Early on in our marriage, Jordan and I decided that we wanted trips together to be something that we prioritized. We have always found a trip away, however small or big, to be re-energizing for us as people and invigorating for our marriage. There is something about getting away to disconnect from the daily responsibilities that surround us, and to focus on connecting to one another that strengthens our relationship.
So as we approached the summer and thought about our 7th anniversary (June 26th), we started talking about taking a trip somewhere, sans kiddos. However, as the summer closed in on us, the reality of 3rd trimester did as well. We realized that I was going to be limited and uncomfortable, and started entertaining the idea of doing a “staycation.” Since we would be saving money on travel and lodging, we could put that money towards eating good food and enjoying the city we live in. Once we picked a weekend in July as the time we would celebrate, the decision was easy. I would be 32 weeks pregnant and was fast approaching the point where I cannot travel far anyway.
We had fun planning out the way we would spend our weekend together at home. Then on the first weekend in July, we dropped the kids off at my in-laws house, and headed… home! :).
Friday night we started with dinner out at Maple & Pine – the restaurant at Quirk Hotel that I’ve always wanted to try.
I ordered a mocktail, which was delicious and refreshing. I’ve really missed wine these past 8 months, so it was kind of fun to feel like I still got a special drink with dinner. Although I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about people judging me, thinking I was drinking a cocktail when I was so obviously pregnant.
For an appetizer, we ordered the pork & shrimp dumplings with shiitake mushrooms and charred scallions. I will say it didn’t quite live up to our server’s enthusiastic suggestion, but it was tasty.
For my entree, I ordered the North Atlantic Halibut, with baby vegetables and Maryland crab froth. It was unbelievable! Definitely my favorite meal of the entire weekend. Halibut can tend to be a bit of a bland white fish, but the crab froth was especially delicious and made it very flavorful. I highly recommend it.
(I am not a food photographer, and I had already taken a bite of my fish before I took the picture below. Don’t judge me).
I was proud of Jordan who stepped outside of his comfort zone and ordered the Duck, which came with pickled cherries, ginger polenta, and almond and rhubarb puree, along with a glass of Pinot Noir. His meal was also delicious! We were surprised by how good the ginger polenta was.
For dessert we headed a few doors down to our favorite Richmond ice cream shop – Charm School Social Club. I got the vegan sundae with their homemade dark chocolate shell and toasted fluff. Obviously I’m not vegan, but dairy isn’t always kind to my digestive system. So this was a way I could indulge without feeling sick after. It was SO GOOD. I would have never known it was dairy-free if you hadn’t told me. Jordan got his favorite cookies & cream ice cream, topped with salted caramel and toasted fluff.
After stuffing ourselves silly, we went for a walk on the Pedestrian Bridge. The Pedestrian Bridge is pretty new in Richmond, and it is one of our favorite spots! It is just absolutely gorgeous, with the sounds of the river and the view of the city. Especially at night. We got there around 8:00 and stayed for about an hour. We watched as the lights on the bridge came on, and the buildings lit up against the darkening sky. Breathtaking. And romantic. Thankfully there are benches distributed along the bridge, so I could stop and rest every few minutes, and in early July the heat was not unbearable yet (at that time of day, at least).
One of the best parts of the weekend was the mornings. Those of you who have young kids at home know that it is no small luxury to be able to sleep in and have a quiet, slow, leisurely morning! When we woke up, I stayed in bed enjoying the weight and warmth of our bed and down comforter, while Jordan ran out to get us Chick-fil-a biscuits and iced coffees. Then we ate breakfast in bed and watched a few episode of Master of None. It was absolutely fabulous.
We moved slowly and restfully, until heading out for our 1:00 lunch reservation at Amuse – the restaurant at the Virginia Museum of Art.
I loved the view! The restaurant is on the 3rd floor of the museum and has floor to ceiling glass windows, overlooking the beautiful outdoor terrace.
