Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Washington D.C. Travelogue // Starscapes Blog

Aric and I aren't exactly extravagant people. Well, maybe we are in our tastes, we just don't live the life. We are reverse posers basically. Un-posers? Anyway, needless to say I was shocked when Aric came home one night and said that he was taking me to D.C. for the weekend and that I got to help him pick out a fancy hotel.

I am a HUGE hotel design nerd, a.k.a. Aric sometimes has to sit through hours of me looking though photos on boutique hotels websites while I 'ooh' and 'ah' and sometimes critique their design choices. I guess that just comes with the territory of being an interior designer's daughter.

We finally decided on Donovan House hotel because of it's great location, yummy looking in-house restaurant (which we actually never ate at.), it's modern/zen atmosphere, and it's crazy looking space-aged spiral shower. Okay, I'll be honest, it was mostly for the shower.

Donovan House was great. The front desk staff was friendly and helpful, and they really took care of us well. Unfortunately D.C. had just had a snowstorm so some of their reservations got backed up, and that coupled with the fact that half of their rooms were undergoing renovations meant that although we arrived at 11:30 for an early check in we weren't able to get into our room until 5:30.

Thankfully though they held our bags for us so we could go out and explore without having to tote those around, and they were nice enough to give us some vouchers for breakfast then next morning and were incredibly apologetic about it. Speaking of, the staff told us we were the nicest people they had handled all day, which made me sad because I felt like even we were being grumpy. As a girl who works in the service industry though I can understand this. I'd say 50% of the people I deal with at work are just plain mean and rude. What is wrong with people today? Do they not understand how to be human anymore because they are so used to instant gratification? (Okay, end mini-rant)

While we were waiting we walked over to the White House for some typical touristy photos and then headed to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, which neither of us had ever seen. (It's amazing, by the way.) When we finally made it back to the hotel we didn't have long to wait until we were in our room.

Oh the room. Let me just say, I highly recommend Donovan House to anyone who wants to go on a trip and splurge a little. The room was amazing and incredibly comfortable, and being on the 11th floor we had a pretty amazing view of D.C. The rest of our trip was mostly just relaxing and hanging out together, but on Sunday before checkout we walked a few blocks over to Shop House, which is an Southeast Asian bistro by the creator of Chipotle.

Let me just say, oh my goodness. I fancy myself quite the Asian food connoisseur and I was a little wary about this seeing as how the only "fast food" Asian restaurant I like is Thai Express (in Canada), but wow. I was happily surprised! It was delicious! (Especially the chicken meatballs) I highly suggest going to one if their is a location near you!

Alright Space Cadets, click below to see more photos after the jump!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blue Ridge Mountains Travelogue // Starscapes Blog

Well! We are back from them there mountains! (Sorry, had to.)

This was my second time visiting the cabin, and also my second time visiting in Winter. Aric and his family have been coming up here at least once a year since he was 4. (21 years! Wow!) This year was far colder than last time.

Once again the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed due to snow so we had to make the cold and windy 3.4 mile trek in. (3 mi. on the Parkway, .4mi through the forest on a trail.) We arrived around 9:30pm and it took us about 45minutes to get everything situated (gear on, packs on, food and such harnessed to toboggans) and then we headed out.

It was around 8 degrees out, plus there was a lovely (or not.) wind-chill situation going on. I spent a good fifteen minutes of the hike complaining to Air that I was getting frostbite and my fingers and toes were going to fall off. (Guess who dressed much warmer on the way back?) Though, just like last year, I got so distracted by stars and the delightful crunch crunch of our boots in the snow that the walk went by quickly. Though I'd be lying to say if I didn't practically cry tears of joy at the sight of the cabin and the outhouse.

The next morning we set right to work chopping wood to replenish the wood pile outside, and guys, this is a big deal, I was actually able to chop wood!! (It's a miracle!) Unfortunately it was too cold to do any real exploring like we had planned on, but we made a fire outside and had fun playing target practice with Aric's blowgun.

We all turned into the cabin pretty early thanks to an unexpected snowfall. We battened down the hatches, cooked, and played the Worst Case Survival game which was pretty hysterical, just for the record. Though, pretty much everything with these guys is hysterical.

We didn't want to leave, per usual. Weekends like this just make me want to quit my job, sell everything I have and move to the middle of nowhere. Ahh... one day, one day.

See the (millions of) photos after the jump!