Monday, January 17, 2011

Mystery Weekend and Giveaway!

Saturday morning, we got up at the freezing cold crack of dawn and were met with the knock of Sara and Bryan. David and I scurried out the door into the angry winter wind. Hugs was taking me on a mystery weekend getaway! I had no idea where we were going or what we would be doing. He just told me what to pack, which was kind of unnerving because I am a very organized traveler and it made me nervous to not know EXACTLY what to bring. After an hour or so on the road, I realized we were headed to Atlanta! I knew immediately one of the things we would be doing. We parked on Peachtree Street and headed toward the Fox Theatre. Love, love, love the Fox. David's taken me to see so many shows there and they're always amazing. That day, we were seeing Beauty & the Beast, one of my favorites. I was ECSTATIC!

Mom and I went to NYC several years ago with my grandparents' senior adult group. I'm telling y'all, senior adults are so much fun. We saw two Broadway shows...Titanic and Beauty & the Beast. We were supposed to see the Lion King, but we got there and our tickets were messed up or something, so they gave us B&tB tickets. I was not happy. I thought...lame. Uh, boy, was I wrong. It was phenomenal! I've raved on and on and on over the years about how I wish David could have seen it with me. And David has been checking the traveling Broadway show's performances and he got us tickets. It was just as amazing as I remembered it. I've always loved musicals.

There were a lot of kids there, too. Most of the little girls were dressed up as a princess or Belle. It was adorable. And they behaved so well during the show! A few around us would ask questions like, "Mommy, is the Beast going to be okay?" So stinking sweet. One little girl in front of us got scared during the wolf attack scene. I'll be honest, I got scared, too. The wolf puppet things were creepy. And they were huge!

Here's one little Belle.

The stage from our seats. It's super dark, hard to see in the picture.

When you walk into the theatre, it looks like you're walking into a medieval world. The open night sky is above with twinkling stars and the stage is a castle.

It was so so so so so good. I hated that it was over. The performers were just as talented as anybody on Broadway. The best character to me was Lefou, Gaston's little sidekick. He looked and talked just like the cartoon. It was very well cast. I could go on and on. It was GREAT!

After the show, David took us to our hotel right across the road and I took a nap. Ah, a nap, that rare jewel of joy. Then, Hugs told me to get all doozied up and we headed 20 minutes north to this AMAZING restaurant called Canoe. It was kind of in this random place right near this FANCY neighborhood. I swear it's where they film Atlanta Housewives...whatever it's called. The houses looked like the capitol building. And there was still snow everywhere, undisturbed in the hills. It was beautiful. Canoe was situated right above the Chattahoochee River. David researched the restaurant and apparently, they grow their own vegetables and all of the seafood is caught locally.

David and I aren't foodies at all. I'll eat just about anything and I'm fine with chain restaurants. But, I do appreciate good food. And this was, hands down, the most delicious meal of my entire life. We started off with cranberry walnut bread and herb-infused flat bread. I am a little bit of a crab cake snob, though. I love crab cakes and they've gotta be good. I ate half the crab population when we went to Charleston two years ago and I ate some good crab cakes. But nothing like the appetizer that David got. It was incredible. It had some kind of lime sauce on the side.

I got an arugula, baked bleu cheese, and sweet pecan and cranberry vinaigrette with bacon salad. OHMYGOSHITWASDELICIOUS.
For my entree, I dared to go outside my comfort zone and I got steelhead trout. Hmmm...not my absolutely favorite. Our waiter, Russ, said it was like a mild salmon. Russ lied. It was like a trout flavored salmon filled with anchovies. No, it wasn't that bad. It just was a little more fishy than I like. But the squash salad underneath it was heaven.

David got braised short ribs that literally cut like butter with a warm knife. And that's not a praying mantis on his place. It his his knife...with antennae.

For dessert, David got a fuji apple pie with brown butter ice cream. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh...kill me now.

But, no...I got this (I took a picture of the menu so I wouldn't forget the name) Valhrona chocolate and salted caramel grotto with pretzel hazelnut dust. Oh yes. It was like a giant truffle, only better. It was the most incredible thing I've ever eaten. It was like a big gloopy hot salted caramel center, surrounded by a fluffy chocolate mousse, surrounded by a hard dark chocolate shell, sitting on a pretzel hazelnut crust. I know, right.

Aside from the fish, it was the best food I've ever had. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, PLEASE go and eat there. You will not regret it, I promise.

So, Aunt Moo and Uncle Bryan watched the girls for us, for which I am incredibly grateful. We had such a fun, relaxing time. It seems like they did, too. I got these pictures while we were away.

I wrote down a general schedule...Bryan made his own edits. I hope you can read it.

They found my cough syrup whiskey.

Bryan brought along 5-hour energy drinks.

They played Superman.

Fun times had by all. I know I married a good man. He planned the whole thing by himself. Thank you, Davey, for a wonderful weekend trip!

