I’m not normally one for spring break, but this has been a tough semester for Jill, so she’s been really looking forward to going away (not that I haven’t). We got a late start Friday. I’d asked Jill if she could skip her afternoon class, but her professor said it would be important, so she didn’t. She got out at 3, but didn’t get home until 4, and we didn’t hit the road until 4:30 – not the best thing when you’re headed west on a Friday afternoon. Traffic was ok as we took back roads to 29, but once we were past 29, we hit some really slow patches. It was close to 6 and getting dark by the time we were out of the worst of it. We had one more roadblock, though. Jill was wondering what time check-in was, so I got out the paperwork. I gasped as I realized somehow we’d been booked for a Saturday to Saturday stay, instead of the Friday to Friday one I’d asked for. My fault for not checking, but our resort club had never made a mistake on any of our previous vacations. So I called Massanutten, and they said they could let us rent a room for the night, but they couldn’t switch us. Hmmph. Then I called the resort club, and they gave me a “one time exemption” and managed to switch us. Thank goodness.
Jill was driving, so I’d navigated us on 29 instead of 81, which she was happy about. One unexpected thing was the road across the Blue Ridge Mountains to get there, 33, which was a little steeper than she was prepared for. But it went fine, and we were at Massanutten by 8. We checked in, and avoided signing up for a “free” breakfast to talk about timeshares (one’s enough), then drove to our condo. We knew it was a two bedroom that could sleep up to 6, but we weren’t prepared for exactly how spacious and nice it was, especially the enormous jacuzzi tub in the bathroom (could fit 4 sitting). We unpacked, then headed out. First stop was for groceries at the nearby Food Lion, then we wanted to grab dinner. Jill was in the mood for barbeque, so we headed to Hank’s Smokehouse. Their ad said they were open for dinner 4-?, so we figured they’d be open pretty late. Nope – at 9:30 the doors were locked, and on a Friday night, too. We considered going to the nearby place, Romano’s Italian Bistro, but I let Jill know it was our friend Meg’s favorite place to eat there, so when we she would visit us the next day, there was an excellent chance we’d return. She gave up and we went back to cook at home. That’s when I discovered that the only oven we had was a toaster oven, and we wanted to cook a pizza. Luckily we’d purchased a square one, so I cooked a half at a time. It went well with some creamed spinach and beer. It still didn’t feel like vacation until we were laying in the giant tub (yeah, we want one).
We slept in Saturday, I got up earlier to fix myself some scrambled eggs and bacon. I called Meg when Jill got up, and her and her friend Ahren had just left Charlottesville, so we read until they came. They were ready to eat, but we weren’t, so we hung out for a while, then they took us on a short tour before we went to Romano’s for a late lunch. I had a sausage and marinara hoagie, while Jill got chicken parmesan, both good, but I think I should have got something with the Alfredo sauce (I had a taste of Meg’s and it was very good). We went back to the condo to change, then went to the water park. An indoor park at a ski resort makes a lot of sense, and it was fairly busy. We had a fun evening of slides and hot tubs before we turned into prunes. They left soon after as it was getting late, and we watched a DVD of the best of Comic Relief. It was funny when we got to the condo, as the listing said they had a VHS player in each room, so I brought my cheap DVD/VCR combo unit. When I walked in, I saw the exact same Insignia (Best Buy house brand) box sitting under the TV.
