Friday 13 December 2013

Restaurant/ B&B reviews - Virginia, USA

After spending a week in Baltimore for work, my boyfriend joined me and we hired a car and started a week's holiday. First we visited the state of Richmond.

Stevenson Ridge, Fredericksburg, VA
 We stayed here for one night, arriving late in the afternoon as it was getting dark. The room we had booked was called the log cabin and it turned out to be an actual log cabin away from the main house, on the edge of the woods! There were a few other cabins as well and no signposting so we weren't entirely sure which one was ours until we found one with an unlocked door and some paperwork with my name on inside. The woman who ran the B&B (or worked there perhaps) came over shortly after to take payment; breakfast wasn't included in the price and we had decided to get a head start on our road trip and stop for breakfast en route, and as there was no check-out process (we simply left the key behind in our log cabin) that was the last we saw of the owner.

The log cabin was extremely cold, even though they had done what they could - the air con was on high heat and there was also a separate heater plugged in downstairs, but it didn't really help. There was a fireplace and wood with which we could make a fire, but neither of us had ever done that before and my boyfriend wouldn't let me try in case we burned the cabin down! Neither of us fancied going out into the cold and over to the main house to ask if there was anyone who could help us set a fire (it was a shame the owner didn't offer to show us or ask if we needed help when she came to take payment, and we hadn't realised how cold it was in the cabin at that point) so instead we grabbed some blankets and snuggled on the sofa.

The cabin was also very dark - the only lighting in the living room came from lamps, none of which were very powerful, and I moved a couple of them around but the place still felt quite dingy and there wasn't really enough light to read. The TV channels also left a lot to be desired as they didn't seem to have cable so we watched several episodes of Storage Wars while we shivered under the blankets. The place had warmed up by the time we went to bed though. I did like the rustic-style decor and the fact that hot drinks were provided. However while there was a coffee machine and tea bags there was no kettle; I didn't know if I could use the coffee machine for just hot water so I boiled some water in a cup in the microwave!

The next day we took a boat trip on the river James in Richmond to spot bald eagles, and thanks to the knowledgeable and entertaining Captain Mike, we saw several.

Waffle House, Richmond, VA
We stopped for breakfast on the way to our boat trip at Waffle House. We didn't have much time and were looking for something like a Denny's off the main road to Richmond, and ending up pulling off at a Waffle House. It's a diner-style chain with fast and friendly service and the food doesn't taste quite as mass-produced as I expected. I had biscuits (a bit like savoury scones) and sausage gravy, which I made at home not long ago. I preferred the version I made at home - the pieces of sausage were very small and it was also very salty. I also had a side order of hash browns with cheese melted on top which were really good. My boyfriend had bacon, eggs, hash browns, toast and a waffle, which was huge and very thick, and served with a large jug of syrup; he thought the waffle was very nice. The meal was reasonably good value - with drinks it came to about $20.

This was actually the only place we ate in Virginia; I want to do some restaurant reviews state-by-state so that is all I am including here, though I am well aware this is far from representative of Virginia as a whole - we were just passing through!

We also went to St Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, where Patrick Henry made the famous "give me liberty or give me death" speech ahead of the war of independence, to watch a reenactment of the speech by actors in period costume, which was quite interesting.

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