjoy them all weekend. They’re almost as amazing as my husband. Well, they were pretty great.

As if procuring for me the world’s largest and most breathtakingly beautiful flowers wasn’t enough of a reminder of why I love him, my husband handed me our itinerary while we were in the car on the way there. Don’t misunderstand and think that I’m one of those people who needs every second of every day completely planned out. I’m not. Especially not on vacation. But there’s also nothing I hate worse than the frustration of not having the information you need exactly when you need it. And until a few days ago, I have never owned a phone smart enough to gather that information for me.

So my thoughtful sweetheart of a husband made me an itinerary that was exactly my favorite kind (that I didn’t even know was a possibility until he started making them for me) and a perfect example of why we work together so well. It was simple and consisted of the addresses and phone numbers for the hotel, restaurant for our dinner reservation for Saturday, the church we’d picked out for Mass on Sunday, and a couple of ice cream shops in the towns we thought we might visit. It had only two times on it: our reservations for dinner and the time of the Mass for Sunday. It was perfect. With only one firm plan for each day, but lots of options for things to choose from on a whim, it was just the right amount of planned. And the fact that he had gone through all of the trouble to type it all up in lovely tables and print out not one, but two copies for me made me feel so cared for, so thought of, and so loved. I seriously got weak in the knees right there in the car. Best. Husband. Ever.

What we wound up doing was, to the untrained eye, absolutely nothing. And to the eyes that count, it was perfection. We slept in, we ate a delicious free breakfast downstairs, and took a walk around the tiny mall that we discovered next door to our hotel.  We got coffee, ran through the rain, and had a wonderful lunch at Waffle House. Again, the awful waffle might not sound like romantic anniversary food to you, but to this Atlanta-transplant girl who mourns the fact that there are only three Waffle Houses in the entire state of Maryland, all of which are well over an hour and a half’s drive from us, it was a happy gift from God. Sometime I’ll try to explain it, but for now, let’s just saying having a Waffle House within walking distance of our hotel nearly made my trip.

To a girl from Atlanta, this place just feels like home. Greasy, yes. But still home.

To a girl from Atlanta, this place just feels like home. Greasy, yes. But still home.

After a yummy lunch and a much needed soak in that tub, we relaxed, watched our favorite shows on the DVD player we brought. That’s right–he planned so well for me that he brought our DVD player from home complete with cables and a surge protector. Unfortunately we forgot the remote for the DVD player, so that meant pestering those poor but kind souls down at the desk again to see if they had a universal remote. Miracle of miracles: they had a DVD player and remote we could borrow! Seriously guys, this place was amazing. Boy, are they gonna love their yelp review.

Us watching "His Girl Friday" in the hotel room. Bliss!

Us watching “His Girl Friday” in the hotel room. Bliss!

Our dinner reservations were for an amazing restaurant attached to a vineyard just over the border in Virginia. The food was incredible (definitely the fanciest food this budgeting family will eat all year!) and so was the view. Check this out:

Our view from the table

Gorgeous, right? The rain just made all the colors really saturated and rich.

After a night of leftover cake, more movies, wine (oh yeah, did I mention he brought our own supply of booze and didn’t forget the bottle opener?), and generally resting up, we had another yummy breakfast and headed out to Mass. We’d done our research and found this pretty little chapel in Charles Town, WV run by the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, an order of priests which, as far as I can tell, only celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass (which we love and prefer ourselves.)  Mass was lovely and holy and we had a chance to meet with the brothers afterwards. They live in a little house right next door.

Pretty church that they're getting ready to renovate and make gorgeous!

Pretty church that they’re getting ready to renovate and make gorgeous!

We were able to walk from there to main street where we got lunch at a yummy Mediterranean place (complete with free hummus!) where I was able to have a dish that I’ve been searching for since my study abroad days in Greece many years ago. From there we explored Harpers Ferry, I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail in heels (ok, so it was just a little bit and the bridge that goes to Maryland,) and we got ourselves some ice cream and souvenirs. And then we headed home, playing a surprisingly addictive game of Words With Friends with my sister during the drive. (Ok, I found one thing I can do on this new gadgety phone.) We had a lovely dinner and ate our anniversary cake, which was oh so delicious. I’m not kidding. The huge tier of cake that took up most of our tiny freezer for a year was worth it. Check out how we re-wrapped it up and re-froze it since we were leaving for part two of our adventure the next day:

Re-cutting the cake

Re-cutting the cake

Wrapped back up!

Wrapped back up!

We are little pleasures people. And so blessed to be so. It turns out that the world is a pretty wonderful place when you can treat every little win like it’s a big one. A thousand little wins helps to balance out the worst parts of the hard days (of which there certainly are plenty). I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I actually love to make big lists of all the little happy things that make up a day. Like this post, apparently. I’m hoping that what I lack in timeliness, I make up for in lack of brevity. 😉

Coming soon…Part 2 in which we attend the Catholic Marketing Network trade show and get very sweaty.

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