So, giveaway! Mom and Dad have graciously offered to keep the girls for us for a week in October again so David and I can go somewhere by ourselves. And, well, we don't know where to go! We don't want to do a Caribbean cruise again for awhile. And we can't go too far away in case we need to get back to the girls quickly. We'll probably wait another year and then start traveling further away again. So, we're thinking anywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii) or Canada. We had thought about Vancouver or Victoria or the Canadian Rockies or New England or Napa Valley. Anywhere. And it can be tropical, too. We need your help! Where would you recommend going for a week? Anywhere in Canada or the continental U.S. Places to stay, things to do, etc. To show our appreciation, the travel agent with our favorite idea will receive a 1,000 Places To See Before You Die daily calendar (I know it's halfway through January, but that means you can double up on some days, yay!), a Rowallan travel notepad, and two batches of shortbread cookies made by the twins. If you can't leave a comment, email me! Thanks in advance!


  1. Newfoundland and Labrador!! Kayaking, snow sports, hiking, whale watching, food, shopping, mysterious ancient monuments, coastlines, camping. They even have their own dialect of English!! Oh my gosh, it's like #5 on my places to see and #1 in North America.

  2. Um...I'm gonna vote Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona. Terribly difficult choice. And, of course I can't remember the name of the resort I stayed at. Bad travel agent.

  3. Banf National Park Alberta, Canada side. And you ahve to stay at the Chateau Lake Louise. I have only been there (summer trip with my family when I was younger). I so have to make it out there!

    I love these kinds of books and actually just got one for my kiddos-100 places your kids should see before they grow up...or something like that.

    Excited to know where you are going to end up for your trip!

  4. Ugh, sorry about the typos, and I just realized I'm not logged into my usual account, here is my family blog:

  5. Ruth, have you and David ever been to Maine? There are quite a few resorts and bed-and-breakfast hotels along the coast (you and David seem like bed-and-breakfast people to me); and if you go in October, you will be able to see the leaves changing colors, etc. One place you might want to check out is the Oakland House Resort. They have a bed-and-breakfast inn on the resort property and fifteen cottages along the Atlantic coast. Their website is: http:/

    Just a thought.

    Good luck!

  6. come stay with us! you will have access to the following amenities: a newly refurbished pool complete with waterfall, numerous hiking trails throughout the woods (several of which lead to a gurgling creek), a paved walking area that is one mile in length, a firepit that you can use to make s'mores or cook hotdogs (supplies included in your stay), an exercise room complete with large screen tv and a fine collection of vintage as well as recent movies, an antique bed in which to sleep, complete access to your children but if you need a few hours peace and quiet they will be taken care of at no additional charge. you will also be able to participate in cooking your own meals with our world renowned chef (locally grown produce as well as free range chickens and grass fed beef is available). give us a call if you are interested and we will reserve your room. there are too many fine amenities to list here.

  7. When I graduated High School my grandparents gift was a trip anywhere in the continental US. I chose Cape Cod and Marthas Vineyard. It was amazing! I loved it. Made me jealous of all the people with 12 million dollar homes on the Atlantic though lol

  8. Fun! I want to win! This will help with our upcoming 4 week trip across the US.

  9. I was going to say you could start in Seattle and do lots of amazing things that are in the area. You can go to Pikes Place Market and have a fish thrown at you. You could hike around on Mt. Ranier too, one of my favorite mountains. Then you could take a ferry ride to Victoria. It is so very clean and British there (or at least it was when I was a kid) and you can have high tea etc. You can visit the Butchart Gardens that are amazing and in an old limestone quarry. Just a couple ideas for all that there is to do there. I noticed as I was going to write this that you mentioned Victoria. It must have subliminaly (word?) made me pick this place.

    Oh, and I would like to sign up for a vacation at mommajoes!

  10. Book cheap flights to Las Vegas. Stay one night there to watch old people on oxygen tanks gamble. Get in your rental car the next morning and drive to Overton and visit Valley of Fire State Park. I think this is about one hour NE of Vegas. It is amazing! Leave there and continue on to Zion National Park in Utah. If you drove straight from Vegas to Zion you should be there in less than three hours. Stay at the Zion Lodge or in a cabin inside the park. If all booked then B&B or motels in Springdale, UT are great. Lots of great hiking, horseback riding trails, drives, etc inside the park. PLAN YOUR TRIP TO BE AT THE PARK DURING A FULL MOON. Yes, I did mean to 'shout' this part. One of my prayers is that should I live to be very old I always have the ability to close my eyes and pull up the memory of driving through this park during a full moon. We have visited in summer, fall and spring. Two of our three trips were during the full moon. Wish all had been. Planning to return. This isn't a place to just hurry through. The relaxation, renewal, joy and peace are found in the details and taking time to unwind and soak it in.

    Can I book a room at mommajoe's until I can schedule Zion?

    You have been given some great locations so far. Can't wait for your travel report when you get back!

  11. One more thing.....
    If you choose Zion when you rent your car get a convertible or one with a moon/sun roof so you can stand up in the seat and do 360 photos.

  12. I'm going to pick Cali. Fly to San Fran - visit the incredible city, see the redwoods, eat yummy food and recycle. Rent a car and travel down the 1. See the gorgeous coast and stop in at Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Santa Barbara and then pull in to LA. Become a pop culture tourist and tour a movie studio, see a taping of a show and eat even more yummy food. Fly home. Hug the twins.


I like your comments.
Mom, keep it clean.
Have a fabtastic day!