Sometimes you just need to get away from the drone of every day life, especially during that long stretch from NYE to Memorial Day Weekend. There are no holidays in between that us nine-to-fivers get off during that time. Just five day weeks that get dark before 6pm and weekends that always end too soon to finish all the things on our wishful to-do lists. This is why we earn PTO; we have to get the hell away!
We got away. I took Bella to a place that I took a chance on and it ended up being the perfect place to relax and unwind. In case you weren’t aware, there’s this awesome site called Travelzoo. Every week, they send out a list of the best travel deals on the web – flights, hotels, cruises, local shows and events, etc. Sometimes they’ve just found an awesome deal and sometimes they actually work with a company to offer vouchers for a reduced price if they’re bought through Travelzoo.
I found a voucher for a hotel called The Cheshire in STL and it was amazing! Each voucher was for one weeknight stay + $25 per night to Fox & Hounds (the hotel tavern) all for just $99. I bought two and arranged it so that we arrived on Wednesday night after work, got Thursday/Friday off work and was able to hit the Soulard Farmers Market on Friday morning before we took our time driving back home. It was perfect! The hotel is modeled after British literary figures; each room is for a different author. There are extravagant suites like the “Death on the Nile” suite and the “Romeo and Juliet” suite, but then there are other nice rooms for authors like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and John Bunyan. Each room has a book/books by that author in it and all of the works are even available in their sitting area for guests to read at their leisure. They also have tea and coffee 24 hrs and a WONDERFUL complimentary English breakfast with fresh fruit, pastries, cheese and turkey, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, cereal, yogurt, etc.
Man, I sound like a freaking advertisement for them, don’t I? Let’s just cut to the chase. The rooms were clean, cozy, had stained glass windows and awesome bathrooms and chaise lounges and we enjoyed every second in the pillow-top beds. Aaaaahhhhhh. Best part, though? They are dog-friendly! We were able to bring Maxwell with us and they even provided a pet bed, food/water bowls and treats from the front desk! We could walk him anywhere in the hotel (he didn’t have to use the side entrance like some furry heathen, which he’s had to do before). He enjoyed sniffing around all the couches, walking through the fun decorated hallways and sneaking onto the pillow-top bed while we were out exploring the city. It was a beautiful hotel and a perfect stay. I totally recommend it.
While we were in town, we visited the City Museum. It was SO MUCH FUN. Many of my coworkers have insisted that we make sure to go there when we’re in STL and I’m so glad they did. This place was like a huge adult playground (with tons of stuff for the kids too). The whole place is made of recycled and found objects from printing press pieces to random gargoyles from demolished buildings to old airplanes and school buses to vintage carnival signs. Every corner has something new and every exhibit has nooks and crannies to explore. Bella and I had the most fun on the outside exhibit where we were crawling through metal tunnels suspended in the air and winding staircases that led to exhilarating views from human sized bird cages and tree houses. We got braver with every step and felt the adrenaline pumping through our bodies as we pushed through the panic and climbed a little bit higher.
YOU NEED TO GO TO THERE.
It was an amazing feeling climbing outside. I’ve lost almost fifty pounds now and I could tell how it made a difference in my experience at the museum. I was able to thoroughly enjoy the exhibits because I didn’t feel too heavy to climb or too wide to fit through a tunnel. I was in shape enough to spend hours walking all over and climbing a lot of stairs. It felt wonderful to enjoy it as much as I did and I can only imagine how freeing it’s going to be to lose 50 more pounds… and then the last 70! I’m definitely going back when I do because I want to crawl in all the kid sized spaces!
The second day we were there we went to my favorite place… the Soulard Farmer’s Market!!!! We went there the last time we went to St. Louis and we were stunned at how cheap and beautiful everything was. And there was so much to choose from! There were only about 1/3 of the vendors this time, but there was still a ton of cheap produce and eggs and other fun things. I only spent about 30 minutes in there all together, but I spent $40 and I got:
– 1 giant head of romaine
– 6 large zucchini
– 2 lbs tomatoes
– 3 lbs green beans
– 1 bag spring greens
– 5 yellow onions
– 4 poblano peppers
– 1 bag hot peppers
– 1 ginormous carrot
– 2 bundles scallions
– 3 lbs plums
– 6 large granny smiths
– 6 peaches
– 10 lemons
– 1 large leek
– 5 large honey crisps
– 1 lb okra
– 7 minneolas
– 1 bundle asparagus
– 2 large yukon potatoes
– 2 heads of broccoli
Um, yeah. My fridge is stuffed to the gills and my new hanging three-tiered fruit basket looks like it’s having a party. Bella said that not a single piece of fruit or vegetable is allowed to go bad. I told her I’d do my best, even if it means I’ll be bleeding citrus-y blood in two weeks. I just can’t believe I was able to buy that much food for that little amount of money! Farmer’s markets are my favorite. Ever. Bella has to hold me back. I just meander around until all of a sudden my bags are breaking my shoulders in half! Tee hee.
After the market we went to lunch at a not-very-impressive pizzeria that was really more of a bar with bar food (Joanie’s Pizzeria; I don’t recommend it) and then headed home and relaxed for a day and a half. We watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy and ate a lot of our tasty food! I even made a Phyllo Plum Pocket that tasted like a plum pie and was delicious. I’ll post the recipe later this week.
Annddd lastly, we went on a hike in a nearby park yesterday and it was GORGEOUS. The day was perfect. A few miles of trails, one happy doggy with his frisbee, a lovely picnic on a hill and lots of picturesque statues and gardens. Then we grilled steak and I made mashed potatoes (from the Market purchases!). It was a perfect day.
It was such an awesome four day weekend and I wish it wasn’t over! Poo on that. But yay for a nice getaway, breaking through some old fears to try new things, enjoying the nice weather every single day and just spending some wonderful quality time together. You should get out and do it too. Because it’s fun and awesome. Yup.
I’ll get back to posting recipes later :-p