Sunday we got up somewhat early so we could hit the road and be in Charlottesville by noon. We picked Meg up at her apartment and drove over to the Downtown Mall. She was a big fan of the buffet at Himalayan Fusion (an Indian place), so we planned to do that for lunch. However, they’d changed and now were closed except for dinner on Sunday. Meg was bummed, and we headed down the mall to see what else was open. Not much for food, unfortunately. We swung by the South Street Brewery, but they were closed, then Meg spotted The Flat was open, a small two person stand cooking up crepes. We all got one, and headed back to Meg’s office to sit down and eat. Jill wasn’t thrilled by the eggy taste of the crepe (she won’t eat eggs at all anymore), but ate her fillings – I enjoyed my ham, spinach and cheese crepe. Meg had to head off with Ahren to run a bridge game, so we decided to walk to the Corner. Maybe not the best decision, as my legs told me it was about 1.5 miles. Still, that was some of the best shopping we did, as Jill scored on some mystery hardcovers and I picked up a used Porcupine Tree CD at Plan 9. The walk back was as much fun as the one there (and the Starr Hill brewpub was closed, too). We dropped the purchases at the car, then set out to explore the Downtown Mall. We hit a couple of bookstore, where Jill had more luck (and I had a little) before stopping at a coffee shop and reading until I noticed they were closing up. Luckily it was time for Zocalo to open. Our friend Jeremy is a greeter there, so we got some drinks at the bar (and some of their tasty cheese fritters) while we chatted with him when he wasn’t busy. We finished our drinks when Meg came by, and we headed over to Himalayan Fusion to eat again – successfully this time. I had the lamb vindaloo, while Jill ordered what she thought was chicken tikki marsala (but came out looking distinctly like tandoori) and a curried potato/cauliflower dish. I thought the vindaloo was very good, spiced just right, and I liked the presentation with the tandoori, like a fajita on a sizzling platter. We headed home after dinner, as we still had a drive in front of us.
Monday morning I got up early and had a breakfast burrito before heading out on that long three minute drive to the slopes. Jill wasn’t interested in skiing this year, but after losing the last two years to injuries, I was determined to go if we were staying so close. I bought a morning only ticket (you could upgrade to a full day by paying the difference) and got my gear on. I tried the green slope first, but that was too easy, so I headed for the first blue. That was more my style, so I skiied the two blues for a while until I felt I’d regained my form, then headed over to the two blacks. They weren’t true blacks, more of a double blue, but they were just what I was looking for. A great run, and I went back a number of times until my time was almost up and I started to get tired. I came back to the condo and heated up some frozen fried chicken for lunch – hit the spot. In the afternoon, Jill and I went to the craft fair, which featured a wine and beer tasting. Turns out that Paul, who was doing the beer tasting, would be our host the next night, so we chatted with hime and tried some beers. I made sesame chicken with stir fried veggies for dinner that night, then we had pudding for dessert.
Tuesday I wasn’t up quite as early as Monday because I was sore, but I did get up and decide I wanted to do more skiing. So I went and got another morning ticket, and jumped on the slopes again. I had been doing some exercises for skiing for a couple weeks, but it clearly wasn’t enough as I was feeling the burn soon after I started, and wasn’t able to ski as long as the day before. Still, it reminded me how much I love it, and maybe I’ll be ready to do a lot more next season. I came home for a bit and ate Jill’s Indian leftovers, then we went snow tubing. That was fun, as they had a moving walkway to take you to the top of the hill, then you just waited your turn to go down the hill. I’d worked up a good appetite from the day, so it was good we were going out to the beer tasting dinner. The food was excellent: a smoked chicken quiche to start, followed by a crayfish bisque and a salad, then tuna with a Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, fiinshed with a blueberry cobbler. Pairing a hoppy ale with the bisque was inspired, but the find of the night was Legends Lager, a smooth buttery lager that paired well with the salad, but it could have gone with just about anything. After the dinner, Paul came over and sat with us and our tablemates and chatted for a while, which was good as I needed the time to return to full sobriety (the tastings were a little fuller than expected). We both were looking forward to the tub that night.
Wednesday we were coming home. We had the condo until Friday morning, but another of Jill’s professors had scheduled a midterm for Monday morning, and she needed to do some full time studying. I showered and had some cereal, then started packing. We checked out and were on the road around 11. We hit some flurries on 81, but it wasn’t until we were on Gum Spring Road headed for 50 (to pick up Illa) that the snow started coming down. Luckily it didn’t stick to the road, and getting home was fine. I unpacked, read blogs on my phone and petted Illa while Jill went to Wegman’s, then took him out right before she got home and I headed upstairs to go online. She made fajitas for dinner with the chicken I grilled last week and the produce she got today. This entry took a while, now I’m going to surf for a bit, then go catch up on TV.