It’s time for our monthly coffee talk. Let’s grab a cup and sit for a while. We need to catch up.
If we were having coffee I would tell you about our recent trip to Florida to visit my sister and brother-in-law. It’s the first trip Hubs and I took since he retired and the first time we really weren’t on any kind of timeline, except for the date we had to be home. Our dogsitter, the teenage daughter of a friend, was playing in a volleyball tournament, so we had to be home before it began.
Since we had the time, we decided to drive rather than fly from Pennsylvania to Florida and visit some new places. Our first stop was in Richmond, VA (not a new city for us, but one of our favorites). It’s never good when you pull up to your hotel and there are fire trucks sitting outside.
When we drove into the adjacent parking garage a siren began blaring and a mechanized voice told us over and over to exit the building. We quickly parked the car and entered the hotel using the stairs as instructed, not the elevator.
As it turned out, we couldn’t have used the elevator if we wanted to. A water pipe in the parking garage had burst due to freezing in the recent cold snap and water was gushing out of the elevator shaft and into the lobby.
Because we obviously couldn’t check in, we decided to go for a walk. One of our favorite Mexican restaurants is in Richmond, about three miles from the hotel. It’s in an area with lots of shops and restaurants, so we set out for Nacho Mama’s, thinking a margarita might be a good way to kick off the trip.
It was sunny, and even though the temperature was in the 30s we were warm and the walk to the restaurant went quickly. We arrived at the location Nacho Mama’s should have been and looked around, puzzled. We could not find it. Were we in the wrong block? No, the restaurant wasn’t there. A burger place had moved into the spot where our Mexican restaurant used to be. A quick Google search informed us that Nacho Mama’s was no more.
We turned around and forlornly began to trudge back to the hotel, margarita-less. Fortunately, we didn’t have to trudge far before we came across another Mexican restaurant. We entered and ordered two margaritas. They were delicious! Because we were there at 3:00 in the afternoon, we were the only patrons. The owner brought out some salsa and chips to go with the drinks and soon we were ready to complete the return trip to the hotel.
When we arrived at the hotel the water issue had been resolved and cleaned up. We checked in, relaxed for a while, then went to another favorite restaurant, The Capital Ale House. They serve mussels made in a white wine/smoked gouda/bacon broth that is absolutely delicious. I would have tipped the bowl that they were served in and slurped down all of the broth if I wouldn’t have embarrassed Hubby.
The next day we set out for Savannah, Georgia. We arrived later than expected, so by the time we got to our hotel, it was dark. We grabbed a bite to eat, then strolled on the Riverwalk by the Savannah River. The riverfront is an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, but we were beat from the long drive and did not explore too long.
The next morning we woke up and went for a run in Riverfront Park. The path in the park was flat and there were plenty of sights to keep the run interesting, but it was not very long. We wound up extending our run by running on a sidewalk along a busy road. Not the ideal way to see the city. Then it began to rain.
We headed back to our hotel, wet, dripping and sweaty. When we returned, we realized we did not have time to shower before breakfast, so we ate breakfast in our soaked running attire. I hope we did not offend any of the other hotel guests.
After breakfast and a shower, we set out for our final destination, Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, where my sister and brother-in-law enjoy golf course living.
Howey-in-the-Hills is a rural community on the shores of Lake Harris. The small town is surrounded by orange groves, wetlands, and palmetto-live oak forest.
We had a great time visiting and spent the time with my sister and brother-in-law eating, running on a path by the lake, eating, playing games, eating, binge-watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel“, and, of course, eating.
My sister is a fabulous cook. Her pasta puttanesca was out of this world! We played some card games I had not played in, um…well, many years, not since I was a young teenager. Our rousing games of canasta and cribbage were filled with laughter and helped fill the time between meals.
I felt like I had to run just to counteract the effects of all of the food. We ran in the morning on a picturesque lakeside path. I am a bird-watcher, so I watched birds as I ran. The birds were mostly species I would never see in Pennsylvania (such as Sand Hill Cranes and Tricolored Herons) or birds I will not see until spring (such as Eastern Phoebes and Palm Warblers). My head was swiveling so much from spotting birds it’s amazing I could run at all.
One morning I convinced Hubby to do part of our run on a trail through a nature area. We ran on a beautiful sandy trail, full of roots trying their best to trip us. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers making a nest hole in a tree next to the path, so our run was temporarily halted as we watched their progress.
It was a very sad day when we left to come home. We hated to leave our excellent hosts and the warm Florida sunshine, especially since the temperature in Pennsylvania was -4 degrees. Our sorrow was somewhat ameliorated, however by the fact that we missed our grandchildren back in Pennsylvania and by the plans we made to visit again next year.
I am linking up with Coco from Running With Perseverance and Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Ultimate Coffee Date, Kooky Runner for Tuesday Topics, and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5.