The New Year’s Vacation: Part I

We’re baaack… and it’s freezing. I honestly can’t remember it ever being this cold in Charlottesville, but that could just be because in all other apartments I’ve had, we had heat. This house? None. I definitely slept in gloves and a hat last night, covered myself with [multiple] sweatshirts, socks, and blankets, yet still shivered. Anyone have heat we can borrow?

Last night when we hopped out of the car, we were greeted on the street by the sound of our upstairs fire alarm, which was raging for who-knows-how-long. At at least we know our neighbors are apparently indifferent, perhaps thinking this was a perfectly normal thing to ignore [are fire alarms going the way of car alarms?]. Thankfully it was just malfunctioning, although I had fears of opening the front door and seeing smoke billowing out.

Anyway, last night was an early night and this morning we dropped Grady off at the vet – he’s getting neutered, microchipped, and having bloodwork run today. It’s really quiet in the house without him, but we’re going to use the afternoon to reorganize since we can set things on the floor without fear of them being eaten. He’ll be out of surgery by 4PM, and I’m sure will be super angry we left him there.

miss you, grady.

In his absence, I’ve created a new blogging spot by covering his dog bed with blankets and huddling on the floor in Shaun’s man room – the warmest room in the house [still can’t feel my feet]. I don’t think he’ll mind that I re-cap our vacation from here. Sorry, Grady.

Our first stop on the family vacay was Blacksburg, Va. I’ve never had a reason to go this far south[west], and I was told that I wasn’t missing much, but honestly I thought the town was quite cute. Shaun received his masters degree from Virginia Tech, so he took me for a quick tour of the campus.

va. tech's campus.

don't be fooled, I'm slow.

Tech’s “drill field” is huge. I’ve never seen anything like it, but then again my NYU education didn’t condition me for large, grassy campuses. It was much larger than UVa, and the military-style buildings were gorgeous. Grady enjoyed some laps on the lawn before Shaun and I headed to lunch at Gillie’s, a vegetarian restaurant he’s been raving about for years.

Gillie’s is one of those restaurants seemingly lost in a black hole in Charlottesville’s dining scene. I always wonder why our town lacks places like this: ones that have inspired vegan and vegetarian menus, rather than just a salad without chicken or a sandwich without cheese [or my all-time-favorite: the “vegetarian pasta” entree]. Vegetarian dining in C’Ville is more accommodation than creation* [although Whole Foods is out to change that], and that was made even more apparent after visiting both Blacksburg and Asheville last week.

I opted for a cup of vegan chili, while Shaun tried a seitan mushroom burger on a home-made roll.

spicy chili, lemon dressing.

vegan cabbage slaw.

It was hard to choose or meals, what with all of the delicious-looking sandwiches [tofu reuben melt, black bean wrap], salads and tofu/seitan noodle bowls, but I definitely made the right choice.  And yes, that homemade roll was bomb.

My goal for this trip was to have a little bit of perspective on just how much I would be eating and try to keep it under control. I wanted to limit carbs and cheese and always leave a little something on my plate rather than devouring whole entrees multiple times per day. All in all, I was largely successful, although there were a few low points that my jeans are paying for now. That said, please don’t think I’m insane for the amount of food I’ll be posting over the next few trip re-caps, but also know that it’s going to be followed by lots of healthy recipes [which I’ll discuss in my resolutions post shortly].

We noticed something bizarre in Gillie’s:


And when I asked the server why they had this photo of my hometown, her response was, “why not?” Ha. If only Reading, PA looked that pretty today…

We three piled back into the car after lunch and drove the final 3.5 hours through Tennessee and into Western North Carolina. Stay tuned for Part II!

* And yes, I’m taking into consideration Revolutionary Soup, Eppie’s, Bluegrass, etc. when I say this.


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Categories: Food


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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  1. The New Year’s Vacation: Part II | Ryes and 'Shine - January 5, 2012

    […] Post navigation ← The New Year’s Vacation: Part I […]

  2. The New Year’s Vacation: Part III | Ryes and 'Shine - January 5, 2012

    […] from Part I and Part […]

  3. The New Year’s Vacation: Part IV | Ryes and 'Shine - January 5, 2012

    […] continuation of our trip to Asheville. See Parts I, II, and […]

  4. The New Year’s Vacation: Part V | Ryes and 'Shine - January 6, 2012

    […] V of a six-part vacay: See I, II, III, and IV […]

  5. The New Year’s Vacation: Part Now | Ryes and 'Shine - January 6, 2012

    […] for us, our January vacation [see I, II, III, IV and V] didn’t end when we returned to Charlottesville – we still have […]

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