Picking up where we left off…

SATURDAY

We met Saturday morning and headed out for a hike! I definitely wanted to take my parents out for some adventuring while they were here. I thought a new trail would be fun, and one of my friends recommended Crabtree Falls, so that’s where we went.

The trailhead is about an hour from Cville and the trail is ~3.5 miles total. The internet said it was “moderate to strenuous” but…IMG_1516.JPG…according to that sign, 30 people have died by venturing out, so…seems a bit more than strenuous to me, eh?

In all seriousness, the trail was in great condition so even “strenuous” parts were manageable for us. There are steps built into some of the steeper terrain, and as long as you’re OK maneuvering over rocks, you’ll be fine.IMG_0320.JPGIt was about 15 degrees cooler in the mountains than it was in the city. Plus the trail winds along a waterfall for most of the way, which helped cool things off AND meant we got to enjoy some incredible views the whole way. I’m a big fan of instant (or constant) gratification when it comes to hiking 🙂IMG_1521.JPG

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IMG_1523.JPGThe bonus surprise was an amazing view once we got to the top too! I had no idea it would open onto a vista like this, but it was so rewarding and breathtaking.IMG_1544.JPG

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IMG_1549.JPGIt took us about 1.5 hours to get up and about an hour to get back down. This hike is perfect for a half-day adventure from Charlottesville. We started the hike around 10:30AM on a weekend day, and while it was definitely a popular choice, we didn’t have any trouble finding parking spots or keeping our distance from other groups. (Can’t say the same about Old Rag!)IMG_0317.JPGWe were all smiles the whole way. I don’t think we stopped talking…ever…which made the whole hike fly by! (And yes, by “we” I mean me. I talked the whole time. Future warning for anyone who goes hiking with me!)

Dad was awesome and drove us back from the hike so I could veg out/eat Clif bars/look at all our pictures. He was also a real hero when we got back into town and stopped at Beer Run to get Nathan a case of local beer! That man knows the way to my husband’s heart (does that sentence feel as awkward to read as I do when I type it? But it’s true!). Nate is on night shifts for another couple weeks, so he may or may not end up drinking the beer around 8AM after work but…#nojudgment here.

Our hike worked up a wonderful appetite for dinner that night. We wanted to time our dinner so that Nathan could join us before work. It was so nice to have his company! We originally planned to try Tavola, but there was a wait and we didn’t have much wiggle room for timing, so we went right next door to The Local! When we went to The Local before I knew my parents would love it (and also that I wanted to try everything on the menu), so I was really happy we got the chance to take them on their first trip out.

For starters, Mom got the watermelon gazpacho (which I’ve never had and got to try – reminded me of a fruity salsa, in a good way) and Dad and I both got house salads.

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Local “Appalachia Star” mixed greens, soy-ginger vinaigrette and pickled vegetables, topped with crispy won tons and soy roasted almonds

Then the main attractions…

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For me: Duck Breast
Pan roasted duck breast, pistachio mole, duck fat sweet potato hash, Virginia apple-cranberry-chayote squash and avocado relish
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For Dad: Local “Double H Farm” Berkshire Pork Chop
Chili rubbed, grilled and served with mashed potatoes, shoestring sweet potatoes, and a chipotle adobo gravy
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For Mom: Roast Local Squash
stuffed with “Caromont” goat cheese, quinoa, dried cherries and almonds over local braised greens with a fresh tomato sauce, and parmesan (cheese can be omitted for vegan diets)
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For Nate: Local “TImber Creek” Chicken and Waffles
Fried Local Chicken Breast over house made orange-pecan waffles with Strawberry-jalapeno “syrup” and a honey-lime dipping sauce

All of the food was absolutely delicious! Nate was in breakfast mode so it was great that they had the chicken and waffles as an option. I’d never had duck before but I would definitely get it again. Very flavorful and tender – all the flavors of my dish complemented each other perfectly with a nice amount of spice, and anything with avocado is gold in my book! Dad’s pork chop was also great, although the mashed potatoes kind of stole the show. And Mom’s squash with the goat cheese was awesome! I love getting to try a little of everything and am glad no one in our family is shy about sharing 🙂

Of course, we had room for a few bites of the dessert special – flourless chocolate cake!IMG_1568.JPGThis was rich and dense and the perfect finishing touch to a delicious meal together. Nate said we should have cake after breakfast more often. Ha!

After dinner, we dropped Nate off at work so my parents could see where the hospital is. I had my paparazzi with me and couldn’t resist this pic. So official!img_0354-jpg.jpegAfter that, I dropped Mom and Dad off for the night with plans for one last breakfast at our apartment together before they hit the road back home.

SUNDAY

In the morning, I picked Nate up from work around 7:30 and my parents brought over some delicious food for breakfast. We had originally planned to cook for them but they were able to get some bacon, egg, & cheese sliders from their hotel. Couldn’t beat that! We got to relax and get comfy at home while hearing about their upcoming Alaska trip, Nate’s night at work, and everything in between. It was a perfect way to start the day and cap off their time in Cville. After we finished, they hit the road, Nate went to bed, and I went to church with a friend.

I can’t believe how fast this trip went! I feel like we were able to fit in SO much and really make the most of my parents’ time here. Of course, I already have things on the list for the next time they come back. It was also a lot of fun having them stay for a few days vs. in Indy where it was always just day trips because we lived so close. We get way more quality time together this way and get to do so much more exploring! Their first visit – of many, I hope! – was a success and I’m already looking forward to the next one 🙂

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