We ordered fries with aioli for an appetizer (you can never go wrong with fries and aioli, in my opinion). Then Jordan ordered the steak, which came with grilled ratatouille, creamed spinach and a potato nest. It was very good!
I ordered the crab cake and honestly, I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as other crab cakes I’ve had. I probably would not order that again. But I still really enjoyed the whole experience of eating there.
Once we finished lunch, we walked around and enjoyed the art exhibits together. Jordan and I are not art experts or anything, but we love stuff like this. Walking around and looking at art feels like a rich experience. I am always in awe of the talent people have, and the way we can express our experience and understanding of the world through paint and sculpture, texture and carpentry. It’s amazing.
The only thing that would have made this experience better would have been a glass of wine in hand ;). Which we will definitely do sometime when I’m no longer pregnant, when they host a wine event.
In the late afternoon, we took a coffee break with this beautiful view. If it wasn’t so hot, I would have loved to have spent more time in their outdoor area.
We got home from the art museum around 4:30 that afternoon and had plenty of time to kill before our 8:00 dinner reservation. I took a lovely nap until 6. When I woke up, Jordan and I made some simple appetizers at home to enjoy together, and then I took an Epsom salt Jacuzzi bath. What a dreamy day!
Then we headed to Portico for dinner. Portico is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere, in an old English looking cottage that has been transformed into an Italian restaurant. They are known for their outdoor patio seating, which is what really makes the experience. It’s beautiful. With its marble patio, outdoor stone fire place and gardens, it is just lovely.
Jordan ordered (and really enjoyed) the stuffed shrimp:
I was so conflicted about what to order and in the end decided to go full-out pasta. I got the sausage pasta with pesto. They grow all of their own herbs in the gardens surrounding the patio. It was good, but a bit too heavy for me, especially on such a hot night. If I were to go again I would probably order the brown sugar salmon and caprese salad – which a friend had recommended.
The next morning was another lovely, leisurely one! We slept in and had coffee and breakfast in bed again. This time we just made Greek yogurt parfaits at home, because we planned on going out to brunch around 11.
Another one of the best parts of the weekend for me was being able to get ready on my own, without little people barging in on me in the bathroom, playing with my makeup, and generally needing something every 5 seconds ;). Jordan moved a chair into the bathroom so I could sit and curl my hair and put on makeup, as I streamed a Norah Jones radio station from my phone. I even took another Jacuzzi bath and made a virgin mimosa, just to feel like I was getting the whole spa experience!
(I’m pretty sure I haven’t dressed this cute or worn this much makeup since. I’m also not sure if I’ve even brushed my hair… but it was nice while it lasted!)
Once we were ready, we headed downtown for brunch at Tarrant’s – one of our favorite spots, and the best brunch I’ve had in Richmond yet. Since we are usually at church on Sunday mornings, it was nice to experience the quiet stillness of the city on a Sunday morning. There was something so peaceful about strolling slowly past all the sleepy shops, hand in hand, as our mouths watered thinking about the breakfast plates we were about to order.
Jordan took this picture of me in front of our favorite ice cream shop – we thought it was cool that the door matched my purse. It occurs to me that I don’t even look pregnant in this picture. Which is 100% the angle of the picture and the illusion that a loose, flowing black top provides, because…
^ I obviously do look super pregnant.
Tarrant’s Cafe is an old pharmacy turned restaurant that is entirely charming. There are beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and Richmond artwork hanging on the walls, but it still has that old school pharmacy charm as well. We went all out. We ordered coffee (which was delicious), french toast (topped with pecans, fruit and whipped cream), chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, eggs, and homefries. I forgot to get a picture – I think I was just too hungry and excited to eat the food!
After breakfast, we strolled back through the city and then went to a nearby theater to see Wonder Woman, before picking up the kids.
The weekend was everything we needed. At the end, we felt rested, relaxed, connected to one another, and ready to see our kids!
It will forever be a weekend of good memories. I look forward to all of our anniversary vacations or staycations ahead!